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Agent's Handbook for Registration of Undocumented Vessels - Chapter 5

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Transfers

5.000 Introduction

An Application For Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) fom must be completed to effect the transfer. A transfer fee and use tax are due upon purchase. A transfer penalty is due if the transfer fee was not paid within 30 days of transfer (see Chapter 3, Vessel Registration Fees and Use Tax).

Note: Vessel agents are required to supply new vessel owners with the ABCs of California Boating booklet (see Chapter 2 of this handbook).

5.005 Application for Transfer With Duplicate California Certificate of Ownership (CVC §§9909, 9917)

To apply for a transfer of ownership when the original California Certificate of Ownership is lost, stolen, illegible, mutilated, or has not been received by the owner of record, complete a REG 227 form following the instructions on the form.

In addition the following may be required:

  • If mutilated or illegible, the title must be attached to the application.
     
  • A bill of sale is acceptable in lieu of a releasing signature in Section 4.
     
  • A legal owner of record release of owernship and /or interest must be notarized a Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release (REG 166) form cannot be used in lieu of the notarized lien holder’s release in Section 5.
     
  • The lienholder information or the word, “None,” (if there is no new lienholder) must appear in Section 7.
     
  • An Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) lienholder’s name and address must be shown exactly as shown in the latest ELT listing issued by the department. Listings are issued quarterly in a Vehicle Industry News (VIN) memo.

Note: In November 1989, the department began issuing electronic or “paperless” titles. Used vessels and vehicles may be transferred with a paperless (electronic) title. If this is the case, a REG 227 form is required to complete a transfer; however, there is no fee for a duplicate.

5.010 Bankruptcy Sales (CVC §9915)

In addition to basic transfer requirements, the following items are required for
bankruptcy sales:

  • A certified copy of the trustee’s bond, court order appointing a receiver, or a court order confirming the sale of the vessel to the applicant. When the signature of the bankrupt individual or company representative is required, obtain the signature of the trustee or receiver.
     
  • New vessels belonging to a bankrupt California vessel dealer may be cleared on an invoice or an Application for Registration Number, Certificate of Ownership, and Certificate of Number for Undocumented Vessel (BOAT 101) form with accompanying Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) or Bill of Sale (REG 135) form as needed, to establish the chain of ownership.

5.015 Change From Exempt or Livery to Pleasure

When a livery or fee exempt vessel is transferred to an owner not qualified for the special number, a pleasure number is issued. When changing from an exempt or livery number to a pleasure number, complete the basic transfer requirements and:

  • Obtain a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form signed by the new owner stating that the vessel will be used for pleasure only.
     
  • Collect a transfer fee and renewal fee if due (see Chapter 3, Vessel Registration Fees and Use Tax).
     
  • Issue a new Permanent Vessel Number and Temporary Certificate of Number (BOAT 102). Instruct the applicant to remove the old number and affix the new number to the vessel bow.

5.020 Completing California Certificate of Ownership for Transfer (CVC §§9900-9908)

In 1989, California began issuing a rainbow California Certificate of Ownership. The rainbow title is multi-colored (green, yellow, and pink) and is 8” x 7” in size. In 2004, the vessel title color changed to green. Older (4” x 5”) titles, also called “pink slips,” are still valid. When a California Certificate of Ownership is received, compare the hull identification number (HIN) with the California Certificate of Ownership to ensure it agrees. Follow the number references to complete the endorsements on the California Certificate of Ownership.

Follow the number references to complete the endorsements on the California Certificate of Ownership.

Front of Title  
Lines 1a & 1b

Secure the release of the registered owner(s)

  • The signature must be on or above line 1a. A co-owner signs on line 1b. When multiple names are joined by “AND” (DMV keys “AND” as a slash mark “/”), all must sign to release ownership. When joined by “OR” or “AND/OR” (/or) any one of the listed owners may release.
  • A company, public agency, or business name must be countersigned by an authorized representative.
    Example: SPEEDY VESSEL SALES The following is required: Speedy Vessel Sales by D. Collins
  • An individual doing business as (DBA) Example: JOHN SMITH DBA SMITH VESSEL SALES The following is required: John Smith or John Smith DBA Smith Vessel Sales
  • Release for Trust: The release signature for a trust must contain the name of the trust and the countersignature of a trustee. Example: John Jones Family Trust by Mary S. Jones, Trustee.
  • When a signature appears contrary to the printed name, have the customer complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form to support the signature.
    Example: Dave R. Jones signs as Bobby Jones (Bobby Jones). The REG 256 form should indicate the true full name as David Robert Jones and the customer uses “Bobby Jones.”
  • A bill of sale is acceptable in lieu of a signature on line1. Write B/S on line 1.
Date Print or type the date the registered owner released interest
in the vessel.
Line 2 On line 2, the signature releases interest by the legal owner/lienholder of record, if any.
A releasing signature for a company or business must contain the company or business name and the initials or signature of an authorized representative of the company. A signature is required for a lienholder who is an individual. A Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release (REG 166) form is acceptable in lieu of the signature on line 2. (Print “LS” on line 2.) If the legal owner/lienholder is to remain the same for the new owner, release on line 2 is not mandatory. (The name and address of the legal owner/lienholder must be reentered on the back of the ownership certificate in this case).
Release Date Date the lienholder released interest in the vessel.

 

Back of Title  
Lines 3a & 3b
  • Print or type the true full name (s) of the purchaser(s). See Chapter 9 for true full name definition.
  • Check the appropriate indicator box “AND” or “OR” if registered to co-owners, and enter the purchase date. If a box is not checked, the names will be joined by “AND” on the new certificate.
  • The purchase price and date must be entered on the designated lines. If acquired as a gift, the current value and date acquired must be entered.
Line 4 Print or type the complete mailing address, including apartment or space number, when appropriate. Do not abbreviate street name.
Line 5a Print or type city, two letters of the state, and zip code. Do not abbreviate city names.
Line 5b County of residence.
Line 6a & 6b Date of purchase and price.
Line 6c State of Principal Use-Write the state where the vessel is principally on the waters for most of the calendar year.
Line 7a & 7c Location (situs) where the vessel is primarily kept must be entered.
Line 8a & 8b Date and written signature(s) of the new registered owner(s). If more than one purchaser, all must sign. The “usual” signature for each owner is acceptable. (Signature may be by power of attorney, which must be submitted as part of the application).
Lines 9-11 Write or print the name and address of the legal owner (lienholder), if any, and the initials of the person making the entry. This includes transfer of the registered owner when the legal owner/lienholder remains the same. Rubber stamps must be a minimum of 12 points. The impression must be clear and legible. If there is no legal owner, write the word “None” and initial. Omission of this information will cause the application to be returned as incomplete.
Line 12-14 California Certificate of ownership reassignments by vessel
dealers.
  • The vessel agent’s signature and agent number must be entered and a Vessel Dealer or Manufacturer’s Sales Tax Certification (BOAT 110) must be submitted with the application.
  • Vessel dealer’s name, countersignature, Board of Equalization seller’s permit number, and date of release (or sale).
  • Endorsement by the second dealer, if applicable.
  • If there are more than two, the other dealer names must be shown below or in any other available space (except legal owner area).
  • Give the customer the ABCs of California Boating booklet and one set of Vessel Carbon Monoxide Warning Stickers and the companion brochure.

Note: Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form, see Chapter 1.

5.025 Divorce and Quiet Title Judgments (CVC §9915)

Basic transfer requirements are required for divorce and quiet title judgments. The signature of the prior registered owner is not required for release of ownership. A certified copy of the Judgment of Dissolution is required. The judgment must include a full description of the vessel and indicate to whom it was awarded. If the full description is not shown on the document, obtain a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form from the applicant, stating the vessel mentioned in the judgment is the only vessel awarded to the applicant.

Note: Certifications on any court judgment or decree must be made by the court clerk.

5.030 Involuntary Transfers (CVC §9915)

An involuntary transfer occurs when the owner’s or legal owner’s title/interest in a vessel passes without that owner’s voluntary release. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Repossession
     
  • Lien Sale
     
  • Divorce and Quiet Title Judgment
     
  • Bankruptcy Sales.

5.035 Legal Owner Transfers (CVC §9906-9907)

Submit a change of legal owner only on a Certificate of Ownership properly endorsed by the lienholder of record. A Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release (REG 166) form is acceptable in lieu of the legal owner’s release on the Certificate of Ownership. Collect the transfer fee (see Chapter 3, for fees).

5.040 Multiple Transfers

A multiple transfer involves at least two transfers, one of which was not recorded with DMV. A transfer fee is due for all transfers, including the unrecorded transfers. Multiple transfers require the following in addition to basic transfer documents:

  • A releasing signature on the California Certificate of Ownership. Print the names of each buyer. The last buyer(s) must sign the back of the California Certificate of Ownership.
     
  • Bill(s) of sale to complete the chain of ownership from the first buyer to the second buyer, the second buyer to the third, etc.
     
  • A Statement to Record Ownership/Statement of Error or Erasure (REG 101) form for this current owner’s name. It must clearly indicate the true full name(s) of the registered and lienholder name(s) and address(es).
     
  • When any signature appears in the legal owner section in error, a REG 101 form signed by the person making the error, must accompany the application to clarify intentions.
     
  • If a lienholder was indicated by a previous buyer, a REG 166 from that lienholder is required.
     
  • A transfer fee is due for each change of ownership from one party to another except: to, from, or between dealers, unless the vessel is to be registered in the name of a dealer. (Only the last transfer is subject to a transfer penalty for late submission.)

Example I:
Tom Smith trades in a boat to Dave’s Boat World. Dave’s sells it to T. Jones. A single transfer fee is due.
Example II:
Jerry Johnson trades in a boat to Dave’s Boat World. Dave’s sells it to All-American Vessels; it is then sold to D. Allen. A single transfer fee is due.
Example III:
John Thomas sells a boat to Dave Smith. Dave sells it to Mary Jones; it is then transferred to American Boats. Two transfer fees are due.
Example IV:
Jerry Smith sells a boat to Tom Anderson. Tom sells it to George Brown. George sells it to All-American Vessels; it is then sold to Barry’s Boats. Three transfer fees are due.

Note: Collect use tax for the current owner only. If the separate price/value is not known on a vessel/trailer combination purchase, collect $1 use tax on the trailer and the remaining tax on the vessel.

5.045 Proof of Ownership (CCR §190.2 and CVC §9852)

The following are acceptable proof of vessel ownership:

  • A bill of sale or Certificate of Sale completed by the seller showing the name and address of the seller, purchaser, and legal owner, if any, the location and date of sale, and a description of the vessel.
     
  • A properly endorsed California Certificate of Ownership or out of state title.
     
  • A Certificate of Origin, Bill of Lading, or invoice is required from any dealer. A bond may be required when proof of ownership cannot be established for vessels valued at $2,000 or more.

5.050 Revived Junk

Revived junks are processed as original registrations including:

  • An Application for Registration Number, Certificate of Ownership, and Certificate of Number for Undocumented Vessel (BOAT 101) form.
     
  • A bill of sale from the person who reported the vessel as junked and any other bills of sale to establish a chain of ownership. A bond may be required if a complete chain of ownership cannot be provided and the vessel is valued at $2,000 or more.
     
  • The HIN or Statement of Facts (REG 256) form if there is not a HIN on the vessel.
     
  • A REG 256 form explaining the condition of the vessel.
     
  • Collection of the original registration fee and issuance of a CF number.

Give the ABCs of California Boating booklet to the new owner. Advise the applicant to remove any old numbers on the vessel and affix the new HIN numbers supplied by headquarters as indicated in the ABCs booklet and on the DMV website.

5.055 Transfer of Amphibious Vehicle/Vessel Combinations (CVC§9872.5)

The requirements to transfer amphibious vehicle/vessels with dual registration are as follows:

Separate applications are required.

  1. Vehicle (On or Off-Highway)
    In addition to the usual vehicle transfer requirements and fees, enter the vessel CF number in upper left corner of the California Certificate of Ownership.
  2. Vessel
    In addition to the usual vessel transfer requirements and fees:
  • Enter the vehicle license number in the upper left-hand corner of the vessel Certificate of Number (CN) and cross out the former owner information.
     
  • Give the applicant the ABCs of California Boating booklet.

The requirements to transfer and convert from dual registration to vessel registration only are:

  • An Application for Registration Number, Certificate of Ownership, and Certificate of Number for Undocumented Vessel (BOAT 101) completed by the new owner.
     
  • The properly endorsed Certificate of Ownership (Title) and supporting transfer documents.
     
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form completed by the applicant stating the amphibian will not be used on or off-highway.
     
  • The automobile plates (pick up and destroy the plates.)
     
  • Collection of any fees due and issuance to the applicant of an ABCs of California Boating booklet.


The requirements to transfer and convert from dual registration to vehicle only registration are:

  • The properly endorsed California Certificate of Ownership with supporting transfer documents.
     
  • A REG 256 form completed by the applicant stating the amphibian will no longer be used on the waters of this state.
     
  • Instruct the customer to remove the CF number from the amphibian.

Note: When dual registration is converted to one type of registration only, the record will be marked at DMV headquarters, to prevent future billing notices or revenue collection letters.

5.060 Transfer of a Salvaged Vessel

A Salvage Certificate is not issued or required for a salvaged vessel. The basic transfer requirements apply to a vessel salvaged or sold by an insurance company. Process the transfer application as usual, except:

If Then the Requirements Are
The title was previously surrendered to the California DMV
  • An Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) form endorsed for transfer.
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form explaining the title was previously surrendered to DMV.
  • Two transfer fees in addition to any other fees due. A duplicate title fee is not due.
The title is lost or missing
  • An REG 227 form endorsed for transfer.
  • Collect the duplicate title fee and any other fees due.

Note: Within 15 days of a vessel being wrecked, dismantled, destroyed, or abandoned, the California Certificate of Ownership showing the vessel’s disposition must be submitted to DMV.

5.065 Transfer on Death Beneficiary (CVC §§9852.7, 9916.5)

The registered owner of a vessel may designate a transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary to whom ownership of the vessel may be transferred upon death of the owner. The TOD beneficiary is not a registered owner, and the signature or consent of the beneficiary is not required for any transaction involving the vessel during the lifetime of the registered owner.

Only one registered owner and one designated TOD beneficiary can be shown on the vessel title. The TOD beneficiary may be an individual, corporation, trust, partnership, association, or other entity. The fee to add, delete, or change a beneficiary is due in addition to any other fees (see Chapter 3, Vessel Registration Fees and Use Tax).

Transfer of Ownership to Beneficiary

Upon the death of the registered owner, ownership may be transferred to the TOD beneficiary. The requirements are:

  • The vessel title. The beneficiary must sign the name of the registered owner and countersign on Line 1.
  • A REG 256 form completed by the beneficiary, stating the date and place of the owner’s death and that he/she is entitled to the vessel as the designated beneficiary.
  • Ownership may be transferred to another person. The beneficiary must give the buyer the above documents and a bill of sale; two transfer fees are due.

Note: Only one registered owner and one designated TOD beneficiary can be shown on the vessel title.

5.070 Transfer of Repossessed Vessel (CVC §9915)

Basic transfer requirements must be met for a repossessed vessel. In addition, the following are required:

  • Enter the word “repo” on line 1 of the Certificate of Ownership. line 2 must be released by the legal owner of record.
  • Obtain a Certificate of Repossession (REG 119) form from the legal owner, including the bill of sale portion from the legal owner to the dealer.
  • Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) or Bill of Sale (REG 135) form from the dealer to the buyer, unless the vessel is being registered to the dealer.
  • Collect the repossession fee and the transfer fee (see Chapter 3, for fees).
  • Issue a Miscellaneous Receipt and Temporary Certificate of Number (BOAT 103).

5.075 Transfers with Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary (CVC §5909)

The basic transfer requirements apply with Letters of Administration, except:

  • The California Certificate of Ownership must be signed for the deceased owner and counter signed by the administrator or administratrix.
    Example: Lynn Smith, Administratrix of Estate of Richard Roe
  • The original, certified copy, or photocopy (of certified copies) of Letters of Administration must accompany the transfer application. Letters of Administration issued by an out-of-state court are acceptable.

Do not accept appointment papers unless they are certified to be a true copy by a clerk of the court. Any other entries on the documents, such as an “Endorsed” rubber stamp, do not constitute certification and are not acceptable.

The basic transfer requirements apply with Letters Testamentary, except:

  • The California Certificate of Ownership must be signed for the deceased owner and countersigned by the Executor of Executrix.
    Example: Joe Smith, Executor for the Estate of Mary Roe.
  • The original, a certified copy, or a photo copy of the certified copy of the Letters Testamentary must accompany the application for transfer. Letters Testamentary issued by an out-of-state court are acceptable.

5.080 Transfer Without Probate (CVC Code §9916, CPC §13100)

When the value of a decedent’s estate is less than $100,000 (excluding any motor vehicle), an Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate-California Titled Vehicle or Vessels Only (REG 5) form may be completed by the surviving heir, not named on the California Certificate of Ownership, to transfer ownership. Forty days must have elapsed since the date of death before the transfer can be accepted. A REG 5 form is not acceptable if the estate value exceeds $100,000. An estate exceeding $100,000 must be probated and appropriate court documents submitted.

Collect a transfer fee for each transfer (see Chapter 3, for transfer fee). The heir must endorse the California Certificate of Ownership with the deceased owner’s name, countersigned by the heir.

Example:
Registered Owner: John Doe
Release line shows: John Doe by Mary Doe
Signed: John Doe by Mary Doe

5.085 Vessel Lien Sale (CH&NC §§502-509, CCR §192.00)

A lien arises when the registered owner(s) is presented with a written statement of lien (bill) which specifies the charges for completed work, services, and/or storage rendered. The lien may be satisfied by selling the vessel through the lien sale process.

The lien shall not include any personal property in or on the vessel and such property must be given to the registered owner or the owner’s authorized agent upon demand. No lien shall be valid for over $1500 without the written consent of the legal owner.

Before a lien sale may be conducted, the lienholder must, within 60 days of the lien arising, either apply for authorization to conduct a lien sale in accordance with CH&NC §503 or file an action in court. If the lienholder cannot comply, recourse would depend on civil action.

To conduct a lien sale, the person/lienholder must have possession of the vessel and have lien sale authorization from the DMV. Interested parties, including the registered and legal owners of record, will be notified before the sale occurs. To obtain authorization and registration the following forms must be submitted:

  • Application for Lien Sale Authorization and Lienholder’s Certification, Vessel or Vessel/Trailer Valued Over $1,500 (BOAT 152). (A filing fee is required, see Chapter 3.)

Mail the completed form and appropriate fees to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vessel Lien Sales Section MS D143
PO Box 932317
Sacramento, CA 94232-3170

  • Registration Information Request for Lien Sale (INFO 1126) form for vessels valued at $1,500 or less. (A fee is required, see Chapter 3).

The forms listed above for lien sale authorization and information requests may be obtained from the DMV at www.dmv.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-777-0133.

Note: All lien sale notices must specify the make, HIN, license/CF number and state of registration, if available, and the specific date, exact time, and place of sale.

The cost for services may exceed the estimated charges by up to 10 percent.

  • Consent for storage charges in excess of $1,500 is presumed if the legal owner fails to respond to the consent request within 15 days after receipt.
     
  • Consent in all cases is presumed for the 30-day period immediately following the notice.

Applications for vessels valued at $1,500 or less must contain a statement on a licensed yacht and ship broker’s letterhead stating the fair market value of the vessel (this does not apply to police impounds). This statement must be submitted within 30 days of application. If the vessel is valued at $1,501 or more, and the application does not have a California CF number or HIN, a Vessel Verification (BOAT 111) form completed by a licensed vessel verifier or a law enforcement officer must be submitted with the request.

Exception: The estimated value for vessels removed, or arranged for removal, by a public agency must be determined by that agency. If the agency fails or refuses to do so within three days after the removal date, the lienholder or lienholder’s agent must provide it on a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form. (CH&NC§507).

5.090 Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262)

The Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment (REG 262) form serves as a bill of sale, power of attorney, and odometer disclosure. Because odometer disclosure is not required for vessels, the REG 262 or Bill of Sale (REG 135) form may be used (the REG 135 is available on the Internet) when a bill of sale is needed. If the REG 262 form is submitted, the original must company each application.

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