Originally Posted by Mark Stillwell
Let me echo others suggestion to go online for documentation
information: USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Home Page
The forms are very straight forward and easy to complete. I completed them for one boat and the finance company completed them for 2 other boats. I think they charged about $150.
If I understand, this is like a national/international title for your boat. As I recall
, the finance company did an abstract search to verify there were no liens on the boat.
In Missouri, you first document the boat, then register it and pay an "in lieu of" tax, which is about 2% as opposed to 7% sales tax
First. You should do an abstract before you put an offer on a boat.
An abstract will tell you if anyone has placed a claim of lien against the boat. Does not mean it is valid or collectable, just that it is there and as the new buyer, you want that sorted out before you place the offer as it can sometimes be a long drawn out process to clear the claim. Meaning, you don't want to fork over a few hundred for a haul and survey
until you know you have a clear abstract.
If there is a lien against the boat (currently financed and the proceeds will be used to satisfy the loan), then paying a documentation service
is well worth it as they will ensure the proceeds clear the current
loan and the preferred mortgage in the process of clearing. Again, nothing against brokers, but nice to have someone who knows what they are doing.
Many brokers will request an abstract from the CG when they take the listing for obvious reasons, but still do your own before you pay to survey
Also, if the boat is state registered right now, it is a good idea to run a search on it anyway to see if it was ever documented.
Office of Science and Technology
Check under any prior names. You can usually spot a name change on the stern no matter how good it was buffed out on older boats without a HIN.
If the boat was previously Documented, find out the status. If it is active/expired, then you may have some work to get it cleared up. That comes up where a boat was documented by a prior owner, new owner buys the boat and does not de-flag it with the CG, but just registers it with the State, then sells it a few years later, as far as the CG is concerned, the prior owner still owns it, it is still documented but expired. Also, any claims of lien are still valid.
The above also happens a lot with stolen boats. Take the boat, register it with a State, then sell it to some schmuck who thinks he got the deal of the century with valid title.
Now days, when that happens, you may get the paperwork back from the CG after 90 days when they work your packet and then spend a great deal more time trying to get it straight not only having to track down who you bought the boat from, but also maybe who he bought it from. Or the mechanic
who placed the lien on the boat 15 years ago. A lien filed with the CG will not stop a sale
or the new owner documenting the boat in his name and ownership
. It just means that someone could come back and demand payment and if big enough go through the rigorous and expensive process of repossessing the boat through the US Courts and Marshall service
Finance companies will run their own abstract before they file their preferred mortgage to ensure it is clean before they file. If the other guy split town and didn't pay off the boat, you may have a loan to pay off and no boat. If your broker skips town like Ed Fitzgerald did a number of years ago with your check, you can also be left hanging.
There are no escrow companies for boats, but documentation services like Carol Mathews will help you through the process and keep everyone honest, so they are worth the money
. Just using them as an example of a company I have used before.