Giving away a boat is easy.
Getting the dock slip etc taken care of is not easy. It's different every time.
Every step has to happen before any other step can take place.
Kind of like a hostage/guns/drug deal in the movies but slower and with more paperwork, and not happening in a parking lot at night with machineguns and cursing:
YOU LOAN THE NEW OWNER YOUR KEY
Otherwise they'll have a boat but no way to get to it till the rest of the process is completed.
YOU GIVE UP THE DOCK SPACE:
The marina slip where the boat is parked is rented for a specific boat.
You can't park a different boat there and you can't transfer the slip to someone else.
So you give the marina notice you're moving out by signing a "letter of evacuation". If it's after the first of the month you have to pay for that month and give them letter for the next month.
It costs money to give away a boat. If the new owner disappears and leaves the boat there while the slip is in your name you're stuck with having to deal with it.
NEW OWNER APPLIES FOR DOCK SPACE:
To do that they need to have the boat registered to them and insured. To do that they need the address of where the boat will be kept. Fortunately the insurance company and registry don't ask for proof of address, so the new owner fills out the form with the address he HOPES the boat will be allowed. If the new owners are a group of people they'll need to figure out whose name(s) to use all these forms.
NEW OWNER SUPPLIES PROOF OF INCOME TO THE MARINA:
They like to grope around in your butthole when you apply just to make sure it's clean and tidy up there. You are outraged of course because boats are supposed to be fun and this isn't. Don't worry. They just like it if your application is really thick and took a lot of trouble to prepare. You'll have to make several trips to the office to get it all straight. They just want to see if you'll do what they ask and be the sort of person who pays rent. Don't worry.
After you get in there are they won't have time to keep track of you. There are 400 boats in this marina and one harbormaster.
NEW OWNER SUBMITS TO RANDOM DEMAND BY THE MARINA:
Every time they dream up new requirements that didn't exist before. The application process can never be the same.
Maybe you'll have to submit a "survey" which means paying $500+ to a marine surveyor to crawl around your boat stabbing it with a screwdriver, then write an elaborate report listing everything about your boat. Kind of nice to have in your files, but jeez. It's a fricking free boat!
NEW OWNER INSURES THE BOAT
If it's a weird boat this might be difficult. Lots of insurance websites lure you to fill out tons of forms online only to decline to cover your type of boat.
I've had good luck with progressivedirect.com
The marina will ask to be named as "additional insured" and their parent company as well.
OLD OWNER CANCELS INSURANCE;
If the new owner doesn't actually get registration and insurance you might be liable for accidents.
OLD OWNER SIGNS TITLE OVER TO NEW OWNER:
If they vanish now you're in title limbo and stuck with a hassle. Write up bills of sale and exchange solemn vows of squareness and mormonism.
NEW OWNER REGISTERS THE BOAT
We hope. The state doesn't care if you have a driver's license! They don't care where you actually live! But the DMV will make mistakes and earn their reputation again and again.
Shannon somehow got it all straightened out and legal and it's smooth sailing now....
What happens next? Continued at Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:Chapter 1: How to Get a Free YachtChapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free YachtChapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other TrixChapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates FootChapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free YachtChapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.Chapter 8: Celebrate FreedomChapter 9: Technicolor DreamboatChapter 10: Privateer KnotChapter 11: Dismasted!Chapter 12: Kiteboat!Chapter 13: Mast Raising