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Old 29-01-2015, 11:21   #16
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Originally Posted by Capt Sam View Post
"I would not even consider allowing the seller's wife to be involved"
me too!!!!
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Use a document specialist. Not the sellers wife.
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"I would not even consider allowing the seller's wife to be involved"

me too!!!!
No one is suggesting using the sellerís wife for anything.

According to the OP:

He is buying a boat directly from a seller.

The seller wishes to hire a broker to take care of the details and will pay him a fee directly.

The seller has suggested that the buyer use the brokerís wife who appears to be a registered documentation agent to handle the USCG paperwork including lien search.

The buyer is concerned about any possible liens and whether, given his intended use, he needs to document with the USCG and if he does decide to document, what is the best way to do it?

So far there doesnít seem to be anything nefarious happening here.

I have suggested that he can obtain an Abstract of Title directly from the USCG for $25 and provided him with the web site where he can do so. This is the exact same abstract that a doc agent would obtain no matter who she is married to.

I expect that based on what is in it; he can make a decision as to what to do next. Caveat, these abstracts arenít always the easiest things to comprehend.

Based on the information provided by the OP, it doesnít seem like he is financing the purchase. In that case and given his stated intended use, itís probably easier and cheaper to use state title/registration. He can always re-document later if he wants to cruise away from the USA.

Whether he re-documents now or later, he can shop doc agents and get the best deal or do it himself. Caveat, if he decides to re-document later he should ensure that the seller surrenders his existing document to the USCG as per regulations. This is something that the seller's preferred doc agent can do for him and that cost is on him.
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Old 29-01-2015, 11:30   #17
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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The abstract of title will show all enforceable liens against the boat and if a lien is not there it is not enforceable against that boat but only against PO personally.
I don't think so but I am not an attorney. Are you 100% on that? Have a source?

Thanks.
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Old 29-01-2015, 11:40   #18
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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I don't think so but I am not an attorney. Are you 100% on that? Have a source?

Thanks.
That is the whole idea of title registration/documentation and its very power. To provide a platform for potential purchasers or creditors to find out about any attached liens. Just like a registry system for real estate. And just as in real estate where the seller may owe a bunch of debts to different entities but unless these creditos attach such debt to the property in the form of a mortgage/lien it would not be enforceable against a sold house and the new owner.

Now, mind you, I am not talking about a properly attached lien which the Vessel Doc Center inadvertently missed on the abstract. That's another story. I am assuming the abstract is correct and w/o omissions.
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Old 29-01-2015, 12:14   #19
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

We bought our Hans Christian through a broker, it was documented. I don't recall any difficulty when sale went through. Because we wished to keep documentation rather than registering it I had to transfer title to myself, from both my husband and self. He is not US citizens so could not be on documentation. That was easy, just fill out forms and send in money. We chose documentation over registration because we knew we would be in international waters. If this is not the case then documentation is not that important.

Joanna from Kachina
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Old 29-01-2015, 13:38   #20
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

My first boat purchase was a documented boat. Never heard of such a thing. But a little internet searching and the paperwork was pretty straightforward. You can call the USCG site and ask questions if unsure what to enter into various fields on the form(s). Not that painful at all. You can do it!
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Old 29-01-2015, 14:04   #21
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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...
I have suggested that he can obtain an Abstract of Title directly from the USCG for $25...
Based on the information provided by the OP, it doesnít seem like he is financing the purchase. In that case and given his stated intended use, itís probably easier and cheaper to use state title/registration. He can always re-document later if he wants to cruise away from the USA...
It doesn't matter if he is financing, or not. He should have a proper title company do the search, and keep the USCG documentation in effect. This is his best insurance to a clear title with no surprises.
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Old 29-01-2015, 14:40   #22
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Letsget I do think you understand perfectly. Thanks. Offline I am wishing to transfer the documentation to me as next owner. I also live in SC so would not need to register with the state.

NVDC does not take calls on Thursday go figure. Government sheesh! Anyway letsget what does a 3 month backlog mean in terms of my ownership and beginning work on the boat? Does it mean I am waiting 3 months before formal ownership gets transferred in which case I am in to hot season in SC before I can begin refit in which case work goes slow??? :-)

The formal ownership transfers the moment you give the seller money and he signs the bill of sale. Since it's a documented boat, have them fill out the back of the certificate of documentation and get that notarized as well. The bill of sale is binding, but the certification of documentation is a good supporting document. Get copies of all of it before you mail it to the Coast Guard. Like I said, they have several months of backup on recreational boats.

The documentation is just the official recognition of it by the Coast Guard. Titling/registration is just the official recognition by the state. The title search is verifying ownership/checking for liens on the boat. There should be some wording in the bill of sale stating that there are no liens on the boat.

You can do a quick and dirty check on ownership of documented boats several places on the internet, but as others have pointed out, you might want to pay someone for an official "title search", as there might be a lag in the information on the internet.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:11   #23
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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It doesn't matter if he is financing, or not. He should have a proper title company do the search, and keep the USCG documentation in effect. This is his best insurance to a clear title with no surprises.
There is no such thing as a "proper title company" in the marine world. In real estate you use a title company AND you buy title insurance in case there is an error.

Those options are not available in a marine transaction. They don't exist.

Yes it matters whether or not the boat is financed. If it is financed the bank will require a professional doc agent to document the boat AND file a First Preferred Ship's Mortgage against it. The FPSM is an extra charge of $150 or so plus the cost of using a doc agent instead of DIY. So, yes, it matters.



Also, Keeping the documentation in effect has nothing to do with a clear title going forward for the OP. Any future liens are his anyway.

FWIW I was in the marine industry for over twenty years and have done hundreds of closing.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:18   #24
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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You can do a quick and dirty check on ownership of documented boats several places on the internet, but as others have pointed out, you might want to pay someone for an official "title search", as there might be a lag in the information on the internet.
It's not "quick and dirty" if you obtain the information directly from the link I posted and there is no "lag".

This is the official USCG site and is the exact same link that the doc agents use.

You pay the same $25 that they do and get the same information. You will get a fax within 48 hours and a hard copy in the mail (just like they get).

FWIW, I have done hundreds of marine closings.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:24   #25
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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That is the whole idea of title registration/documentation and its very power. To provide a platform for potential purchasers or creditors to find out about any attached liens. Just like a registry system for real estate. And just as in real estate where the seller may owe a bunch of debts to different entities but unless these creditos attach such debt to the property in the form of a mortgage/lien it would not be enforceable against a sold house and the new owner.

Now, mind you, I am not talking about a properly attached lien which the Vessel Doc Center inadvertently missed on the abstract. That's another story. I am assuming the abstract is correct and w/o omissions.
Well, OK, it sounds like you are speculating based what seems reasonable to you. Maritime law is not real estate law. Two very different things.

There are volumes of court cases on this topic. They wouldn't exist if it was as reasonable as you hope it is.

Also, look up UCC filings and UCC liens which the USCG do not track. You may never buy another boat if you haven't already.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:25   #26
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Sailpower's response has been my experience. The bank or agency loaning the money will often call the shot concerning whether or not the boat is documented and who will do it. Banks like documented boats; easier to keep track of things. As another reader pointed out, the owner(s) of a documented boat has to be a US citizen. Green card won't cut it. Having said that, a resident alien can register/title a boat in a state.

Once the transaction is closed, the document agency will give you a sheaf of paperwork (duplications of what they sent the Coast Guard for documentation) that you carry on the boat. That is all you need to be legal. Takes a half year to get the actual certificate from the USCG.

There is now an annual fee for a documentation certificate, but the actual documentation (and renewal clock) will start from the date they issue the certificate, not the date you file. Could be six months of "free" documentation time.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:25   #27
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

What I tried to say by "it doesn't matter" was that whether or not he financed, he should still use a professional and retain the documentation, which is something of value.
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Old 29-01-2015, 15:43   #28
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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It's not "quick and dirty" if you obtain the information directly from the link I posted and there is no "lag".

This is the official USCG site and is the exact same link that the doc agents use.

You pay the same $25 that they do and get the same information. You will get a fax within 48 hours and a hard copy in the mail (just like they get).

FWIW, I have done hundreds of marine closings.
Since the Coast Guard has three months of backlog, who is to say they're up to date? That's all I was saying. I suppose, though, that the odds of someone selling a boat twice would be rather low.

The "quick and dirty" that I mentioned was in regards to the NOAA and USCG link for instantly checking the documentation registry. The NOAA site only gets updated once a month.

If that's the same thing the title company uses, why would this gentleman pay $500 for this "service"? Seems to me there are about $150 of fees there, and some photocopying.
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Old 29-01-2015, 16:00   #29
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Well, OK, it sounds like you are speculating based what seems reasonable to you. Maritime law is not real estate law. Two very different things.

There are volumes of court cases on this topic. They wouldn't exist if it was as reasonable as you hope it is.

Also, look up UCC filings and UCC liens which the USCG do not track. You may never buy another boat if you haven't already.
Can you give a real life example of how a UCC lien which was not noted on the state title or USCG cert was enforced against the purchaser? Otherwise what you're saying is the buyer should check with 50+ state and territorial jurisdictions because that's where a UCC filing may be filed. The whole notion of UCC system is for mostly immovable goods for which jurisdiction is fairly established. That's why when we buy cars we don't check UCC filings in all 50 states. And in addition I don't believe that maritime-admiralty law applies to sales of vessels on the hard in any given state. That's not its scope for sure.
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Old 29-01-2015, 16:48   #30
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Can you give a real life example of how a UCC lien which was not noted on the state title or USCG cert was enforced against the purchaser? Otherwise what you're saying is the buyer should check with 50+ state and territorial jurisdictions because that's where a UCC filing may be filed. The whole notion of UCC system is for mostly immovable goods for which jurisdiction is fairly established. That's why when we buy cars we don't check UCC filings in all 50 states. And in addition I don't believe that maritime-admiralty law applies to sales of vessels on the hard in any given state. That's not its scope for sure.
Check with your maritime attorney.

Contiguous state and past ownership states are generally checked for UCC filings when there is not an abstract.

Neither way is foolproof which is what I meant by you might never buy a boat.

Also, there is no title insurance as in a real estate transaction unless that is something new that I am not aware of.
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