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Pat K

If you bought a boat from a private party in the last 3 years

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If you bought a boat from a private party in the last 3 years and didn't transfer the title or registration into your name because the sticker on the boat didn't expire till this year NOW is the time to change it if you want to use the boat this spring. My wife works at a registrars office and every year they have a dozen or so people come in the week before opener to get a new reg sticker for the boat they bought a few years ago but didn't change the title or registration.

Most of them will have no bill of sale or title or any other proof of sale. They won't remember the name of the person they bought it from or the name of the seller on the bill of sale doesn't match the registered owner. There is a privacy law that prevents the people at the registrars office from giving you the name of the registered owner if it doesn't match the name of the person who sold it to you. In most of these cases you will have to deal directly with the DNR in ST Paul to get clear title on the boat and it may take weeks or months to get it straightened out.

Many of these people will show up on the Friday afternoon before opener with the boat in tow and all their gear in the truck. Then call my wife and her coworkers dumb (insert all expletives you can imagine here) because they can't sell them a new reg sticker for their boat.

If you have the signed title from a titled boat or a bill of sale from the legal owner of a smaller boat it is a quick and easy transaction. When you buy a boat, transfer the reg or title right away. Not just because it is the law but if you wait 2 to 3 years you may lose paperwork or have a hard time tracking down the seller if there are any problems. Also remember the trailer is registered with the DMV not the DNR so that is a separate transaction. Even if the trailer has a permanent reg sticker instead of a license plate the registration needs to be transferred to your name.

Every year there are posts from angry boat owners on this and other fishing sites because the stupid, incompetent and rude people at the DMV don't believe they are an honest person and transfer their boats to their name. So this is just a heads up to get the process started early so it doesn't come as a complete surprise and it is to late to fix it by opener.

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Also wise to know that I did this with my boat 5 or so yearsago when I bought it. Tabs were up and I went to office to renew but came up as having a title. So I contacted my seller about title he could not find. Long story short is he had to go register and pay for copy of title himself so I could transfer to me and update tabs cause if he refused to get copy of title any accidents the boat would be involved in were still his responsibility as long as title was still in his name. When I found that out from dnr & insurance company he hightailed in to get copy asap.

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That's a good point. Don't ever take a boat without having the title in hand. My buddy bought a boat from a guy who lived about 200 miles from him. The guy said he couldn't find the title and would mail it when found. That began 2 year ordeal to get the boat title. IMO NO TITLE, NO DEAL. If you have any questions about a the boat's title situation call the local County licensing agency, provide the model, length and motor size and they will tell you

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...you will have to deal directly with the DNR in ST Paul to get clear title on the boat and it may take weeks or months to get it straightened out.

How do you do that? I don't have a problem I am just wondering.

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How can people do that? It would drive me crazy. I always do it right away on everything I buy! Feel alot better know everything is in the clear!

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Funny story along these lines. Years ago I had a March Trip to pool 4 planned with 3 friends. at about 3 am the morning of I shot up out of bed remembering my boat tabs were expired (I owned the boat free and clear and had already transfered the title so no issue there). Well, if you know fishign pool 4 in March you know

A)there are a ton people down there fishing bumper to bumper

B)there are a ton of CO's patrolling said people.

So at 3am I go on the DNR site and buy tabs, I was able to print off a piece of paper that said I had paid and was clear to use the boat for 10 days until the actual tabs arrived.

fast forward to where we are fishing in a huge pod of boats and the CO hits the rollers and B lines it for me. I handed him the paper and all was well, funny thing is when I got done talking to him the pod of boats had dispersed and we had the whole area to myself.

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Been there kind of. Bought my boat in October. Smaller boat without a title. Found out that the boat was in the name of the person that owned it 2 owners ago and the trailer was in the name of another owner. None of the names were who I actually made the payment to. I freeked out, but it worked out in the end. Bunch of paperwork, though.

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I had a verbal agreement to purchase a nice Lund with a 90hp Merc years ago. It was about a 4 year old boat. The guy didn't have the title though, it was caught up in "red tape." I gave him a few weeks to figure it out and then pulled the plug. I ended up buying a new boat instead and have no regrets.

If you can't produce the title then I'm not interested in what you're peddling.

Thanks for the PSA!

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Another heads up is to make sure it actually is in your name. A few years ago when I got my boat I got trailer tags for it, and had the boat put in my name at the same time. The tags were still good on the boat. This was in Buffalo, MN, which has a name for being horrible. After the second time I went in there, I was told everything was in my name. When it came time to get boat tags, I was turned down because it was still in the previous owners name. Boy was it a job tracking that guy down again.

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