For some, buying and maintaining a boat is the epitome of the American Dream. While purchasing the boat is certainly an achievement, it is important to realize that it is all a major investment that requires quite a bit of thought and commitment. Before you drop anchor off the coast of Key West, there are some things you are going to want to know, particularly the Abstract of Title and how it can impact your buying decision.
What is an Abstract of Title?
Unless you’re going to be buying your maritime getaway brand new, directly off the lot, you’re going to want to get an Abstract of Title for many reasons. First, it’s crucial to understand how an Abstract of Title differs from a standard title or deed. Whereas a deed is simply a (typically) written piece of paper as a means of intent to sell duly signed by all parties involved, and a standard title is a formal declaration of legal right to use the property involved in the transaction, an Abstract of Title digs a little bit deeper, being a summary of the details surrounding the property in question.
Why is an Abstract of Title Important?
Unlike a standard title or deed, an Abstract of Title gives a complete and thorough background of the property in question–in this case, a boat. This background includes history, such as the number of owners the boat has been through and any type of financial concerns surrounding your purchase. This differs from a property title in that land and homes tend to remain stationary. Since boats can be moved from port to port based on the whims of its Captain and crew, as the USCG keeps an accurate record of maritime comings and goings, an Abstract of Title is strongly recommended to stay informed of all instances of plundering and pillaging.
Perhaps more importantly, an Abstract of Title provides a potential buyer with important banking information including any mortgages or liens on the item. Since the person taking over ownership will also be taking over any outstanding debt associated with the boat, a full and accurate accounting is essential.
Because obtaining an Abstract of Title can be a lengthy, time-consuming process, the USCG recommends going through a third party such as the Maritime Documentation Center to shorten your turnaround time. Because getting your Abstract of Title can vary wildly depending on your purchase, you can’t afford to wait any longer than necessary.