A Rhode Island boat bill of sale records the sale of a used vessel and the terms thereof, including the purchase price, date of the transaction, and a description of the boat. The seller’s notarized signature must be supplied in the document because the buyer will require proof of purchase when they apply to register the boat. If an outboard motor or boat trailer is included in the purchase, its description and price will need to be listed separately. Unlike watercraft purchases from retailers, which require the buyer to pay sales tax, all privately sold boats and outboard motors are tax exempt. Once the document has been executed, the sale is considered final.
Rhode Island Boat Registration/Titling
In Rhode Island, all motorized boats and all vessels over twelve (12) feet long must be registered with the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Boats from out-of-state that meet the aforementioned specifications must also be registered if they are moored in Rhode Island waters for more than ninety (90) days in a year. After buying a boat that is longer than fourteen (14) feet, the new owner will also need to apply for a title. If the boat has an outboard motor, it will need to be registered as well.
Boats that were purchased second-hand in the state can be titled and registered by following the steps below.
- Obtain a notarized Boat Bill of Sale and Certificate of Title from the seller.
- Complete the Boat Registration Application and (if applicable) Outboard Motor Registration forms.
- If the boat is more than fourteen (14) feet in length, the new owner must complete an Application for Initial Vessel Certificate of Title and sign it in the presence of a notary public.
- Make a pencil tracing of the hull identification number (HIN) by rubbing a pencil on a paper that is placed over the engraved number located on the hull interior.
- Make a check or money order payable to “State of RI – DEM” for payment of applicable registration and titling fees.
- Submit the required paperwork and payment in person or by mail at the address below.
Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St.
Providence, RI 02908