Boat Donation Facts

 How do I get my boat ready to be picked up?

First make sure you have the boat in a spot a trailer can back up to. If it is in your back yard in the grass you might want to move it onto the driveway or road in front of the house. This will keep your grass and landscaping from getting ruts if the ground is soft.

You will want to make sure there is air in the tires so the boat and trailer can be moved out of your yard. If the trailer is old and rusted, inspect it to see if the tires are worn or dry rotted then mention that to the person that is picking it up. If you have a spare tire you can place that on the boat as well. You do not want the boat trailer on public streets falling apart and causing accidents.

It is important that you remove your personal items before you donate a boat; box up the old life preservers, sunglasses, lotions, maps, credit card receipts, repair receipts, clothing, fishing rods, insurance papers, registration cards and water skis and put them in your basement or garage as they do not need to go with the boat.

Tape your ignition key to the glove box. If you have a boat cover you can either put it on the boat if it is in good shape or leave it folded up in the back if it is torn and can possibly fall off. If you have cans of oil, spare parts, or old gas cans take those out of the boat. They won’t need to go with the donation and they could be hazardous.

If you have taken apart the engine, the outdrive, steering cables, swim platform or other important parts of the boat then place those in a box in the back of the boat. If you’ve stored extra sails, rudder, or cushions in your garage then be sure to hand those items to the person picking up the boat. A box or hefty bag will work as storage and allow those items to be transported.

Remember: it is best to donate your boat while it still has some value before the ravages of time have devalued it. You can call Giving Center at 888-228-7320. 

Can I donate without my registration or title?

Very few boats can be donated without a registration or title. Boat donations and personal watercraft that are under eleven feet without motor such as kayaks, catamarans, and dingys can be donated without registration cards or state issued titles.

Most states make it mandatory to either register or title a boat with an engine or a boat over twelve feet long. If you have never titled your boat and it has been used on a private lake in many states it is possible to donate it. If you have registered it or titled it in the past and you have lost the title or the registration has expired it is STILL possible to donate it.

You will need to send us a copy of your registration that contains the year, make, model, and length as well as the HIN (hull identification number.) Giving Center can help you apply for a duplicate title. The cost to replace a boat title can be as low as two dollars, often time a donor can walk into the office and walk out with one the same day.

The state of California allows a transfer to be made by filling out the form for missing titles with transfer. Florida has a form that allows transfers without the actual title as well. In most cases you do not have to renew your registration or bring it current to get a copy of an old registration card. You can furnish the department of boating your state issued registration number or your old card or a letter that you are the registered owner and they can give you a copy.

The boat can oftentimes be transferred with that letter. If you have a documented boat with the United States Coast Guard you will not need the document in hand. The boat can be transferred by filling out the USCG 1340 Bill of Sale form and assigned as a gift to the charity, all that is needed is the Hull Identification Number, the official document number (normally on your insurance certificate) and/or the name of the boat. The boat does not have to be currently documented. It will have to be signed by all owners.

Will I receive a tax receipt upon donation? Are you an approved IRS charity?

Giving Center is an IRS approved charity EIN 46-1883892 We can be easily located by our name, Giving Center, on the IRS charity search web site. When you donate a boat, Giving Center issues a Donor Form that lists your name, address, phone number, and details of the boat. The value of the boat is not listed at that time.

The IRS Form 1098C has three basic provisions.

  1. The charity can issue you a receipt based on the sale price of the boat.
  2. The charity can issue you a receipt for fair market value (this is box 5c) in this case the charity does a material improvement of the boat at their cost prior to the sale of the boat. This allows the donor to obtain an appraisal (signed appraisal needed over $5000 IRS Form 8283) the donor can then claim the fair market value of their boat as a donation. The donation value for boats that are valued at less than $5000 can be found referenced on website such as www.NadaGuides.com
  3. If the boat does not sell for $500 (the IRS reporting minimum) the donor will receive a receipt 1098c equivalent without any value but with the notation value did not exceed $500. Giving Center issues the receipts electronically and by mail.

If you have any questions about making a boat donation to Giving Center please feel free to visit our website here or give us a call at 888-228-7320 to speak to a live representative. 

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