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Abandoned Vessels

What is an Abandoned Vessel?
A vessel that 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. 

You may be able identify a vessel as abandoned if:

  • 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.
  • An owner of private property who has found a vessel on his/her land without the property owner’s consent, 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 title to an abandoned vessel.  To begin the process, you must request an abandoned vessel application packet from the Special Title Section of the Motor Vehicle Commission. 

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

For more information or to request an abandoned vessel packet, contact:
NJMVC Special Title Section
P.O. Box 017
Trenton NJ 08666-0017
(609) 292-6500 ext. 5069

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New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ 08666
(609) 292-6500
TTY (609) 292-5120

Last Updated: July 7, 2015