Transferring boat ownership: hire a marine documentation specialist. Get`er done.

Owning a boat in Florida is starting to feel a bit like our destination wedding in Victoria, Canada. It seemed so easy in the planning. But, in both cases, the distance from our home in Ottawa adds a dimension of complexity – never mind the added expense of airfare, car rental and hotel – to get us to where we want to be.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our offer has been accepted to purchase Aphrodite, which is a St Francis 50 catamaran. The boat is currently sitting in a marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We want to move it to Bradenton, Florida for some refits. But, we still need to transfer ownership and funds to close the sale.

To close the sale we have hired a marine documentation specialist. If we were buying a house, we would call this person a “lawyer” because they perform a similar function. A marine documentation specialist prepares the required paperwork and performs the following role:

  • prepares all buyer and seller documents
  • ensures seller documents include a separate Warranty of Title instrument in expanded language (vs. the few lines on a standard bill of sale) to cover unrecorded liens, duty, taxes, etc.
  • attains Canadian Tonnage Certificate, which means that we will hold a certificate to indicate how many people the boat can hold, or how much weight we can carry
  • attains Canadian Provisional and Permanent Registrations with Transport Canada – I think this means we can then fly a Canadian flag on our boat
  • provides assistance with our first US Customs Cruising Permit or Permit to Proceed

Questions we need to consider are:

  1. How do we wish to take ownership of the vessel: one name, two names, a Canadian company?
  2. Full legal name(s) of person(s) or company
  3. Home or company address of record
  4. Home and business phone numbers
  5. Our choice of name for the vessel
  6. Our choice of Canadian Hailing Port

My husband is traveling to Florida tomorrow to help expedite these items, and to prepare for the passage to Bradenton.

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