What Are the Laws in Massachusetts on Claiming an Abandoned Boat Without Paying Anything?


Quick Answer

Massachusetts laws on claiming an abandoned boat were changed by a bill sponsored by State Representative Anthony Verga in 2008, as reported in Mass.Harbormasters.org. The law, Title XIV, Chapter 91, Section 40, eliminates high costs and legal processes previously required when dealing with derelict boats. It is posted on MaLegislature.gov.

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Full Answer

Links to abandoned boat information, and the lists of the steps in the process of obtaining title to an abandoned boat, are posted on MarineTitle.com, under the heading Massachusetts Boat Registration Resources.

Most of the steps to obtain title to an abandoned boat are the same for marina owners and the general public. The Office of Law Enforcement regulations must be carefully followed. The first step is to submit a Request For File Search in order to find the owner of the boat. If the file search determines that the boat is not stolen, the person seeking to obtain the title to the boat has to notify the owner and any creditors or lien holders, by certified mail. If there is no answer from the owner, a notice concerning the proposed claim to the boat's title must be published in a local newspaper for three days. If the boat is still unclaimed after 90 days, it is legal to request the title. There is a $25 fee for the title application.

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