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Buying or Selling a Boat/Outboard Motor in Texas

General Questions (800) 262-8755 or (512) 389-4828


General Information

Parks and Wildlife Code states:

“SUBCHAPTER B-1. CERTIFICATES OF TITLE FOR VESSELS AND OUTBOARD MOTORS

Sec. 31.045. OWNERSHIP OF VESSELS AND OUTBOARD MOTORS; CERTIFICATES OF TITLE.

Sec. 31.037.  CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP INTEREST; NOTICE TO DEPARTMENT.

(a) The recorded owner of a vessel numbered in this state shall notify the department not later than the 20th day after the date:

(1)  of the transfer by sale, donation, gift, or other means of all or any part of the owner's interest in the vessel, other than the creation of a security interest in the vessel;
(2)  of the destruction or disposal of the vessel; or
(3)  of the permanent removal of the vessel from this state to another state or country.

Ownership Transfer Notification Online

Effective January 1, 1994, all motorboats and all outboard motors must be titled.

Purchasing Used Vessels/Outboard MotorsDO NOT purchase a used vessel/boat or outboard motor without receiving an original title (signed on the front and back) along with a signed bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title or bill of sale for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing the legal representative to act on behalf of the owner(s). Texas Parks and Wildlife is not authorized to register/title boat trailers, those are handled by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles through your local County Tax offices.

Vessels Exempted from Titling

Non-USCG documented vessels/boats that are currently registered and not titled must be titled when transferred.

Applications for transfer of title and ownership must be filed not later than 45 working days from date of purchase, or tax penalties and interest will be applied.

Brand New Vessels and/or Outboard Motors

A Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) is required to register and title all new vessels/boats and outboard motors.

Sales

In a private sale, whenever possible, both the seller and buyer should go to the nearest participating office to transfer the vessel/boat title and registration and outboard motor title into the name of the purchaser. Trailers are registered/titled separately through your County tax office.

Seller – by accompanying the buyer to the local office you are assured that the record is transferred out of your name and future liability for the vessel/outboard motor eliminated. The vessel/boat and/or outboard motor title will remain in your name until a new title is applied for and processed. If you do not accompany the purchaser to your local office, submit a Vessel/Boat or Outboard Motor Ownership Transfer Notification to Texas Parks and Wildlife (Ownership Transfer Notification Online).

Purchaser – you can avoid unwanted surprises about your purchase by having the seller accompany you to the local office. If there are any problems with the title, they can be resolved by the seller at that time. DO NOT purchase a used vessel/boat or outboard motor without receiving an original title (signed on the front and back) along with a signed bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title or bill of sale for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing the legal representative to act on behalf of the owner(s). Purchases or gifts of vessels/boats or outboard motors that do not include the title and bill of sale (or statement of gift) will not be eligible for immediate transfer. These may be titled through a more expensive and lengthy bonded title process requiring additional documentation to be acquired and supplied.

The seller must:

The purchaser must:

Texas Titles

A title printed in the seller's name is required to transfer ownership of a previously owned vessel/boat and/or outboard motor previously titled in Texas. Check the Certificate of Number card. If there is a title on the vessel/boat, it will be designated "TITLED" on the card. The following forms may be used to replace a lost or destroyed Texas title.

Submit application and required fees to Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters in Austin, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement field office or a participating County Tax Assessor-Collector office.

Standard replacement titles print 21 days after being processed and are mailed from TPWD Headquarters. For an additional fee, you can expedite the printing of a replacement title. Quick titles print one day after being processed and are mailed from TPWD Headquarters. Fee Chart media download(PDF 107.5 KB)

Out-of-state Title/Registration

Vessels/boats and/or outboard motors coming from title states must surrender the title. Vessels/boats coming from non-titling states (Registration Only), must surrender the registration certificate. Out of state vessels/boats and motors must verify the serial number (HIN/MIN) by completing form PWD 504 (PDF 241.8 KB) (pencil tracing or photograph of the vessel/boat hull identification AND/OR motor identification/serial number).