WATERCRAFT TITLE GENERAL INFORMATION

The information listed below is intended to provide answers to some commonly asked questions.  Because watercraft title procedures and requirements may vary, please call one of our Branch Offices for more information before stopping in. 

Buying a Boat or Boat Motor

Transfer of Title

Watercraft Title Fees

Late Filing Fee

Documentation

Selling a Boat or Boat Motor

Serial Numbers

Hull Identification Number

Tax

Duplicate Titles

Registration

Upon the Death of an Owner of a Boat and Motor

 

  Buying a Boat or Boat Motor

Any watercraft with an inboard motor must be titled, regardless of size.  This includes jet skis and jet boats.  Canoes and kayaks are exempt.  Before purchasing a boat or motor, be sure that the seller has the Certificate of Title.  The seller is also required to assign the Ohio Watercraft Registration Card to you.  No registration is required for outboard motors.

  Transfer of Title

Your titles will be issued to you by the Clerk of Courts. Do not accept the title from the seller until he/she has his/her signature notarized and your name is shown as buyer.

  Late Filing Fee

A title must be is issued in your name within 30 days of the date the title is assigned to you to avoid an additional $5 fee.

Documentation

Documented vessels are not titled in Ohio, but are registered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

  Selling a Boat or Boat Motor

Do not execute the assignment (on the reverse side of the Certificate of Title)  until a bonafide sale has been made.  Make certain that the buyer's name and address are inserted before you sign the assignment.  Be sure that your signature is notarized.

  Serial Numbers

If there is no manufacturer's serial number, or if the manufacturer's serial number has been removed, a serial number must be affixed to the boat or motor before a Certificate of Title can be issued.  Application for a serial number is made to the Division of Watercraft.  Forms may be obtained at our offices.

  Hull Identification Number

Federal Boating Acts require all boats to show a Hull Identification Number (HIN) of 12 digits.  If you have a title that has more or less than 12 digits, a new HIN will have to be issued before the title can be transferred into a new owner's name.  To acquire a 12-digit HIN, contact the Division of Watercraft to receive information on the process to do so.  Boats manufactured before November 1, 1972, were not required to have 12 digits so they may not have the correct number.  Boats manufactured after November 1, 1972 were to have the 12 digits.  The number on the newer boats should be compared to what is listed on the title. If they differ, make a pencil tracing of the number and present the tracing and title to our office for title correction.

  Tax

The Clerk of Courts is required by Ohio law to collect a 6.5% tax on the purchase price of the watercraft.  This tax must be paid at the time of title issuance.  The same tax rate applies on watercraft purchased outside of Ohio.  However, taxes paid in another state may be deducted from taxes due in Ohio.

  Duplicate Titles

If an original Certificate of Title has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you may obtain a duplicate.   If, after issuance of the duplicate, the original is recovered, it must be returned to the Title Office for cancellation.

  Registration

To renew or apply for a new Watercraft Registration, you must present your Certificate of Title to the Boat Registrar.

  Upon the Death of an Owner of a Boat and Motor

When an estate is probated, the issuance of the Certificate of Title is governed by the following:

  • If the assets of the estate are less than $15,000 and there is no surviving spouse, an order relieving the estate from administration must be applied for through Probate Court.
  • A surviving spouse can take title to two (2) motor vehicles, with a combined value of no more than $40,000, and one (1) boat and one (1) motor if not disposed of by a will.  This is accomplished by an affidavit and an application for title executed (reverse side of title).  Affidavit forms are available at all Title Office locations.  In the case of a surviving spouse only, plates can be transferred to the survivor.
  • Estates larger than $15,000 require the appointment of an Executor or Administrator by the Probate Court.

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