How to register a Boat in Florida with No Title

What to do if you want to sell a boat but don’t have the title

In the state of Florida, you must register your boat with a title in most instances. A purchaser of a new or used vessel has 30 days in which to do this. Failure, according to the Florida motor vehicles and tag/titles department is a 2nd degree misdemeanor. Does this mean that if you do not have a title that you cannot operate the vessel legally or sell your vessel? Not necessarily. There are exemptions from titling as well as some methods for gaining a title for registration. Here is what you need to know if you need to know how to register a boat in Florida with No title.

Are there exemptions from Titling a boat in Florida?

There are exemptions for titling. These exemptions are that the boat is non-motorized and less than 16 feet long. If it has an outboard motor, even a singular low HP it must be titled. If the vessel is owned by the U.S. Government or if the vessel is Federally documented it does not need a title. A boat which is deemed as Amphibious by the DHSMV and have a vehicle title do not need a boat title. Any boat which is used only for demonstration, testing, or sales promotional purposes by a dealer or manufacturer does not need a title.

The only other exemptions are vessels issued a valid registration certificate and numbers by other states and vessels which are used exclusively on private lakes and ponds.

For the majority of the boats that you will find for sale, they do not fall into this exemption bracket. So, what do you do when you need to find the title. Contact the seller prior to purchasing the vessel to see if the title is available. If the seller does not have the title, ask him/her to contact the manufacturer to gain a title for the vessel.

What if the boat is from out of state?

Even if a boat is from out of state, you still must have a title and registration on the vessel unless it is classified as an exemption. Used vessels that do not require a title should be registered using a bill of sale as well as the manufacture information, year, hull material, and such information as would commonly be found pertaining to the construction and functionality of the boat for sale. Out of state titled vessels can be transferred to Florida, given that the appropriate form is filled.

What can I do? I have tried everything and can’t get a title?

The only possible solution to your problem would be to have the vessel listed as homemade. Take into consideration that the boat must be 16’ or smaller and you will need to fill out forms HSMV 82040 as well as HSMV 87002 and present all required documents. It is not recommended that you try this will vessels which have not been worked upon and altered. Boats which are over 16’ must be inspected by a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission prior to the vessel being titled as homemade. Note that it is not legal to register a boat as homemade if it is a manufactured boat. Substantial work on the boat, to the point of being outside the realm of the manufacture’s build, must be documented and presented for this option.

What about lifeboats?

Vessels which are used exclusively for lifeboat purposes do not have to have registration. It is advised that if you have a large yacht and have lifeboats with outboard engines that you register these boats as a precautionary measure. Boats that do not have a motor are already exempt from registration.

How can I ensure that I purchase a vessel that can be registered?

The best way to eliminate the headache and the legal fees of trying to track down a title is to use a site that lists only vessels which have the appropriate title and registration documents in place. Vessel Vendor does its due diligence to ensure that the manufacture, year, boat details, and other pertinent information for acquiring the title and registration of the boat for sale is present. Our site is only catered to boats and to boat related topics, meaning that we take the time to present factual information to potential buyers and sellers so that they do not have the problems with registration and titling their boat that generic sites may present.

As with anything pertaining to legal matters of the state of Florida, you are strongly encouraged to contact your local DMV for any questions related to the titling and the registration of your boat. Should you have any questions regarding a specific vessel on our site, listing your boat for sale, or if you have any general inquires about vessel vendor, please fill out the appropriate form on our site and we will get back in touch with you.