Boat has no vin, nor title.. What should I do?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Florida_Skiffs, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Florida_Skiffs
    Joined: Feb 2013
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    Florida_Skiffs Junior Member

    So i have a 14.5 center console i bought for 600 with a 72 johnson 25hp, and a trailer. Looks like it could be earlier then 1972, I was hoping i could get a homemade title but dont you need all the receipts, I wouldnt mind refinishing the boat if i could get it legal
     
  2. Petros
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    most states have a means of replacing a title even if the old owner can not be found. In my state you have to pay for a records search of previous owners based on VIN or serial number, than send a resisted letter to last known address of previous owner, and if nothing comes up my state will issue me a provisional title that is good for two years. this means that a previous owner has two years to make a claim on the vehicle. After that I get a clean title issued in my name.

    Other states have similar provisions. It would be similar to trying to get a car licensed even without a title.

    look into it for your state.
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The boat has a title and don't need another one. If you attempt to pass it off as a home built, you'll likely get threatened with fraud charges (read felony, possible jail time).

    Your boat will have a registration associated to it as well, which will be the 3" tall "FL" numbers on either side of the bow. It's this number you'll use to track down the previous owners.

    It's possible to do a title search and jump through the hoops necessary to get "awarded" the boat by the state, but it's not easy and takes quite a while, particularly now with budget restraints. Contact the "Fish and Wildlife" department in your area, as well as the county tax assessor, for more information about this process.

    Unless the boat is a particularly desirable model this process may be more trouble then it's worth.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Does the boat have a FL registration? Many states don't have titles for boats under a certain length. I just bought a boat from Tennessee which had only a registration. Wisconsin generated a title with that and a bill of sale. You may be able to get new numbers if the boat is rebuilt and the invoice says you bought it for parts.
     
  5. hoytedow
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    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

    Somewhere on that boat there should be a second engraved HIN but it will be hidden. It may be under a rub rail near the bow or other attachment. The observable one should be somewhere on the starboard transom.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/181.29
     
  6. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    In 1972 most boats had no HIN at all. Many states will generate a number for older boats.
     
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

    I built a boat at that time and was required by law to engrave a HIN.
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    November 1st,1972 was the first time HINs were required by law in the US.
     
  9. hoytedow
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    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

    Okay, I was still building it when that date went by. I concede the point.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I mean that he may be able to show that the build date of the boat was before HIN regulations, and then get a number issued. If the boat has no number, the date of manufacture is rather vague and whatever he claims.
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In Florida you have both a title and HIN. The HIN is assigned if the manufacture didn't put one on the transom. The registration will have the HIN on it, as will the title. A title search will reveal the story. He'll need an inspection from a Fish and Wildlife officer (harbor patrol) and possibly a local sheriff will need to have a look too, to see if the "FL" numbers have been removed and check for it being stolen. If the "FL" numbers are still there, leave them and don't screw with them until the inspection(s) are done.
     
  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    That is if it was registered in FL, the poster hasn't indicated from where of if there are registration numbers.
     
  13. Florida_Skiffs
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    Florida_Skiffs Junior Member

    The registration numbers on it match a 10'6 title i have
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you have a 14' boat, a title and matching registration, including FL numbers on the boat's hull, you're going to have a big problem when it's inspected. They're going to assume someone's trying to swap registrations, from another boat (a common thing). To avoid this, which is sort of illegal, just see if you can get the registration made current and do a title change. Simply put, go to the tax assessors office and say you've purchased a boat and want a new title in your name and file the registration paper work. They'll take your money, send off the papers to Tallahassee and eventually you'll receive a new title and registration sticker. This is very easy to do, as you're doing normal stuff that thay do several times a day, take you money and shuffle papers for a normal transaction. No red flags go up, so they don't think to question anything. Use the deer in the headlight approach and say it's your first boat and your so excited, but haven't a clue how to do any of the paper work, etc., etc., etc. They trip over themselves trying to make it easy for you.

    Of course, if you are stopped by harbor patrol (Fish and Wildlife officer) and he notices the registration is for a 10' 6" boat and you're standing in a 14' boat, the crap will probably hit the fan.

    Yes, I'm assuming it's a Florida registered boat, which would be reasonable. Even if it's an out of state registration, the process for title transfer and current registration is quick and painless. It's only when they see a "red flag" or have to do something odd or different (like register a new home built for example) that things tend to get investigated. This may not be the "up and up" method, but it can eliminate a lot of hassles. Naturally, if anyone asks, you heard about this from a guy named Gonzo :rolleyes: . . .
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Hey, I'm just the sales agent for a guy named PAR :0
     
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