Purchasing a boat is a very exciting time in the life of a young sailor or skipper. Likewise, selling a boat is equally as exhilarating in many ways. Whether you are making a purchase or unloading the vessel to be canvased to further destinations unknown, there is much to do before dotted lines get signed, not the least of which is a USCG exchange or transfer of ownership.
What is an Exchange/Transfer of Ownership?
As the title of the process suggested, the Exchange/Transfer of Ownership is simply transferring the ownership of a vessel from one person or entity to another. Moreover, exchange/transfer of ownership shows the United States Coast Guard that you are taking over or no longer in charge of the boat. This process must also be done when adding or removing the name of a spouse to the Certificate of Documentation.
Before any sales can be finalized, the exchange/transfer process must be completed first. Additionally, before the exchange/transfer process can be done, any outstanding mortgages or liens on the vessel must be satisfied. This process can be further complicated and lengthened by any exchanges or transfers from a private seller to a corporation or any other type of business change.
What does and Exchange/Transfer of Ownership Entail?
In most cases, the boat in question is going to be registered with the USCG, making the Exchange/Transfer process relatively straight forward. A copy of both sides of the Certificate of Documentation must be submitted with the reverse side being signed by all the owners listed on the front. Additionally, the names of all the owners taking over the boat must also be stated on the Certificate.
If the vessel is not registered with the USCG, there are still only a few steps to follow. A copy of the current state of registration must be submitted along with a copy of the USCG Bill of Sale. Once these documents are gathered, they must be accepted by the USCG.
Though a fairly straightforward process, there are many varying factors that can impact the timeline for the Exchange/Transfer process to be completed. To help expedite this process, it is recommended that all documentation be submitted through the web using a third-party outlet to be filed with the USCG.