How to transfer boat ownership in Australia

If you’re buying or selling a second-hand boat, you’ll need to know how to organise the transfer of ownership from the previous owner to the new one.

Here’s what you need to know.

How it works

In Australia, recreational and commercial boating queries are handled by the Department of Transport within the state you live in.

In most states, any boat with an engine must be registered and sea worthy if it is on the water. This include personal water crafts too.

You can usually organise transfer of ownership at a Transport Centre, or in some cases, online.

Links for transferring boat ownership – states


In Queensland you can transfer a boat’s registration at a Transport and Motoring Customer Service centre. Or, if you’re located regionally, at a QGAP Office, Magistrates Court or a police station, which offers rego services.

Western Australia

In WA, A Boat Transfer Form must be completed by both the seller and the purchaser. The purchaser must then submit the form to the Department of Transport within 15 days of buying the vessel.


In Victoria, any vessel with an engine that is ‘…capable of being used for propulsion…’ needs to be registered. It costs $18.50 to transfer ownership of a vessel or yacht powered by an engine in Victoria. Head here for more on registration requirements.


Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) handles boat registration transfers in Tassie. They require a completed Transfer of Ownership of MotorBoat/ Mooring form, signed by the seller and buyer within 7 days of the transaction. Forms can be found online here.


Buyers in NSW must apply to transfer the boat’s registration up to 14 days from the date of purchase. This can happen in person, at a service centre or registry, or by post. The seller must also complete the back section of the Registered Owner section. Here is all the info you need.

South Australia

Any vessel with an engine needs to be registered in South Australia. This must happen within 14 days of buying the motorboat. Proof ownership is required by the SA Government, including a bill of sale and a completed transfer of registration application. Head here for full details.


Links for transferring boat ownership – territories


If you’re located in the ACT, the NSW Roads and Maritime Services oversees your boat transfers. If you’re the seller, you will have to sign the Registered Owner section of the back of the registration certificate, then give it to the buyer. For full instructions, head here.

Northern Territory

You don’t actually need to register your vessel, if you live in the Northern Territory. However, it’s still vital that you know how to operate your boat safely, and in line with recreational boating standards. Get more information about boating in the NT here.

Is your new boat covered?

Once you’ve organised legal transfer of your boat, consider securing comprehensive cover for it too. That way, you’ll be protected if an accident happens. And, you’ll have peace of mind while enjoying your time on the water.

Contact us to get started and stay safe out there!

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