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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: State boating division to require notarized bill of sale for transfer of vessel registration

Posted on Jun 9, 2016 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU  —   Beginning on July 1, 2016, all vessel registration transfers in the State of Hawai‘i will require a notarized bill of sale to be presented to registering agency the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

Presently, DOBOR needs to match a vessel owner’s signature on record with the signature on a bill of sale in order to approve a vessel registration transfer.  This method can be inaccurate since an individual ‘s official signature may change over time. It also puts a burden on the buyer if DOBOR staff cannot authenticate a signature on a bill of sale.  If that should happen the transfer request would be denied and the buyer would have to go through the process of securing a notarized bill of sale.

Often, the seller of a vessel will have changed residence or may have left the state and cannot be contacted, causing a lengthy delay in the transfer process.

“This new requirement will help DLNR provide better customer service to boaters. It helps us promise for the vast majority of our customers that transfers won’t be declined or delayed,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR Director,

On average between 2,200-2,600 transactions per year are registered annually in the state. Notarized bills of sale will not only reduce work for the vessel owners and DOBOR.  They will allow for more secure vessel registration transfers.

State boating administrator Ed Underwood adds, “We are also concerned about preventing vessel theft through fraudulent bills of sale. It is rare for DOBOR to encounter forged signatures, but it has happened several times over the last few years.”

A standardized bill of sale form is already available that includes a section for a notary’s signature. That form can be accessed at on the DOBOR web site.

Even if a bill of sale is not executed using the official DOBOR form it will still be accepted at the time of transfer, so long as the signature of the seller on the bill of sale is notarized.

For further information, boaters may contact Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) Vessel Registration at 808-587-1970.

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Media Contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Communications specialist

Phone: (808) 587-0320