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TOPIC: Titling an old boat and outboard

Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 7 months ago #86946

  • davnau6345
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One of the challenges with getting an old boat is titling both the boat and the outboard motor, if so equipped. Add titling the trailer, too, if your state requires it. All the rules and regulations around titling and registration vary from state to state, and vary depending on the state your boat and motor came from.

I've recently purchased a 1966 MFG Niagara with a 1963 Merc 350 outboard and TeeNee trailer from a seller in Pennsylvania. I live in Ohio. I knew it would be tricky, but it was even more complicated than I thought.

First off, I figured it was best to take care of the trailer. PA requires a title for boat trailers while OH does not. OH does require, however a weight for the trailer minus the boat and motor for such registration. Fortunately, my seller gave me all the paperwork he had for everything, which helped a lot. Armed with both PA title and PA registration for the trailer, the BMV clerk only wanted to make a copy of the PA registration that showed the weight. Did not care about my handwritten bill of sale with each itemized either. I paid my fees and now had a plate, sticker, and registration for the TeeNee trailer. Now I could at least move the rig around legally.

Next was getting the titles for the boat and motor. These were prerequisites for registering the boat. In PA, titling a boat and motor is optional for rigs older than 1997. That state lets you just register the boat, and a new owner pays the sales tax upon registration. In Ohio, you first must title the boat and motor, then get your new registration. Nothing is optional. However, boats less than 14 feet and motors under 10 horsepower do not require titles, nor are they even issued. ANY boat, however, must be registered.

What made it tricky in my case, is the fact that the boat was pre-1972, and thus did not have the federal standard 12-character alphanumeric Hull Identification Number (HIN), which is required to get a title in Ohio. So, once I put the plate on the trailer, it was off to the local Ohio Department of Watercraft office for an inspection and issue of a new 12-character HIN from the state. At that office, at the appointed time, I filled out a form that had to show the details of the boat and motor. The officer then measured the boat (14' 4"), verified the current boat serial number from the still attached transom capacity plate, verified the motor serial number, looked over my fax from the State of PA showing that indeed the boat had never been titled before (this was critical and found out about this requirement when I made the inspection appointment). They then checked with both the state of OH and PA to make sure the boat was not reported stolen. Once done, they gave me new HIN plates, one for the starboard side of the outer part of the transom, and the other to be hidden somewhere inside the boat. Normally, the first three characters are the Coast Guard assigned manufacturer ID. In this case, OH uses a special code: OHZ. The last two characters are the year: 66, for 1966. I have no idea where the other 7 characters come from.

Now, I thought taking all this info, along with the bill-of-sale, would make titling a breeze. But, no. Turns out that the serial number used by PA was the same as the registration number. OH said no go. I had to have the State of PA email the OH title clerk, saying it was a common practice in PA for old boats to use the PA number as the serial number, and to say it was OK. I also neglected to have the seller sign off on the back of the PA registration, which the OH title clerk takes as part of the paperwork. I had to mail it back to seller, have him sign off, then mail it back, for another week delay. I also had to make a pencil tracing of the motor serial number, which was tricky, since on old Mercury outboards, the serial number is tucked on top of the swivel bracket and well under the lower cowl. The tracing was very hard to read, but I made it easier by making a copy and blowing it up to a larger, and more legible size.

Now armed with a bill-of-sale, signed PA registration, blown up motor serial number pencil tracing, email from PA on how it was registered with the PA registration number as the serial number, fax showing it never had a PA title, all my paperwork from the OH Department of Watercraft inspection, picture of the boat and motor, my drivers license for ID, and the money for the fees (including a total of an extra $10, since I did not get them titled within the prescribed OH 30-day period!), plus paying the sales tax on the boat and motor, plus showing proof that the motor was indeed a 1963 Merc by showing the range of serial numbers for this model from the oldmerc.com website, plus giving them the model number of the motor (350SL), I finally was issued a title for the boat and a title for the motor. The clerk complimented me that I had my paperwork order and that most folks do not. She had to be kidding me!

So, word to the wise. Take nothing for granted and do your homework for your particular state's requirements. Thank goodness the seller had his paperwork in order, or I would not have been able to do this. I've also learned to make sure that the PA seller signs off on the back of the registration, and the to verify all the details on the PA title/registration (or lack of), plus verify everything on the motor. To do all this took me over a month, since I have a day job.

Now, with titles in hand, I could finally go back to OH Dept. of Watercraft office and get new permanent OH hull registration numbers assigned and get a new registration sticker issued, which I did, after paying more fees.

Whew!

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Dave Nau - 1966 MFG Niagara with 1963 Mercury 350 (35hp) outboard and 1966 Tee Nee trailer. Second boat is a 1962 MFG Edinboro with a 1984 Evinrude 70hp and Holsclaw trailer.

Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 7 months ago #86948

This can be the hardest part of any restoration. I would not spend one cent on a rebuild until I had this in hand...
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Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 7 months ago #86973

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Holy cow, guess I should be glad I live in Georgia. A notarized bill of sale, and an inspection (to run the VIN on the trailer) by local law enforcement are all that are required to change one over here. The only exception is if the boat was previously registered in a "title state", you DO need a copy of the title signed over to you. Glad you got it all worked out Dave, what an ordeal!

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Mark

Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 7 months ago #86981

I guess I should feel lucky I live in Wisconsin. My '59 Thompson came from Minnesota and I think all I needed was a bill of sale and a signed registration card from the previous owner. No title involved in either state. I could have gotten a title in Wisconsin for a fee, but I couldn't see any reason. They didn't even want to inspect anything. Wisconsin doesn't require small trailers to be registered, so that was one less thing to have to worry about. There is no registration requirements for outboards, except with the insurance company.
Bill

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Re: Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 7 months ago #87018

davnau6345,

WELCOME ABOARD.

yours, satx

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Resistance to tyrants is obedience to Almighty God.
Thomas Jefferson, 1803

Re: Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 2 months ago #94121

  • davnau6345
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I was surprised the bill of sale did not have to be notarized. I guess with all the other documentation, it would be redundant.

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Dave Nau - 1966 MFG Niagara with 1963 Mercury 350 (35hp) outboard and 1966 Tee Nee trailer. Second boat is a 1962 MFG Edinboro with a 1984 Evinrude 70hp and Holsclaw trailer.

Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 4 years 2 months ago #94123

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I bought my '60 Thompson from the nephew of the original owner who inherited it when his uncle died. Being that early of a model, it never had a title, so the nephew "jumped through hoops" according to him to get a title for it before I bought it. This was in Ill. and I don't know what the hoops were but it was nice of him to get it straightened out before I took possession of the boat. He got the trailer title as well.
They used the original HIN that was stamped into the transom so I didn't have to muck up the boat by putting a replacement tag on it.

Verne :)

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Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 3 weeks 5 days ago #136774

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An update: So Ohio now requires the boat model name to be shown on registrations, so when the blue and white MFG Niagara registration expired, I needed to show the title, which does have the model name on it and always has, so the BMV clerk can note that and put it on the renewed registration. However, in looking at the title, I noticed Niagara was spelled wrong - it showed "Niagra". missing the second "a" before the "r". Arggggg!!

So it was off to the local title bureau. I brought along a copy of the original sales brochure, and showed them the difference in the name. That did it for them and they issued me a duplicate title with the name spelled correctly. I wondered how it happened, so I went back to look at the original form I filled out for the inspection, and found that it was my mistake, I had spelled it "Niagra" on that form, and they just copied it.

Now, with the corrected title, I got the new registration, with "Niagara" on it, spelled correctly. Now I am completely, 100% correct. The next owner will have it easy!

Sheesh!

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Dave Nau - 1966 MFG Niagara with 1963 Mercury 350 (35hp) outboard and 1966 Tee Nee trailer. Second boat is a 1962 MFG Edinboro with a 1984 Evinrude 70hp and Holsclaw trailer.

Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 5 days 14 hours ago #136928

To All,

Despite the common LIES told by owners on craigslist & in the newspaper here in TX, it's darn near IMPOSSIBLE to get an untitled boat/motor/trailer titled.
Fyi, I've got TWO untitled boats that I was PROMISED that I could get titled.
(The PO claimed that they had lost the title & would go with me to get another title issued, if I'd buy the rig. - In BOTH cases, it turns out that neither "owner: ever actually owned the boat/motor/trailer.)

Btw, being LIED TO is NOT a legitimate reason here to get your $$$$$$$ back & generally to get the liar punished for CRIMINAL FRAUD "by false pretense". = The victim of that scam is told to "call a lawyer".
(BUYER BEWARE applies in TX.)

yours, satx

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Resistance to tyrants is obedience to Almighty God.
Thomas Jefferson, 1803

Re:Titling an old boat and outboard 5 days 2 hours ago #136932

  • 63 Sabre
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A rose by any other name is still a rose. Get past the spelling and enjoy the boat.

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