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How to Transfer a Boat Title in Virginia

If you are buying or selling a boat in the state of Virginia, it is important to understand the process of transferring the boat title. Having a clear understanding of the steps involved will ensure a smooth and legal transfer of ownership. This article will guide you through the necessary steps and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding boat title transfers in Virginia.

Step 1: Gather Required Documentation
Before initiating the boat title transfer process, make sure you have all the necessary documents. These include:

1. Bill of Sale: A written agreement between the buyer and seller that includes the boat’s description, purchase price, and signatures of both parties.

2. Original Boat Title: The current owner must provide the original boat title. If the title is lost or destroyed, a duplicate must be obtained before transferring ownership.

3. Application for Boat Registration and Title: This form can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) website or local DGIF offices.

Step 2: Complete the Bill of Sale
Both the buyer and seller must complete the bill of sale. Ensure that all the required information, such as the boat’s make, model, year, HIN (Hull Identification Number), and purchase price, is accurately recorded. Both parties should sign and date the document.

Step 3: Obtain a Duplicate Title (if necessary)
If the original boat title is lost or destroyed, the current owner must obtain a duplicate title before proceeding with the transfer. To do this, the owner should complete the Application for Replacement Title form, available on the DGIF website or at local DGIF offices. The completed form, along with the required fee, should be submitted to the DGIF.

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Step 4: Complete the Application for Boat Registration and Title
The buyer must complete the Application for Boat Registration and Title form. This form requires information about the boat, such as its make, model, HIN, length, and engine type. The buyer’s name, address, and contact information are also required. The form should be signed and dated.

Step 5: Submit Required Documentation and Fees
Once all the necessary documents are completed, they should be submitted to the DGIF along with the required fees. The fees include the boat registration fee and the title transfer fee. The fees can be paid by check, money order, or credit card.


Q: How long does it take to transfer a boat title in Virginia?
A: The processing time for a boat title transfer in Virginia varies, but it generally takes around 4-6 weeks. It is advisable to complete the transfer well in advance of any planned usage of the boat.

Q: Can the boat title transfer be done online?
A: No, the boat title transfer process in Virginia cannot be completed online. All required documents and fees must be submitted in person or by mail to the DGIF.

Q: Is a notary public required for the boat title transfer?
A: No, a notary public is not required for the boat title transfer in Virginia. However, it is recommended to have the bill of sale notarized to provide an extra layer of authenticity.

Q: Are there any exemptions from boat registration and title requirements?
A: Yes, certain boats are exempt from registration and titling requirements in Virginia. These include non-motorized boats, boats registered in another state temporarily using Virginia waters, and boats documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Q: What if there is a lien on the boat?
A: If there is a lien on the boat, the lienholder’s information should be provided on the Application for Boat Registration and Title form. The lienholder will need to release the lien before the transfer can be completed.

In conclusion, transferring a boat title in Virginia involves gathering the required documentation, completing the necessary forms, and submitting them to the DGIF with the appropriate fees. It is essential to follow these steps accurately to ensure a legal and hassle-free transfer of ownership.