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Out of state used boat purchase

vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
edited September 2019 in Boat Talk
I'm considering buying a boat that is not in my state, about 8 hours away. I would drive down and trailer it back and in thinking about it I am not sure how that works with plates. I will have to tow in at least three states to get home so I can't just get a single state in-transit plate. Does anyone know how to deal with this?

Addition: This would be private party to private party, no dealers involved.


  • thagerthager Posts: 4,845 Mega Baller
    Just drive!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,138 Mega Baller
    In the states around me so long as you had a signed title and signed bill of sale you would be OK transporting it directly home.
  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 293 Baller
    I thought there was some rule where you get a few days to get something home w/o tags.
    Also confirm w your insurance company that you are covered. I think mine was like 30 days on something new like that.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    I checked and Pennsylvania does not allow transit without plates, even on the date of sale, not sure about Virginia and Maryland.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,358 Mega Baller
    Are you buying from a state where they don't do trailer plates? When I bought my boat from Oregon, the plate stayed on it until I re-registered it in Arizona. Only things I did for the transport other than prepping the boat itself was new trailer tires and insurance.
  • skihackerskihacker Posts: 347 Baller
    I bought 2 boats out of state, first one from a dealer in MI. They were able to give me a temporary trailer plate........that was valid only in michigan. Second time last fall got a prostar out of KY, evidently you aren't required to register trailers in KY so no temp available. Both trips I got insurance ahead of time and threw my old trailer plate on and drove home.
  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 550 Crazy Baller
    If you have a trailer plate from any trailer bring it with and put it on the new trailer for the ride home. Thats what I did when I picked mine up in NC to IL
    2000 Malibu Response LX 2019 65 HO Syndicate Omni Vapor Bindings
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    VA does trailer plates but that would assume the seller is ok with me taking the plates home and sending them back to him when I get here. In both VA and PA, the seller keeps the plates. I know PA offers temporary in-transit plates but that is only for a non-resident of PA who buys a vehicle in PA (they want every $$ then can).
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    I do not have a trailer plate available, this is my first boat and first trailer.
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 358 Solid Baller
    Per above - all good advice. You should be fine driving home with sale documentaiton and any tag on it already. Mine went through 5 states on the way home. No worries
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 358 Solid Baller
    @vtmecheng - you gotta post pics of the purchase. We want to see !
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    @MDB1056 I have not purchased yet. The current status is that I have many pics from the seller and want to get it to a mechanic so the computer can be checked along with a good once over. If that's all good and we can agree on a price, I'll make the trip down. Don't worry, if I pull the trigger pics will be posted.

    I realized that most of the boats I have found were out-of-state so this same question would come up.
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 65 Baller
    edited September 2019
    I just did this between SC and NC. Net, it all depends on the rules of all the states involved. I called both the NC and SC DMVs to figure out the process in my case.

    At the same time, also figure out the rules for transferring the trailer title. It's really important to know the ins and outs of that before you make the purchase. For the SC->NC case, there is no way around getting the trailer titled in SC before you buy the boat. The seller had to do that. SC optionally titles trailers, which is about the worse case scenario. NC will only accept a title from states that optionally titles trailers. For some states, you can have a bill of sale + a bill of sale showing the seller legally bought the trailer, but that won't work SC->NC.

    For the plate, SC issued me a 30 day tag for the trailer in my name. All they needed for that was to see a copy of the bill of sale and proof of insurance. Then I had to get a NC tag issued before the 30 days ran out to be legal in NC.

    The title for the boat is another case. Luckily in my case both SC and NC require boats to be titled. That makes it pretty easy. But this it typically handled by each states Wildlife Resource Commission.

    Some sellers will loan you their plates and some won't. Quite frankly it's a risk for them to do so....
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    @jpwhit that is simply crazy, it's like they don't want us to buy trailers. I did call the PA DMV and they said that I need a tag for the trailer even if it's been purchased that day. That said, they will only issue a temp tag if I have the signed title. I don't exactly want to drive 8 hours to test drive, buy, and bring the title back to PA just to drive back down to get the boat. DMV said to call VA to see what their rules are. I do know that VA requires titling of both the boat and trailer so that's at least good.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    After over an hour on hold I finally got the VA DMV to pick up, the last few posts were made while holding. They require a "trip permit" to be purchased from the DMV for $5. Supposedly anyone could go into a VA DMV and get it for me so long as they have my name and the VIN number of the trailer. Asking someone to go to the DMV is one hell of a request though. I may end up owing my father beer for a long time if this sale goes through.
    I do this with vehicles frequently, LEGALLY, you would need a trip permit for each state that you passed through. Some states will recognize out of state permits, others will not. Would a cop pull you over for something that pathetic, depends, they can be pretty shady. If you want to move it without jumping through all of these hoops, and I don't blame you for a minute, they are foolish revenue grabs and think one size fits all, you get lumped in with commercial vehicles etc... I have on many occasions asked sellers to allow me to use the plate, of course I have my insurance in force when I get there and sign a release of liability to cover the seller, and I overnight the plate back to them. $25 or whatever, money well spent. I would also make sure the trailer gets the once over, I assume you are working on this, you know lights that ALL work, and good tires. A cop would be a lot more likely to want to see documentation if you are bombing down the road with no/few lights or non working directionals.
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    I am going to ask the seller how they feel about letting me borrow the plates. VA doesn't require the plates to be returned to the state but I will send them back if wanted. The liability release is a good idea and I would definitely not trailer it unless everything is working, no reason to ask for trouble. What a pain in the... Hopefully the mechanic won't find anything alarming and we can make this deal go down.
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 517 Crazy Baller
    I agree with @thager

    This ain't that complicated. I have bought a number of used items not one time did the owner take off the plate before I left. That is crazy. The trailer is still plated in where ever you bought it from until you plate it in your home state. Just drive it home and start the registration process then. When I buy something the registration of the previous owner is part of what I am buying until I transfer it.

    The bigger thing is getting insurance. I like to make sure I have coverage on my boat before I drive it home.
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 635 Crazy Baller
    i think some of you are overthinking this. just buy and drive home.
  • bananaronbananaron Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
    I have picked up many boats in many many different states and have never gotten any permit.Just buy and drive and have your paperwork for the purchase obviously with you.Also don't break any traffic laws and you won't be stopped!!
    Ron Engblom Brainerd lakes,minnesota
  • I've never even thought about this stuff. Even if you're pulled over, as long as you have the bill of sale for both boat and trailer, you're fine. Worst thing the cop will do is give you a warning. Hell, I've flown out and driven cars with no plates cross country.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,358 Mega Baller
    Wisconsin doesn't title trailers. Every spring break for about 12 years, my collegiate waterski team and another from a nearby school would tow our boats from WI to GA. Also included was a full equipment trailer. None of them ever had plates. None were ever stopped.

    Buy, drive, enjoy your new boat.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    Spoke with the owner and he's cool with keeping the plates on. Bad part, he bought it 5 years ago for his 14 year old daughter. She was the primary driver that whole time, so I have no idea if she could actually drive an inboard correctly. Only 250 hrs on it and they only put 2 hrs on it this year. Being a believer that using an engine is important to keep things working well, that is a red flag. Also, tires are over 5 years old and there's no spare.
  • Zoro957Zoro957 Posts: 60 Baller
    Buy a spare or 2 new tires! I bought a 3 year old boat and trailer back in 2012. 30 minutes into a 6 hour drive I blew a trailer tire. Not fun. No garages open in Ohio on a Sunday. Good thing for a well stocked WalMart
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    Crazy part is that he bought a true ski boat for his high school daughter to go around the lake a tube a bit. They never skied or wakeboarded behind it. Claims he didn't know the too speed until a few weeks ago because they hadn't opened it up in the 5 years (not sure I buy that one).
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,588 Mega Baller
    Awesome dad
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 635 Crazy Baller
    @UWSkier you went to college for 12 years!!? you have me beat !
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,358 Mega Baller
    I wish I had 12 years of collegiate skiing experience. Best time of my life!

    Sadly, no. My class started the tradition of trucking our stuff down to Georgia my senior year. The team continued that for years. A few of us alums would go each year for the first few years post graduation before life got in the way.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    @Drago no kidding. Wish my dad had the disposable income to buy me a boat in highschool.
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