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Information and resources for everything from ski-boats to mega-yachts.
Featuring the internet's foremost boat history search database.
About Boat Title Searches
An overview of boat title, lien, and ownership research.
It would seem
that checking on a boat's title status should be as easy as
inspecting the owner's certificate of title, registration, or
documentation. However, this is only the starting point in what
could become a rather complex investigative effort. The extent of
all this will of course depend on the boat's size and operational
background. The important thing to remember here is what you
see is not always what you get when it comes to
representations of title.
In order to determine what is really going on behind the scenes, you will need an understanding of the various ways in which ownership can be recorded and how liens or encumbrances become attached to a boat's title. Unfortunately, this is where things can start getting complicated. A particular boat may in its lifetime have been alternately titled or registered with the U.S. Coast guard, any number of states, and perhaps even a foreign government.
As for liens and encumbrances, this is another area where there is no real consistency. In most cases, a loan security interest, mortgage, or claim of lien will be recorded according to how the a boat is titled and registered. In the realm of maritime law however, there is nothing that says a lien must be recorded at all in order to be effective against the boat. In fact, such liens can follow a boat through subsequent owners even with out their knowledge.
If all of this is not confounding enough, let's add the lack of accord among boat recording agencies to the mix. There is no common exchange of information or data whatsoever among various state and federal jurisdictions. Each does things their own way and some are extremely retentive about providing boat, ownership, and lien data to the general public. This creates a great deal of hardship for those in need of such information, especially to any degree of urgency.
Given these circumstances, it becomes obvious that conducting a thorough boat title search is as much of an art as logical science. This is not to say that a layman can not perform such a task, but it's going to require a lot of homework and endurance. Boat title research is an absolute necessity however, as there is no other way to protect against misrepresentations. Boat title insurance is non-existent in the marine industry.
Our web site is dedicated in no small part to assisting those in need of boat title research. Whether you intend to do this yourself or require professional assistance, we have all of the resources you are going to need. In addition to a wealth of information, you will find specialized services, search forms, and best of all... our BoatScope database. This offers the internet's largest gathering of boat records and is designed exclusively for boat title research.
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