Whether you’re selling your family dinghy, a large powerboat, or something in between, finalising the transfer of ownership will require some paperwork. Know the requirements and have your files organised ahead of time so you don’t hold up the final sale. The requirements are spelled out under Transfer of Ownership on the Transport Canada website.

Having all your paperwork notarized is not always required, but it’s always a good idea.

For Sale by owner boat paperwork closing the deal

No matter what boat you're selling, finalising the transfer of ownership will require some paperwork.

Bill of Sale

The Bill of Sale must include the boat’s official hull identification number, name and port of registry (unless it’s a small, unnamed boat) the names, addresses, and signatures of buyers(s) and seller(s), and other information. A PDF of the Bill of Sale form, which contains instructions on where it is to be sent, is available from Transport Canada.

Statement of Qualification

The buyer must provide a Statement of Qualification showing Canadian citizenship or residency and other details of the sale, and this form needs to be sent with the Bill of Sale. If there is more than one buyer, each must fill out the statement. Although this is the buyer’s responsibility, it is also in the seller’s interest to make sure this paperwork is done so that the sale is not held up. Transport Canada provide a PDF of the Statement of Qualification form on their website.

If there is more than one buyer, an Appointment of Authorized Representative form must also be filled out and sent in.

signing paperwork for boat sale

Other Paperwork

Warranty documentation, maintenance records and any other courtesy paperwork should also be handed over to the new owner at the time of sale.

Once the deal is final, make sure you cancel your insurance. Some companies will let you date the cancellation back to the actual day of sale, even if you call a few days later. And don’t forget to cancel any advertisements you might have running in periodicals or on the Internet.

With a bit of planning and organisation, passing papers to complete a boat sale is only slightly more than a formality. Best of all, it is the last step before your final handshake.

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.