A marine title company can certainly do all this for you. There is a reputable one in Anacortes, WA, that I hear is very good but I have not personally used them.
There are others - get some references
. We are looking at boats in Mexico
and we will probably go with the one here. You can document the boat yourself with the USCG - you do need to send them a copy of the bill of sale
and a fee. The title company will do that as part of their deal but it is easy to do yourself.
We did all the paperwork ourselves when we bought our Whitby from a Canadian in 1999. That's a while ago but I don't think the basics have changed. From what I know the title search is just a query to the USCG documentation
site. It is free and will tell you if there have been any liens filed on the boat in the US. If you use a title company make sure they are on the hook for ALL issues - liens not filed yet, liens in other countries, etc. Read the fine print. But I think you can do it yourself. If you are financing
the bank probably will require a title company.
The good thing about a reputable title/escrow firm is that they can handle the money back and forth for you. We didn't do that and both the seller and we were somewhat nervous about the whole deal.
I am not sure if they handle the selling/buying contract
though. But the the title/escrow would certainly verify that all documents are there and signed, especially the bill of sale
. Just two cents from an amateur. Have fun with your new boat.