What Documents Are Required When Buying a Boat?

Buying a boat is an exciting process for new or current boat owners. But it can become a bit convoluted if you don’t prepare before making a deal. For the best experience possible, have all of the required paperwork ready to go.  

Do Your Research

What type of a boat are you looking for from mastercraft dealers in Texas? It’s a cakewalk to look up the type of boat you want online. But to actually go through the buying process is an entirely different beast. The paperwork is going to be the beginning and the end of your successful boat journey. There is a list of mandatory documents you need, and the type of boat, its location and your current boat ownership will all play a role in the requirements. 

Bill of Sale

The broker handles the Bill of Sale that contains all of the key information about your new boat. This includes the make, model, year and registration number of the new vessel. More importantly, this document will be proof of whether there are outstanding issues with the vessel including its previous financing. All of this is solidified with the signatures of the buyer and seller. It is very important to note that if it isn’t in the Bill of Sale, then it technically doesn’t exist!

Boat License

Although it isn’t required to have a boat license before purchasing a boat, it’s probably a good idea to have this process in motion. Some new boat owners aren’t aware that a separate license is required to sale a boat. Unlike cars, a boat license is very specific in that it provides permission for the boating location, and the length of time spent on the water. 


Insurance is not mandatory – depending on where you live, of course. In the US, only a handful of states require it. The UK doesn’t require boat insurance, but there are some key situations where Australian boat owners would need some level of insurance. Whether it is a requirement or not, it is vital to get your boat insured so that you aren’t on the hook for a boatload of money. 

Maintenance Records

This gives you the history of the boat in full detail. If things don’t add up, then it is important to take another look at the Bill of Sale before signing. Of note are the timestamps and maintenance tasks that have been performed over the years. If there is a large gap in maintenance, then you may want to look further into the details of the boat.

Registration Information and Title

There is a time limit imposed on getting all of the required documents after the initial terms. Once the buyer has proof of ownership and registration fees, it is only a matter of time until the title is ready. When the title officially changes, you become the legal owner of the boat. Just like the Bill of Sale, this is a document you want to keep close in case there are any issues in the future. 

Owning A Boat Is Life Changing

Buying a boat is a similar experience to purchasing your first car. It is an investment, and the expectation is that it will last for multiple years. To make that a reality, make the paperwork portion of the sale your top priority.