Your Guide to a Charitable Boat Donation: All Things You Need to Consider When Donating Your Boat or Vessel to Charity

Are you considering donating your boat, yacht, or PWC (Personal Watercraft) in the best and most beneficial way possible? Do you want to avoid any possible issues and have the best financial outcome available? Here’s your guide on how to donate any boat to a nonprofit and benefit from the tax deduction that comes with it.

1. Stop Paying Maintenance, Insurance, Taxes & Slip Fees immediately!
2. Find the best charitable organization that fits your giving needs.
3. Get an idea of how a charity might use Your Boat Donation For and how that can benefit you.
4. Understand the Kind of Tax Deduction You can receive from a charity boat donation.
5. Assess the difference between Charitable Organizations that have experience with these types of maritime donations and others that do not.
6. Compare between Local vs Larger Charitable Organizations
7. Protect yourself against Liability with proper documentation.
8. How The Giving Center and Charity Boats Can Help you.
9. Learn how to resolve issues regarding any missing Paperwork

Boats are terrific things. The feelings you get of outright leisure and excitement when you are out on the water has many benefits to the soul. Well what about when you are not using your boat? If you could use it to save a life, would you do it? Let’s face it, the costs of storage in marinas, or leaving your boat outside exposed to elements of the waters can leave a strain on your wallet as well as your mind. As concern rises over transferring invasive species, it becomes even more complicated to take your boat anywhere you want to these days. This has left so many owners to look into donating boats to charity.

So how about doing something amazing with it? Throughout the years, donating boats to charity has become a great way to make an impact in the world. Additionally it will also qualify for a tax deduction. That boat just sitting around can actually help make life better for children and can save you money on insuring a boat that never gets used. It is a win-win! While all this is nice, if this is not your first time, you will probably already know how to donate a boat. However, if you are considering donating for your first, there are some things to know. Throughout the years, boat donation has become increasingly confusing, and this partially is down due to changes in the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) tax laws governing charitable donations. Gifting your boat to a nonprofit charity can be a remarkable gift used to help others. However, if not done correctly, it can turn into confusion and financial mess. Let’s look at a breakdown on how to donate a boat, and bring you a step closer to help others.


When you first donate your boat, you have to make sure costs are immediately stopped. When you donate to a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you are no longer obligated to pay operating costs attached to the boat itself. That is of course, after the appraisal is done and you are provided with a major gift receipt from the charity itself. It’s time to say adios to the costs of operating, crew, dockage, insurance, maintenance, and anything else your boat would have otherwise swiped out of your wallet.


Finding an appropriate charitable organization to donate your boat to is the most important component you have to consider before doing anything. Selecting the right nonprofit is fundamental. Your first step should be to ensure the charity you selected is qualified. You can ask this question during your search and most will should be able to answer it. However, in the event that they do not know, you can quickly verify the IRS publication 78. During your search for a qualified organization, you can try to go for charities that are normally engaged in activities that actually help people.

Before beginning your journey in boat donation, you need to ensure that the usage will be properly logged, and that they will make those logs available to you in the event that the IRS audits your claimed deduction. In this event, it can be very useful to you if you are able to provide logs that authenticate the charity’s usage. When you donate your boat, the charity must provide you with a 1098-C form and a written acknowledgement, within thirty days of the donation. This is an integral part of claiming market value. The 1098-C form indicates the vessel will not be sold prior to significant intervening use or material improvement. When donating boats to charity, it can provide you with great satisfaction. It helps you support a cause you are passionate about, and it can also be a good source of support for a nonprofit while it is in use, or later on when they manage to sell it. To find out more on everything needed in order to donate your boat to charity and the tax deductions involved, click here for more information directly from the IRS themselves.


As briefly mentioned above, charities may utilize your boat donation for things in service, or they can sell it for cash. When done right and ethically, the charity that sells donated boats for cash can truly help in a wide variety of ways. However, donating boats to charity for in-service use can also be advantageous.
Let’s take a look at what both do so your are able to make a more informed decision when choosing your go-to nonprofit

See what Giving Center and Charity Boats will use your donation for here!


In order to maximize any tax deductions you may take, it is vital to claim the ‘’fair market value’’ of your boat. To do so, you can obtain an appraisal from a certified marine surveyor or appraiser. They are usually moderated by the listing or selling prices of other boats in comparison. When doing so, ensure you the surveyor know of any modifications, additions, or equipment replacements that may substantiate an increased valuation. For any boat donation appraised over $5000, the IRS states that an appraisal is required. Furthermore, The IRS requires the charity to label the boat as ‘’significant intervening use’’ in their regularly conducted activities. If not, it will be liquidated by the nonprofit in less than 3 years from the date of donation. This means that the IRS could restrict your deduction to the amount the charity can receive for the boat donation.


If you are not familiar with the term, a third-party fundraiser is when a nonprofit relies on its supporters, businesses, and community members in order to create fundraising campaigns that benefit particular nonprofits. They can come in the form of businesses donating a portion of the proceeds of their sales, restaurant nights, and many other variations of the two. According to a recent report 89% of donors said they would be more inclined to donate when working directly with a nonprofit charity. However, only 19% stated they would be likely to donate by using third-party fundraising platforms. Issues concerning honesty and transparency have for some time been considered barriers to giving. When you provide a donor journey that is seamless through a dedicated website, not only can you attract more donations, but you can also increase the volume of giving. Due to this, almost half of the donors reported they would donate generously when working directly with the charity themselves.


If you are looking to donate to a local organization because you want to participate in local impact and protect your community, then that is wonderful! The only obstacle is, that local organizations really struggle with something as big as a boat donation. Because of this, the local organizations end up having to outsource to a donation broker, which typically results in getting less than 25% of the donation, and if they move it quickly, it will reduce your tax deduction. A national organization on the other hand has the capabilities to handle it, you just need to look into their procedures.


Generally speaking, state charity officials advise the donor take responsibility for transfer of the title to ensure that the vehicle has in fact been donated. You will need to ensure you receive the release of liability which applies in your residing state. In most states, this process involves completing a form which states that your vehicle has been donated. The objective is to assure you are not liable for anything after donating your boat.


We at Giving Center are not a for-profit middleman or third-party donation site – we are the direct charity organization. We center our efforts on housing, water projects, education, mentoring youth at risk, and work with schools to prevent exploitation, human trafficking, and suicide. We help you in making your boat donation smooth and hassle free.

Whether you are seeking to donate your boat, ski/wakeboard, yacht, jet ski, fishing boat, or sailboat, you are able to use the proceeds from the sale to benefit, while benefiting others. The process is a breeze and your tax deduction is the cherry on top. A boat donation can happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is time to make new memories out on the water with something bigger, smaller, or just different. Or your initial purchase was completed during a wave of enthusiasm, and the thrill is long gone. Regardless of the reason, if you are looking to enrich the lives of others with something that you just do not use anymore, contact our team and ask for a call back to take the first step in your journey to creating a better life for yourself and the less fortunate.


Not having the necessary documents can incur a few snags, but nothing you cannot handle. If you happen to be missing any documents, the best thing to do is try to check in with your local DMV about cars, boats, RV’s, and any other vehicle applicable. If a charity has a dealers license, that can be very helpful, you can also ask if they will reimburse any fees.


First, check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles (or whichever agency overlooks boat sales) to determine what documentation you need to provide the buyer. Most agencies will have a checklist on their website available.


The bill of sale must include a description and hull number, date of purchase, price, and both buyer and seller signatures. Generally the seller creates this as a simple document, but there are automobile templates available online that can be easily tailored for boats.


Titles are issued by state, and a new one is created every time a boat is transferred ownership. If you have an outstanding loan on your boat, the title will include that information and the buyer will not be able to register the boat until the loan is cleared. Verify with your lienholder to see what documentation will be provided and how much lead time is needed; you may need to pay off the loan first.


Warranty cards, maintenance records, and any other paperwork should also be submitted at the final sale. And once the deal is complete, ensure you terminate your insurance policy. Some insurance companies will allow you to date the cancellation back to the actual day of sale, even if you cancel a few days after the sale


If the boat is on a trailer, your state might need require additional documents. You may also have to handle the registration separately. Again, the state agency regulating boat sales should have a checklist with this information available. With a little planning and organization, submitting documentation to finalize a boat sale is only slightly more than a formality. Best of all, it is the last step before handing the boat over


Boat Sales Documents Required To Finalize The Boat Sale.

Courtesy Paperwork: Warranty cards and Maintenance records..

After The Sale: Terminate Insurance Policy and Remove all ads

Boat Registrations in USA - How And Where To Register Your Boat

How and where to register your boat varies greatly by state. Here is a state-by-state guide. How and where to register your boat varies greatly by state. In general, dealers will usually deal with registering a new boat, while it will be up to you to register a boat you purchased from a previous owner. Unlike cars, not every state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) overlooks boats. It may be a states park, tax commission, natural resources, or fisheries and wildlife department that supervises boat registration. If you are purchasing a new boat through a dealer, they will usually complete the registration process for you upon purchase. Boat registration in some states may be covered by the DMV, but that may not always be the case. In fact, the agency handling boat registration varies from state to state.

Find Out What Agency Is Responsible For Boat Registrations By State

StateResponsible AgencyHow to ApplyCredit CardURL
AlabamaAlabama Law Enforcement AgencyIn person/by mailNo
AlaskaAlaska DMVPrintable online formYes
ArizonaAZ Game & FishIn person/by mail
ArkansasArkansas DFAIn person/by mailNo
CaliforniaDept. of Motor Vehicles
In person/by mail
ColoradoParks and WildlifePrintable online formNo
ConnecticutDEEPRequest form onlineNo
DelawareDept. of Natural ResourcesIn person/by mailNo
FloridaFLHSMVPrintable online form
GeorgiaDept. of Natural ResourcesOnline formYes
HawaiiDept.of Land & Natural ResourcesIn person/by mail
IdahoDept. of Parks & RecreationIn person/by mail/onlineNo.
IllinoisDept. of Natural ResourcesPrintable online form
Only renewals allowed online
IndianaBureau of Motor VehiclesIn person/by mailNo
IowaDept. of Natural ResourcesIn person/by mail
Must register with local county recorder
KansasDept. of Wildlife & ParksPrintable online form
KentuckyDept. of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicle LicensingIn person/by mail
LouisianaDept. of Wildlife & FisheriesPrintable online formNo
MaineDept. of Inland Fisheries & WildlifeIn person/by mailYes
MarylandDept. of Natural ResourcesPrintable online formNo
MassachusettsDept. of Fisheries & WildlifePrintable online formNo
MichiganDept. of StateOnline/In person
MinnesotaDept. of Natural ResourcesIn person
MississippiDept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & ParksBy mailNo
MissouriDept. of Motor VehiclesBy mail
MontanaDept. of Fish, Wildlife & ParksIn person
NebraskaGame and Parks CommissionIn person
NevadaDivision of WildlifeIn personNo
New HampshireDivision of Safety Services, Bureau of Marine PatrolIn personNo
New JerseyMotor Vehicle CommissionIn person
New MexicoState Parks DivisionIn person/by mailNo
New YorkDept. of Motor VehiclesIn person/by mail
North CarolinaWildlife Resources Comm.In person/by mailNo
North DakotaGame and Fish Dept.In person/by mail
OhioDept. of Natural ResourcesIn person/by mailNo
OklahomaOklahoma Tax Commission, Motor Vehicle DivisionIn person/by mailNo
OregonState Marine BoardPrintable online formNo
PennsylvaniaFish & Boat Comm.Printable online formNo
Rhode IslandDept. of Environmental Mgmt.Printable online formYes
South CarolinaDept. of Natural ResourcesPrintable online formNo
South DakotaDepartment of Revenue, Division of Motor VehiclesPrintable online formNo
TennesseeWildlife Resources AgencyIn person/by mail
TexasParks & Wildlife Dept.Printable online form
UtahDept. of Motor VehiclesIn person/by mail
VermontDept. of Motor VehiclesIn person/by mail
VirginiaDept. of Game & Inland FisheriesPrintable online formNo
WashingtonState Dept. of LicensingPrintable online formNo
West VirginiaDept. of Natural ResourcesIn person/by mailNo
WisconsinDept. of Natural ResourcesPrintable online formNo
WyomingGame and Fish Dept.Printable online formNo

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