How to File for a Lost Boat Title in Florida

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A Florida boat owner needs the boat's certificate of title to sell it or transfer a security interest in it. If she has lost or misplaced the title document, she can obtain a duplicate from the county tax collector's office by filling in and submitting form HSMV 82101 and paying the fee.

A boat owner in Florida can consider herself lucky, given the state’s abundant waterways. But she may not feel so fortunate if she loses or misplaces her boat title. A boat title is the official document that proves vehicle ownership, and it’s necessary for the boat owner to have it in hand if she wants to sell the vessel or to use it as collateral for a loan. Fortunately, replacing a boat title is not a very difficult matter in Florida, although fees are involved.

Florida Boat Registration in Florida

Owners have the option of registering their vessel for either one year or two years. The only boats excepted from the registration requirements are boats without motors that are less than 16 feet in length. Any Florida resident who buys a boat has 30 days in which to get it registered at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even Coast Guard vessels must be registered with the state.

The same state agency that registers cars also registers vessels in Florida. The Florida DMV also is responsible for issuing and maintaining boat registration records in Florida. They collect registration fees and hold the boat registration records for 10 years.

Florida Boat Licenses

Owners of registered boats in Florida also must get a Florida boat title. Only those vessels that are Coast Guard documented are exempt from this requirement. These certificates of title are always required before a boat owner can sell, assign or transfer a vessel in Florida. The seller is legally obligated to provide the buyer with a valid, up-to-date certificate of title. This document is also required when the owner is using the vessel as collateral on a loan.

Like an automobile, the title document has a section that must be completed when the title to the boat is transferred or has a lien placed on it. The owner fills it in with the buyer’s or transferee’s information.

Boat titles seem to turn up missing just when the owner is thinking about selling the vessel. When he cannot find the title, he has to jump through hoops to obtain a duplicate title document. It isn’t a very difficult process, but it can be inconvenient and there are fees to pay. Replacement vehicle titles in Florida are processed by county tax collectors.

Replacing a Certificate of Title

A boat owner wishing to replace a Florida certificate of title must obtain Florida form HSMV 82101, called an Application for Duplicate/Lost in Transit/Reassignment for a Motor Vehicle Title Certificate. In addition to filling in her own name and information, the boat owner will have to enter information about the boat: the vessel identification number, make, model, manufacturer, color, Florida registration number and Florida title number.

If a bank or finance company holds a security interest in the boat, the owner completes that information as well as the Application for Duplicate Title. She will need to enter the lienholder’s name, mailing address, date of lien, email address and phone number.

If the title was lost in transit (after being mailed by the DMV to the owner), no cost is involved for a duplicate title. If it was lost or misplaced in some other way, a fee is required that the owner has to pay to a county tax collector or license plate agent. At the time of publication, the required fee for a duplicate electronic title is $75.25.

Submitting the Application

Once the application is completed, the owner can submit it to the local county tax collector’s office. In order to do this, the tax collector’s office will require proof of identity from the owner, such as his driver’s license or state ID card. Once the application is submitted, the office processes it and mails out the duplicate title. This all happens quickly, and the new title is issued within five working days from receipt of the application.

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About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.