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Thread: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

  1. #1
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    Red face Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Hi All,

    I recently completed a 17' Tillamook for use here in SE Washington State, and have also registered it. But the local DOL office required me to sign an affidavit stating that because it's home built, I would have to wait three years for a title.

    So far I've found nothing in the WAC that deals specifically with getting a title generated for a home made/home built boat; but plenty regarding motor vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) where the title has been lost, etc.

    I'm certain I'm not the first to ask this question: What is the process for proving I built my boat, own it, and for getting a legal title generated for it? I've photo documented, both here on the forum, as well as with friends.

    Thanks,
    -Vern
    Kennewick, WA.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    All I had to do for my wee speedboat was show receipts for some plywood and epoxy.
    I think they are confused , as if the homemade boat was a homemade trailer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Quote Originally Posted by EclecticNeophyte View Post
    Hi All,

    I recently completed a 17' Tillamook for use here in SE Washington State, and have also registered it. But the local DOL office required me to sign an affidavit stating that because it's home built, I would have to wait three years for a title.

    So far I've found nothing in the WAC that deals specifically with getting a title generated for a home made/home built boat; but plenty regarding motor vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) where the title has been lost, etc.

    I'm certain I'm not the first to ask this question: What is the process for proving I built my boat, own it, and for getting a legal title generated for it? I've photo documented, both here on the forum, as well as with friends.

    Thanks,
    -Vern
    Kennewick, WA.
    Yeah, that's weird. Sounds like you found a DOL that never deals with homebuilt boats that need to be titled. My experience was the same as wizbang's. I'm in Ballard and they had a pretty good idea of what needed to happen to license my Hvalsoe 18. I needed receipts that showed I paid tax for the materials used to build my boat. I went down there with a pretty thick envelope full of receipts. They got annoyed at me because I didn't bring photocopies of the receipts, and they had to copy the pile themselves. My guess is that they deal with guys like us quite often. I'd consider escalating to the main Washington State DOL in Olympia.

    It looks like there's a customer support team in Olympia ... http://www.dol.wa.gov/contact.html

    Also this thread has some useful info on the topic ... http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-in-Washington
    Last edited by Yeadon; 06-03-2018 at 12:22 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    My experience was the same, walk in with receipts, walk out with registration and title coming in the mail for both my boat and home built trailer. I did have to get the trailer inspected by WSP, they issued and attached a VIN on the spot though which I then took to my local DOL.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    What's funny is that I've purchased trailers in various states of quality, from sorta old to brand new, and I've never been directed to have anything inspected by the WSP. Are you guys trying to suggest that our government doesn't offer a consistent and generally stellar customer experience?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    As stated above, go to another DOL office. A friend bought a Poulsbo boat from a widow in Oregon and had problems getting it registered/titled. He went to the Ballard office and had no problem.

    When the clerk hits an unfamiliar issue, the fall back position is "it can't be done."
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    I don't think they deal with this sort of thing a lot, but one of the ladies in the office took control of the situation. She brought out a number of forms, and seemed to know what's what, so I didn't question anything. Within about 20 minutes, I had the hull registration numbers, HIN and tabs for this year...everything except the title. I realize that it takes time for a title, so it's possible I suppose that it is simply in the works and just hasn't arrived yet (I registered the boat about three weeks ago). It was the whole 'wait three years for a title' thing that confused me. I'll reach out to the customer service folks in Olympia to see if it was a mistake, or if not, what I need to do to move it along...

    Thanks again for all the assistance/advice on this as I really had no idea. I know from past experience with a GB 32 ownership transfer, that the local DOL isn't up to speed on marine issues... That boat had a CG documented hull, and local DOL had no clue how to help me with transferring it from the prior owner (to me), registration, etc without a title.

    -Vern
    Kennewick, WA

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    What's funny is that I've purchased trailers in various states of quality, from sorta old to brand new, and I've never been directed to have anything inspected by the WSP. Are you guys trying to suggest that our government doesn't offer a consistent and generally stellar customer experience?
    I think WSP is tasked with issuing VINs for homebuilt terrestrial vehicles. When I moved here in 1997 from Chicago I had to take all my cars and motorcycles to get WSP "inspected" but as I recall all they really did was make sure the numbers on my out-of-state titles matched those on the vehicles.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Yeah, that's weird. Sounds like you found a DOL that never deals with homebuilt boats that need to be titled. My experience was the same as wizbang's. I'm in Ballard and they had a pretty good idea of what needed to happen to license my Hvalsoe 18. I needed receipts that showed I paid tax for the materials used to build my boat. I went down there with a pretty thick envelope full of receipts. They got annoyed at me because I didn't bring photocopies of the receipts, and they had to copy the pile themselves. My guess is that they deal with guys like us quite often. I'd consider escalating to the main Washington State DOL in Olympia.

    It looks like there's a customer support team in Olympia ... http://www.dol.wa.gov/contact.html

    Also this thread has some useful info on the topic ... http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-in-Washington
    I just emailed to CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov . With any luck I'll get a helpful response...

    -Vern

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Vern, I would call the Ballard DOL at (206) 781-0199. Like Yeadon, I have always received helpful and knowledgeable service from them. I will say that the no title status isn't really an issue unless you plan to sell the boat before the three year period is up - and maybe not even then. I bought an Avon inflatable without a title once. I'm pretty sure it never had one as it was never registered. DOL issued registration with "ownership in doubt" just as with your boat. I had it for over a decade. Never bothered to actually get the title. (They are supposed to issue one automatically once the waiting period expires but I suspect that you have to remind them). Sold it to a friend last year with an affidavit in lieu of title. All transactions were through Ballard DOL. Zero hassle at any time.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    If your boat is stolen and you have no title you will have a harder time proving it is yours, if it is discovered.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    I bought a Dovekie with no paper work that Vt. was glad to register for me. I was then scolded by a MA environmental officer at a launching ramp for registering in Vt. So this year I tackled getting it transferred to a MA registration. The problems occurred when I tried to fill out the forms and eventually was directed to a "tax exemption" form (since I already paid VT the sales tax). The form insisted on knowing who I bought it from, or it wouldn't go any further. I called the MA Environmental Police and the guy there said I had to fill in someone's name in the blank, though he "couldn't tell me what to write, nudge nudge, wink wink." Since I"d lost the original guy's info, I "bought it" from an old girlfriend of mine who lived in Newfane for a while. The form checks to see if it can find that name and address and if it can, it comes back with "Verified"--at which point your exemption is complete.

    So, my point is—Bureaucracies, amiright? Since they're inflexible, you have to be flexible.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Update:

    I finally got the answer I was hoping for, and some here suggested was the case. Local DOL simply didn't fully understand the correct process (hey, they did get most of it right). The response from DOL in Olympia, was that a title should have been processed, which is what they are doing now, after rectifying whatever wasn't correct on their end. So according to the CS agent, it will still be 6 to 8 weeks...way better than 3 years!

    At the time I registered the boat, I asked local DOL agent if they saw many of these sorts of requests; to which she replied "a few". Obviously 'a few' isn't enough for them to remain fully up to speed...

    Anyway, problem solved (for now), and the answer seems pretty clear: no 3 year waiting period for a title on a home made boat.

    -Vern

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Washington State - title for the boat I just build: "Ownership in Doubt"

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    If your boat is stolen and you have no title you will have a harder time proving it is yours, if it is discovered.

    Kevin
    In the event of my untimely demise (heaven forbid, as I still have a lot of beer to drink), my survivors (i.e., wife) would also have a much easier time dealing with any ownership issues. She appears to like the boat, so I'm guessing she would likely hand it over to one of our two sons rather than sell it. But either way, the title would ease the transition. We've been through some of this helping our respective surviving parents deal with the same issues, and it's an uncomfortable mess. I can only imagine how much more painful it would have been without proof of ownership of a vehicle/RV/boat.

    -Vern
    Last edited by EclecticNeophyte; 06-08-2018 at 12:15 PM.

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