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USCG Deficiency Letter - Definitions
Bonded Boat Title - Definitions
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Waiver Request - Definitions



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Defective Boat Title


BoatWiki - Definitions

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Mar 2, 2024 - A defective title in boating terms can be defined as one that does not qualify for recordation on the state or federal level. Under such conditions, a transferee does not possess the necessary paperwork or documents to satisfy the jurisdictional rules and regulations for establishing a boat registration or title. Boat title defects can arise for a number or reasons including deceptive actions, insufficient transfer documents, improper executions, lack of notarizations, existential liens or encumbrances and typographical errors... just to name a few. Defective boat titles are also known as troubled titles, deficient titles and non-recordable titles.

Deficiency Notifications

As a matter of due course, state and federal titling, registration or documentation agencies will typically respond with a written deficiency notification whenever a submission does not conform with the applicable rules and regulations. This will list out each deficiency along with detailed instructions on how to address the problem. Contact information is also provided for additional consultation as necessary with a titling official. Corrective action must usually be taken within a set time period in order to avoid cancellations and fee forfeitures.

State Remedies

In circumstances where a defective title can not be remedied by conventional means, some states may offer a title bonding procedure or conditional registrations. These ultimately cumulate in bona fide titles or registrations after a certain period of time with no subsequent objections. Court ordered titles are necessarily a last ditch effort in resolving title deficiencies.

USCG Documentation Remedies

The USCG is less forgiving than most state jurisdictions when it comes to rectifying title or documentation deficiencies. Although it has adopted what is known as a substantial compliance policy, stringent adherence to the code of federal regulations remains in effect under most circumstances. In certain instances, an applicant may submit a written waiver request stating the facts at hand as supported by evidentiary attachments. As with state level remedies, a court of proper jurisdiction may be the only remaining option for correcting documentation deficiencies.


Boat titling, registration and vessel documentation can become very complex and confusing given the respective circumstances. This is especially true with respect to defective titles. Although much information in this regard is available within BoatWiki, it may require the services of a qualified professional title agent or attorney in order to sort things out.

Credits and References

March 2, 2024 - Page revised.

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