Buying or Selling a Boat in Texas

General Questions (800) 262-8755 or (512) 389-4828


General Information

Parks and Wildlife Code states:

“SUBCHAPTER B-1. CERTIFICATES OF TITLE FOR VESSELS AND OUTBOARD MOTORS

Sec. 31.045. OWNERSHIP OF VESSELS AND OUTBOARD MOTORS; CERTIFICATES OF TITLE.

Effective January 1, 1994, all motorboats and all outboard motors must be titled. Also sailboats 14 feet and over in length must be titled.

Purchasing Used Vessels DO NOT purchase a used boat or outboard motor without receiving a title signed on the front and back along with a bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing them to act on behalf of the owner(s).

Exempted vessels

Vessels that are currently registered and not titled must be titled at the time of transfer. Sailboats 14 feet and over will be registered and titled as owners become aware of these requirements. Currently owned untitled outboard motors must be titled when transferred.

Applications for transfer of title and ownership must be filed not later than 20 working days from date of purchase, or tax penalties and interest will be applied.

Brand New Vessels and/or Outboard Motors

A Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) is required to register and title all new boats and outboard motors.

Sales

In a private sale, whenever possible, both the seller and buyer should go to the nearest participating office to transfer the boat title and registration and outboard motor title into the name of the purchaser. Trailers are registered/titled separately through your County tax office.

Seller – by accompanying the buyer to the local office you are assured that the record is transferred out of your name and future liability for the vessel eliminated. The vessel and outboard motor title will remain in your name until a new title is applied for and processed by the local office or through the mail. If you do not accompany the purchaser to your local office, be sure to submit a Vessel/Boat or Outboard Motor Ownership Transfer Notification form PWD 1340 to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Purchaser – you can avoid unwanted surprises about your purchase by having the seller accompany you to the local office. If there are any problems with the title, they can be resolved by the seller at that time. Do not purchase a used boat or outboard motor without receiving a signed title from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing them to act on behalf of the owner(s). Purchases or gifts of boats or outboard motors that do not acquire the title and bill of sale will not be eligible for immediate transfer. These may be titled through a more expensive and lengthy bonded title process.

The seller must:

The purchaser must:

Texas Titles

A title printed in the seller's name is required to transfer ownership of a previously owned vessel and/or outboard motor titled in Texas. Check the Certificate of Number card. If there is a title on the boat, it will be designated "TITLED" on the card. The following forms may be used to replace a lost or destroyed Texas title.

Submit application and required fees to Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters in Austin, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement field office or a participating County Tax Assessor-Collector office.

Standard replacement titles print 21 days after being processed and are mailed from TPWD Headquarters. For an additional fee, you can expedite the printing of a replacement title. Quick titles print one day after being processed and are mailed from TPWD Headquarters.

Out-of-state Title/Registration

Vessels and/or outboard motors coming from title states must surrender the title. Vessels coming from non-titling states (Registration Only), must surrender the registration certificate. Out of state boats and motors must verify the serial number (HIN/MIN) by completing form PWD 504 (PDF 241.8 KB) (pencil tracing or photograph of the boat hull/identification AND/OR motor identification/serial number).


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