My boat is stolen?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by auglaizewader, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. i bought a small aluminum boat . The previous owner and I went to the Dept. of Watercraft together. We had to show ID and the whole bit. I thought, and still do, that the guy was completely honest with me.

    Now for the rest of the story...

    As I was getting ready to remove the transducer from the transom, I noticed the HIN number seemed awefully dirty. I cleaned it and noticed that one number was hard to read. Oh crud! A stolen boat? Long story, short... I called the Sheriff's office and reported my findings. They are in the process of investigating the situation.

    My bad, I should know better. I should check, but you know how hindsight is. I might be out one boat.
  2. 2talltim

    2talltim Bubby wanna be

    I'm confused how is a hard to read number synonymous with a stolen boat is there more to this I'm not getting?was it purposely scratched out or the wrong number on the registration?

  3. Wannabitawerm

    Wannabitawerm Flatulent Entreprenuer

    I think if the previous owner had a clean title, you should be safe. They would've known during the title transfer.
  4. boats under either 12 or 14' don't need a title.
  5. I tried to shorten the story too much, I guess. Sorry.

    The boat was Registered at 13' 10''. So no title changes hands.

    "Hard to read" is an understatement. After I cleaned it up, it became clear that a single digit was scratched off. A new number was half-heartedly scratched into its place. Being stolen is the most likely reason, I could come up with, to change a HIN number.

    The numbers on the plate do not match those on the registration. Two digits are incorrect (one is scratched off). The boat cannot be sold or used again until the matter is cleared up. The deputy has been very nice, and his thoughts were the same as mine (stolen).

    I drilled the rivets out of the HIN for him, and he took the plate to try to determine the original digit. Apparently, the manufacturer told the deputy where to look for the second hidden HIN plate. After removing several pieces, we discovered that the hidden plate was missing.

    I hope this is all a big SNAFU, but I am prepared to lose the boat if it is stolen. Hope I was clearer this time.
  6. have fun with them checkin on it. they came and checked my boats hin number last week and i cant get a phone call back to see whats goin on with it. so i cant take my boat out or anything they even took my registration. it sucks
  7. So I have been without a usable boat for 3 months now. Watercraft is investigating, and will not allow the boat to be used.

    Here is an update to the story.

    The boat doesn't appear to be stolen. Good news. Kind of.

    Watercraft has tracked the boat by using the original HIN number. The boat is not under 14' as my registration indicated. It is over 14' , and it needs a title. Of course, I don't have it and neither did the last people who registered this boat in OHIO. Somewhere in the last 5 owners, somebody jumped title. They are working through each of the former owners, to ensure it was not stolen. I sure wish that people would have kept the title and paid the tax at each transfer.

    I call every week for an update to all 3 of my contacts in Watercraft. This will at least keep my file near the top of the pile.

    I am starting to see the writing on the wall. This boat may never be mine again. What a mess. Watercraft is working on it, but this is taking forever. If the boat can't be successfully tracked through all the former owners, then the boat may end up as scrap. I am the good guy here. I took the initiative to turn in a possible stolen boat. For my honesty, I have received a lack of fishing and a loss of money. I wouldn't mind that if the boat was stolen and was being returned the rightful owner!

    I learned a big lesson. Never trust anyone in a purchase. They may not even know they are dealing you a rotten hand. Be diligent in researching a boat. I will not make this mistake again. I may never even buy another boat. What a load!!!
  8. Fish2day

    Fish2day member

    Have you checked to see if there is any way to obtain a replacement title based on "abandoned" or "salvaged" boat? Seems you should be entitled to collect a storage fee even though you have no record of a true owner. Storage lots and salvage companies do it somehow. Might be worth a call to a lawyer.
  9. I would think if they can't determine if it's stolen or not..that they would give you the benefit of the doubt and let you keep it on a salvage title or something...........right??
  10. Fish2day = Titles can be obtained through Watercraft for abandoned boats. The process is long and includes an advertised public auction. At least that is what i've heard from someone who went through it. Collect money FROM the State? I wish. I had the same thought. It didn't work, but I stuck to the principle.

    I told them to come get their boat off of my property. If I can't use it, then I'm not storing it. (it's an all aluminum boat, so a little time in storage won't hurt it). We'll see. I know, I know, I may regret that.

    Skarfer - I am hoping for that to happen. Watercraft can manufacture new HIN plates, and will if the situation is figure out. The real problem is the lack of title. If the title can't be traced through all owners, then the Chief CAN destroy the old and recommend a new title be issued in my name. I don't if she will, but she CAN. She has the power.

    Now it is just a waiting game. It is killing me!
  11. viper1

    viper1 Senior Member

    I would think it would be simple. Trace the hin plate back to last know owner and find out who and why the title wasn't changed the right way.
  12. Dealing with the state is not always easy.

    A long time ago I sold a car we went to a notary did the deal
    and I thought it was done.The guy I sold it to did not
    have the title transfered into his name. He put a bad plate
    on it and racked up several hundred dollars of parking tickets
    on the car and then left it for dead.
    Over a year later I get a letter from the state telling me that my
    license was going to be revoked if I did not pay the tickets,
    towing and storage.(car traced to me from the vin#)
    It took quite a while to straighten out, the tickets were reduced
    not tossed out the tow company kept the car and dropped thier
    fee.It ended up costing me about what I sold the car for and alot
    of my time to prove I didn't get those tickets.
    Lesson learned: Don't trust anyone.If I sell anything with a title
    go to the court house and be sure it's out of my name.

    I know this is different than your case but I got no help at all
    from the state they did not have to prove me guilty I had to
    prove them wrong and I still payed in the end.
  13. Watercraft has been pretty good. The process is way too slow. My only real complaint was a lack of returning phone calls, and that has been addressed with a supervisor.

    I wrote a letter to the Chief last night. Maybe that will help. I'll call every week. I will just be the squeaky wheel, until someone either gets out the grease gun (or flattens my tire).
  14. Another way (other then courthouse etc.) would be to draw up a bill of sale with all appropriate information (yr make model vin# price etc) and take with you to the notary. It may cost you a few extra bucks but that signed and notarized bill of sale could possibly save you some time and money in the future. HAVE NOT LOOKED INTO THIS LEGALLY JUST MY THOUGHTS!!!

  15. Clayton

    Clayton Fly guy

    heh, this may be a bad time, but I've got a boat for sale... and it's legit! :) lol.