Abstract of Title

What is an Abstract of Title and Why do you Need One?

Have you been doing your fair share of research on a vessel you are interested in, but are still uncertain if you can trust all of the information you have come across? Is a boat you’ve been checking on “too good to be true”? Those two questions are the most common ones our customers tell to themselves before asking us how to solve that problem. The thing is not everyone in the boating world is familiar with the Abstract of title, and that is the reason behind the writing of this article: we will tell you everything you need to know about it. 

What is an Abstract of Title?

Basically, an Abstract of title is a formal document that provides the person who applies for one with an entire chain of ownership of a particular vessel. Even if you do trust the person you are acquiring the boat from, the seller may not know the people who owned the boat before him or her. Furthermore, it doesn’t really matter if several people are included in the ownership of the boat, as they can be in a partnership or a limited liability company, to name a few.

Keep in mind, however, that the information you will have access to will only be during the time the vessel was registered with the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Maybe the vessel was sold abroad for some time or one of the owners decided not to have it registered for a while. Anyhow, if that was the case, the information about the vessel will not come up on the document during that period. 

The abstract will generally include the name of the vessel, the Coast Guard and Hull Identification numbers, the name of the builder and when and where it was built. If the Coast Guard and HIN Number, for example, do not match with those marked on the boat, the vessel could have been stolen and sold under fraudulent circumstances. 

Why Would You Need an Abstract of Title?

Most of the people who decide to have their boats documented in the first place are to have access to a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage. This would help boat owners, who wouldn’t be able to pay for the boat all at once, to have their boat financed. Unfortunately, sometimes mortgages are not paid off, or the vessels have liens. The abstract of title is here to prevent this situation from causing the new owners any problems.

Let’s give boat owners the benefit of the doubt: in the vast majority of the cases, boat sellers will be telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They are just looking for a boat purchaser that buys the vessel at a fair price. Unfortunately, some people are not and may try to deceive you. If that is the case, the abstract of title will help you not to be bamboozled.

Abstract of Title

Vessel Documentation Made Simple

You can obtain an Abstract of Title from the United States Coast Guard website by downloading the PDF application, filling it out, paying for the document and sending the form to the appropriate USCG address.

Another choice, if you don’t have the time to head straight to the source and do the things in person, is to get it with our help. On Vessel Documentation Online we created a portal that helps our customers to obtain their documents without having to leave home. Contact us today and get your paperwork in no time!