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Discussion Starter #1
I have the opportunity to get a Jon Boat that is in pretty decent shape, and it's FREE. My buddy got the boat several years back from an elderly couple who's son had bought it and left it at their place and passed away shortly after. Meaning the boat is not titled & has never been registered. I heard it is tough getting a boat titled without any paperwork. Anyone know the process? Is it worth it?


The boat also has no trailer and at 14ft I will surely need one. I'm looking at kit trailers (Harbor Freight, northern tool, etc...) to keep expenses low (not putting a cheap alum boat on an expensive trailer). I also hear it is a pain in the rear end to register "homemade trailers / kit trailers" in pa. Anyone know the process on this or have experience in it? And again, is it worth it?
 

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It's a huge pain in the butt but it can be done...you can apply for an abandoned boat title but it had to be abandoned on your property(I'd say your buddy dropping it off in your yard counts but nobody needs to know that) you have to put an ad in the local paper for a few days describing the boat and saying if it's not claimed in 30 days it's yours. Even if it had been titled fish and boat will attemt to contact the previous owner. It takes awhile but can be done.

As for the trailer that's an even bigger pain to do the right way in pa...you used to be able to register a homebuilt In Maine no questions asked for around a hundred bucks and they would send you a 5 year plate and transferable registration. That was a couple years ago

Easiest fastest way....find a junk boat and trailer on Craigslist with good titles and just use them. I know some people might frown on that sort of thing but it's a free country and I don't believe I've ever seen someone check the registration on a jon boat as long as there is a current sticker on it
 

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Bucksbeware

First that is a good deal. Don't pass it up.

I have boats without titles that are registered. If you need a title you can make application. I did everything on line. It was not hard.

I would recommend against building a trailer. I would check the local papers and Craig's List. Once you find one you can adapt it to your boat.
 

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Boats can be owned and sold without a title.

If the boat is already registered in PA or NJ and you want to keep it that way the registration numbers on the boat won't even change.
Just get the people your getting it from to give you a letter saying they are giving it to you AS IS/WHERE IS and you hauled it away for them and you want to register it.
If the boat had a trailer that is harder to register without the title but it can be done.

Check on e-bay or Craig's list for a trailer, for a 14 ft boat you should be able to pick one up cheap.
Good Luck and enjoy your new boat.
 

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To register one of those store "kit" trailers, you'll need the certificate of origin, you need to have it inspected by a station with trailer enhanced license, have four pics of it(the insp sta does that, fill out a special form, get the empty trailer weighed(I just used the shipping weight), and get it all notorized and sent in to HBG, then wait for HBG to issue you a title and plate. you won't be able to use it until they come, probably three to four weeks at least. Local notary services cannot issue the title or plate. Cost will be around $75 to $100 depending on the insp sta fees. I highly suggest just looking on any local classifieds, a local boat dealer, or craigslist for a used trailer. I bought a brand new galvanized trailer for my jon boat for just over $400
 

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First off, there is no such thing as a free horse, car, or boat. LOL


The process to get a title is not that bad. Just call the PAFBC, tell them your situation, and they will tell you what you need to do. Good luck with the new boat!
 

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Personal experience here on the trailer side of things. Never, never, NEVER buy a used trailer without it having a valid title and properly going to the notary and transferring it. Years ago ( Like a complete idiot) I bought a trailer from my father in laws neighbor. What a monumental pain that turned out to be. It almost didn't work out. It turned out he bought it from a woman and they never transferred things. He illegally used a plate from another trailer he had. I had to track that woman down and beg her to meet me at a Notary. Thank God she was understanding and agreed. That easily could have gone South and I would have been out of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info guys!

I ordered a Harbor Freight boat trailer, once it comes the fun of assembling it will start. I was diligently watching Craigslist for a used one but all the ones I found had no titles or anything. I really looked into registering a kit trailer (“homemade”) in PA, no doubt it’s going to be a pain and may take a while, but it’s the most economical option for me. Anyone with firsthand experience with registering one if you can shoot me a PM about it.

As for the boat…apparently the elderly couple the boat originally came from have a title for it, but their not willing to help out and have it transferred to anyone. So not sure how that part is going to play out just yet. I figure I have a little time since the trailer process may be lengthy
 

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I posted the info on registering a kit trailer in my first reply.

If the boat was titled and the original owners won't sign off, you won't be able to register it. You're really getting into a mess. If they're that stern about not signing off, they could also be nasty and report it stolen, then you're in deep doggie-doo
 
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