Boat Owners Association of The United StatesNews Room

March 04, 2024

NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
5323 Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22151
BoatUS News Room at

Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, Vice President Public Affairs, 703-461-2864,

Selling a Boat This Year? Don’t Forget These 4 Critical Paperwork Tasks

Boat sellers need to understand the importance of taking care of all the paperwork when they sell their boat. Not doing so could impact the safety of the new owner.
Boat sellers need to understand the importance of taking care of all the paperwork when they sell their boat. Not doing so could impact the safety of the new owner.
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SPRINGFIELD, Va., Mar. 4, 2024 – The spring boat-buying season is upon us, much to the delight of boat sellers, some of whom may be eager to unload their boats after racking up off-season storage bills. However, when a boat is sold, sellers need to understand – sometimes for safety reasons – that they aren’t in the free and clear until critical paperwork is done right. Here is a seller’s paperwork to-do list from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

  1. Cancel the boat insurance policy. This is the first thing most boat sellers do right. It’s super important to cancel a vessel’s insurance policy once the sale goes through. Not doing so potentially adds unnecessary risk and potential liability to the seller. Also don’t forget to cancel any automatic bank payments that were set up to pay policy premiums.


  1. Release the DSC-VHF radio’s Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number. If you’re selling your boat, remember a key fact about MMSI’s: Once issued, the MMSI number stays assigned to the boat (installed VHF radios). The emergency contact information, among other data, requires updating. If a seller forgets to release the MMSI number to the buyer, a future mayday distress aboard the vessel could delay first responders. BoatUS members can release or update an MMSI for no cost at


  1. Have an EPIRB aboard? A seller will need to ensure an Emergency Position-Indicating Rescue Beacon (EPIRB) attached to the boat is updated with new owner contact information. To update an EPIRB go to NOAA’s Beacon Registration site and change the status to “Sold/Transferred.” Once this happens, the new owner can register the beacon in their name with their own emergency contact information.


  1. Contact the state boat registration agency to advise them the boat was sold. Sending a letter by mail or email to your state’s boat registration agency acknowledging the boat has a new owner may help prevent future misdirected registration renewal notices. In some states it is a legal requirement to report any change in vessel ownership status within a certain number of days with the name of the purchaser, purchase price and date of sale.


To help make buying and selling easier, BoatUS offers a free Boat Buying and Selling Guide and other helpful resources at


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Selling your boat this year? Don’t forget to complete these 4 critical paperwork tasks @BoatUS

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

Celebrating more than 55 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group with nearly 800,000 dues-paying members. BoatUS is the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill, fighting for their rights. The TowBoatUS® fleet is available 24/7 to assist our members on the water when boats break down or run aground with some 600 vessels and 300-plus locations across North America, bringing our members safely back to the launch ramp, marina or dock. On the road, we are The Boat Owners Auto Club™, helping ensure roadside trailer and tow vehicle breakdowns won’t slow you down. BoatUS offers GEICO boat insurance policies that give boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and the superior service they need. Award-winning BoatUS Magazine is the largest circulation recreational marine publication in the U.S. with engaging content that speaks to the passion for boat ownership, while our 501(c)(3) nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water offers the nation’s only free online boating safety course and many other programs that keep boaters safe and our waters clean. Visit