Buying a Boat Without a Title in SC

Buying a boat without having a title in SC is illegal. To avoid complications, never buy a boat unless the title has the seller’s name on it and the seller signs the title over to you.

What’s wrong with buying a boat without a title in SC?

South Carolina is a titling state. most powered watercraft, sailboats, and jet skis must have a title establishing ownership of the vessel.

A title proves ownership. Only the legitimate owner of a boat may sell it. If you buy a boat without a title in SC, you might buy stolen property. In other words, the legal consequences of buying a boat without a title could cost you a lot in terms of time and money.

What’s the exception to buying a boat without a title in SC?

South Carolina residents may buy a boat without a title if it comes from a non-titling state. In such a case, you must have a bill of sale that clearly identifies the seller and you, as the buyer.

The bill of sale will help you get a South Carolina title for an out-of-state boat.

What are the non-titling states for boats?

Check this list to find out what states provide boat title services. You’ll discover that most states that don’t offer titling do require registration.

How can I avoid problems when buying a boat?

Buying a South Carolina boat and/or motor in South Carolina without having a title in the seller’s name is illegal.

Don’t buy a boat until the current owner of the boat and/or motor has obtained a valid boat title for South Carolina.

Never buy an out-of-state boat that doesn’t have a title and/or registration card that’s in the name of the current owner.

Can I access SCDNR boat title services without a title?

If you can’t locate the current owner of a boat, you can file an Affidavit in Support for Application for Title for Watercraft/Outboard Motor with SCDNR. Afterward, SC investigators will attempt to discover the legitimate owner of your boat. If they can’t find any existing claim to the watercraft and/or outboard motor, SCDNR will allow you to get a boat title in your name.

Learn more about boat title services.

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