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Boat Registration - Definition



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Boat Title


BoatWiki - Definitions


A boat title can be defined in maritime terms as the certificate which serves as evidence of ownership in a particular boat. This can take the form of a state issued certificate of title or a Coast Guard certificate of documentation.


Although individuals and entities may hold ownership in a particular boat, it is not technically titled until duly recorded with the appropriate state for federal agency. Boaters should also understand that even though properly recorded, titles can become subjected to disputes and litigation. The Coast Guard will be the first to declare that a certificate of documentation is not conclusive when it comes to evidence of ownership. State titling agencies also adopt such position.


In states that do not issue titles, a registration certificate for non-documented boats may serve as proof of ownership. It is not, however, technically viewed as a title. There is also a concept in the marine industry of an electronic or paperless title, where ownership is recorded but the certificate is not actually issued. This takes place in boat collateral security arrangements where a title certificate is not released until the loan has been retired. The paperless title option is not available in all jurisdictions.


Titling, registration, and collateralization rules throughout the United States can be somewhat confusing for the boating layperson. This is especially true on boats large enough to qualify for Coast Guard documentation. Boaters and lenders may accordingly wish to consult with a boat titling professional about any such concerns.

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5/20/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.



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