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Abandoned Vessels


What is an Abandoned Vessel?

A vessel is considered abandoned if it has remained moored, grounded, docked, or otherwise attached or fastened to any public land or waterway or any private property without consent for more than 30 days.

The following scenarios may permit a vessel to be identified as abandoned.

  • A boat marina or storage facility has a customer who has not made a storage or maintenance payment in over 30 days without an alternate arrangement having been made with the storage facility.
  • A private property owner who has found a vessel on their land without the property owner’s consent, and the vessel has been there for more than 30 days.
  • A municipality locates a vessel partially or completely submerged or grounded on its beaches, roads or waterways.

How to obtain an Abandoned Vessel title

A landowner on whose property an abandoned vessel is located, or a municipality, harbor commission, or other entity having jurisdiction over the area in which an abandoned vessel is located, may institute proceedings to acquire the title to an abandoned vessel.

The Abandoned Vessel Disposition Law (N.J.S.A. 12:7c-7 et seq.,) provides property owners with a mechanism for legal acquisition and disposition of vessels abandoned upon their property; however, this is not a substitute for the settlement of disputes between the property owner and vessel owner.

  • If the vessel is less than 12 feet long, upon acceptance of a properly completed packet, the MVC will issue a non-titled proof of ownership receipt in the applicant’s name, which will allow the vessel to be registered.

The Instructions to Implement the Abandoned Vessel Disposition Law packet is available online.  The packet contains several forms (OS/SS-66; OS/SS-65; DO-22; DO-11A; and OS/SS-64) with a total of 16 pages.  If you choose to download the packet, ensure you have all the forms and correct number of pages.  If you need assistance, you may call the MVC’s Abandoned Title Unit at 609-292-6500 ext. 5069; or submit an email to MVC.Specialtitle@mvc.nj.gov.

You may also call the MVC if you want a packet mailed to you.  Although a packet may be requested and sent to your through the mail or by email, you must submit original paperwork and the required fees only through the mail.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to the NJMVC, in accordance with the amounts noted on the forms contained in the packet.

Submit the packet to:

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
Special Titles - Abandoned Title Unit
225 East State Street
PO Box 017
Trenton, New Jersey 08666-0017