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Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

myBMV > Watercraft > Titles Titles

In Indiana, all watercraft must be titled except for the following:

  • Watercraft purchased prior to January 1, 1986 until after the watercraft is transferred to another person.  If ownership has transferred since January 1, 1986 the new owner must title the watercraft (unless the watercraft is exempt from titling for another reason).
  • A ship’s lifeboat.
  • Non-motorized watercraft of any value.
  • Watercraft valued at less than $3,000 when new.
  • Assembled watercraft of any value built for personal use and not for resale.
  • Watercraft documented with the United States Coast Guard.
  • Watercraft legally registered by an out-of-state resident temporarily operating on Indiana waters for less than sixty (60) consecutive days.

When a watercraft is required to be titled, the title must be applied for within thirty-one (31) days from the date of purchase or transfer.   If you are buying a watercraft, ensure that the seller has signed the appropriate section on the watercraft title, completed the purchase date and selling price fields, and filled in your information as the watercraft purchaser. 

You must present one (1) proof of your Indiana residency when titling the watercraft.  If your address has changed, you must present two (2) proofs of Indiana residency. 

If you do not have a valid Indiana driver's license, learner's permit, or identification card you must also present proof of your Social Security number or I-94 and Social Security Administration ineligibility letter. 

Watercraft titles may be processed at any BMV license branch location.

Indiana Sales Tax

Indiana's sales tax is seven percent (7%) on any newly-purchased watercraft.  If a watercraft is purchased from a dealership, the dealer will collect the sales tax.  If a watercraft is sold privately, the sales tax must be paid at a license branch when the purchaser titles the watercraft.

Titling a Watercraft from Out-of-State Title

Watercraft Inspection Requirement
Any watercraft being titled in Indiana from another state, including watercraft owned by new Indiana residents and watercraft assigned to an Indiana resident on a manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, must receive a watercraft inspection. The inspection will confirm the watercraft’s Hull Identification Number (HIN).  This inspection may be done at any Indiana license branch at no charge or may be completed by a police officer who may charge up to five dollars ($5). The officer must fill out a form named Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft - State Form 39530 when completing a watercraft inspection.

Sales/Use Tax
Indiana residents who purchase a watercraft from another state and pay more than Indiana’s seven percent (7%) sales tax will receive credit from Indiana for taxes paid in that other state. If you paid less than seven percent (7%) sales tax when you purchased your watercraft in another state, you will present proof of this and will pay the difference to Indiana.  New Indiana residents who have titled their watercraft in another state do not have to pay sales tax when they title their watercraft in Indiana.

New Indiana Residents
If there is a lien on your out-of-state watercraft and the watercraft’s title is being held by the lienholder, the license branch will assist you in completing a Request for Out-of-State Title to Perfect a Lien - State Form 1014 which will then be sent to your watercraft's lienholder informing them that you are applying for an Indiana title.  Once the lienholder sends the title to the BMV, the BMV will contact you and ask that you return to the license branch to complete your application for the Indiana title.

Ordering Replacement Titles

A replacement Indiana title may be purchased using any of the options listed below.  You must provide an unexpired photo ID (driver's license; state-issued ID; school; military; bank card; passport; probation card; work ID; membership card):

Speed title service is not available for watercraft. 

Adding or Removing Names on a Title

You may add another name to a title in order to establish joint ownership of a watercraft. You may also remove names from a title with proper documentation.

Adding a Name to a Title
To add another name to the title of a watercraft in order to establish joint ownership, owners must apply for a new title by completing an Application for Certificate of Watercraft Title - State Form 38529 and return the form to a license branch.

The current owner of the watercraft fills in the purchaser's section of the title with his or her own information as well as the information of the individual whose name is being added to the title. The current owner of the watercraft and the person whose name is being added to the title must sign the title application at a license branch; however, one of the individuals may give the other power of attorney to sign the title application in his or her name at the license branch. Power of attorney must be granted by completing a Power of Attorney - State Form 1940.

The watercraft's registration must also be changed at the license branch to reflect the new title.

Removing a Name from a Title
To remove a name from a title, the person whose name is being removed fills in the seller's section of the title as if he or she were selling the watercraft. The remaining owner must then visit a license branch with the completed title to apply for a new title in his or her name only.  The watercraft's registration must also be changed at the license branch to reflect the new title.

Paying Off a Lien

If you have paid off a loan used to purchase a watercraft and have received a lien release from your watercraft’s lienholder, you need to amend the Indiana title to remove the lien.  Visit any license branch with your lien release to apply for a new title.

Court Order Title Applications

Abandoned Watercraft Title Application

Municipal and Law Enforcement Watercraft Title and Registration Application