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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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I am looking for the last owner of a boat being sold me from

Customer Question

I am looking for the last owner of a boat being sold me from a storage yard. They offer no paperwork and as-is. I want to know the last registered owner for registration purposes. The registration number is CF 7250 ER
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 5 years ago.
There are a few ways to find the owner of a boat using its HIN(hull identification number), the marine equivalent to a car or truck's VIN. You should be able to cross reference the registration your local DMV to find the HIN.

There are a few ways you can find the owner of a boat that is presumably abandoned.

The most common, relatively easy ways to find this are as follows:

1. Take the HIN and contact your local sheriffs office to file a lost property report. They will do their best to contact the owner of a "lost" boat which may or may not have abandoned. In states like Florida where abandoned boats are somewhat common this may take a little bit - in any case you may end up with a boat that is in fact abandoned and able for retitledment. They may or may not be able to give you information to be carried into the next step to contact the boat owner if it was lost or stolen.

2. (taking any information from step 1) Contacting a local DMV or Fish and Game department(assuming it may have been a fishing vessel) are 2 other similar options.

Boat ownership is considered public record so requesting information is possible but beware you may be charged a fee, similar to other information requests from a DMV. It it is an issue of being retitled in your name or claiming an abandoned boat the DMV will inform of the steps you must take if you want the boat, generally a 30-90 day process involving communication with the most recent owner.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All you're telling me is to ask someone else. I already know I can stand in long lines at DMV and I already called the Sheriff, who said they can't release any owner information or even look it up.
$10 for this?
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 5 years ago.
My apologies for the confusion. My intention was to provide an answer to your request of wanting "to know the last registered owner for registration purposes". This requires a specific protocol and requires the HIN.

The purpose of contacting the sherriff is not to find the information but to either report the boat stolen or to see if it was reported stolen. They then do a roughly 30 day long attempt to contact the owner if it is or isn't

Approaching the actual DMV after finding the boat not stolen to find the registered owner's information with a small fee usually 20 dollars is the next step. This step is taken to ensure all reasonable efforts are exhausted(in the case of abandoned boats) before re-titling a boat to a new owner. The DMV will not simply hand over a boat to another person in the event it was stolen or the owner was ill(or something of those circumstances)

Unfortunately this is considered proper protocol as the actual, local DMV is the only place you will find the prior boat owner's information because while it is public record, it is not simply handed out on simple request - there has to be a relatively good reason.

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