Boat Registration Summary


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Stolen Boat Database Search Check

When and where to check for a stolen boat.

Stolen boat detection is an important aspect of any boat title search effort, regardless of the size or value. As a purchaser, your entire investment could be easily forfeited if the boat actually belongs to someone other than the seller. And this can apply even if the seller is unaware the boat was previously stolen. Checking to see if a particular boat has been stolen may however involve a fair amount of detective work. The extent of this endeavor will depend on your confidence in the seller and the availability of historical data regarding the boat's chain of ownership.

In order to determine just how far to go in conducting the research, you should first examine the circumstances. How well do you know the seller and does such party have the wherewithal to make good on any title warranties or ownership representations. Can the seller produce a complete chain of ownership going all the way back to the manufacturer. Is the title history being examined by a professional boat titling agent. It all comes down to the level of comfort you feel about the transaction in general.

If there are any concerns whatsoever about the boat's history or the seller, you should commence with a stolen boat check. The first step is a close examination of all identification numbers as they are actually affixed to the boat itself. This includes the hull identification number, official vessel documentation number, state registration number, and any other markings which are unique to the boat. You might also consider an experienced boat surveyor that will know how to recognize any markings which appear to have been altered, obliterated or removed. A surveyor will also know where to look for hidden hull numbers on certain models.

Armed with reliable identification numbers, you can now seek out any online information that may be helpful in your search. Our database service is ideal for such purpose as it combines eight different informational databases into a single interface. In addition to a stolen boat database, it provides a number of resources for verifying hull number formatting, manufacturer matches, and other tools which may offer clues about the boat and its historical background. It also contains information and resources for obtaining Coast Guard abstracts of title and state registration records. The service can be found by visiting our database page which can be accessed from the menu selection shown above.

An important thing to keep in mind when working with any database is that it may not be fully conclusive and could be subject to errors or omissions. The manner in which state and federal agencies gather and report stolen boat information is not always accurate or consistent. In fact, many jurisdictions do not even make such data readily available to the boating public. You should not therefore presume the boat you are checking is free and unencumbered just because of a negative online search result.

Another step you can take in your detection effort would be to contact a local law enforcement office and ask them to check the National Crime Information Center's database. This is the nation's foremost data gathering agency with regard to stolen property such as boats. Enforcement officials rely heavily on this resource when conducting jurisdictional investigations of their own. The database is not however available for direct use by the general public and is only accessible by going through governmental agencies.

As a final effort, you should run a background check on the seller to see if such party is responsible and reliable. There is no title insurance available for boats, therefore your only recourse will be against the seller in the event of a theft conversion. You will want to ensure that such party has no criminal background and is financially able to compensate for any losses incurred on your behalf.


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