So you've agreed teh sale of your boat, but what do you need to do to close the sale? Whether you’re selling your family dinghy, a large powerboat, or something in between, finalising the transfer of ownership will require some paperwork. Make sure you find out exactly what you will need ahead of time so you don’t hold up the final sale. Notarising all paperwork (to validate your signature) is not always required, but it’s always a good idea.

Bill of Sale

The Bill of Sale must include a description and hull identification number, purchase date, price, and the signature of both the buyer and the seller. We recommend using the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Bill of Sale to transfer ownership of the boat.

Other paperwork

Warranty documentation, maintenance records and a VAT invoice and any other paperwork should also be handed over at the time of sale. And once the deal is final, make sure you cancel your insurance. Some companies will let you date the cancellation back to the actual day of sale, even if you call a few days later.

With a bit of planning and organisation, passing papers to complete a boat sale is only slightly more than a formality. Best of all, it is the last step before your final handshake.

Document checklist

NOTE: The following list is intended as a general guide and may not include every document for your specific situation.

Boat sales documents required to complete the boat sale

Basic boat sales document: all should be notarised

  • Bill of Sale

  • Proof of loan repayment (if appropriate)

Courtesy documents:

  • Warranty documentation

  • Maintenance records

After the sale:

  • Cancel insurance

  • Remove all ads

Read more about selling your boat. Advertise your boat for sale here.

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Written by: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin has published several novels about the Olympics, sailing, hurricanes, time travel, and old schooners. She spends as much time on the water as possible, in a variety of boats, though most have sails.