Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 15B. Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels.


§ 50–1541.01. Definitions.

(a) For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Agreement” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-201(b)(3).

(2) “Barge” means a vessel that is not self-propelled or fitted for propulsion by sail, paddle, oar, or similar device.

(3) “Builder’s certificate” means a certificate of the facts of build of a vessel described in 46 C.F.R. § 67.99.

(4) “Buyer” means a person that buys or contracts to buy a vessel.

(5) “Buyer in ordinary course of business” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-201(b)(9).

(6) “Cancel”, with respect to a certificate of title, means to make the certificate of title ineffective.

(7) “Certificate of origin” means a record created by a manufacturer or importer as the manufacturer’s or importer’s proof of identity of a vessel. The term includes a manufacturer’s certificate or statement of origin and an importer’s certificate or statement of origin. The term does not include a builder’s certificate.

(8) “Certificate of title” means a record, created by the Harbor Master pursuant to this chapter or by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction under the laws of that jurisdiction, that is designated as a certificate of title by the office or agency and is evidence of ownership of a vessel.

(9) “Conspicuous” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-201(b)(10).

(10) “Consumer goods” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:9-102(a)(23).

(11) “Dealer” means a person, including a manufacturer, in the business of selling vessels.

(12) “Debtor” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:9-102(a)(28).

(13) “Documented vessel” means a vessel covered by a certificate of documentation issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 12105. The term does not include a foreign-documented vessel.

(14) “Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(15) “Electronic certificate of title” means a certificate of title consisting of information that is stored solely in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(16) “Foreign-documented vessel” means a vessel the ownership of which is recorded in a registry maintained by a country other than the United States which identifies each person that has an ownership interest in a vessel and includes a unique alphanumeric designation for the vessel.

(17) “Good faith” means honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.

(18) “Harbor Master” means the official of the Metropolitan Police Department who commands the Harbor Unit or its successor, and his or her authorized representatives, including any police officer acting for the Harbor Master.

(19) “Hull damaged” means compromised with respect to the integrity of a vessel’s hull by a collision, allision, lightning strike, fire, explosion, running aground, or similar occurrence, or the sinking of a vessel in a manner that creates a significant risk to the integrity of the vessel’s hull.

(20) “Hull identification number” means the alphanumeric designation assigned to a vessel pursuant to 33 C.F.R. Part 181.

(21) “Knowledge” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-202.

(22) “Lease” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:2A-103(a)(10).

(23) “Lessor” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:2A-103(a)(16).

(24) “Lien creditor”, with respect to a vessel, means:

(A) A creditor that has acquired a lien on the vessel by attachment, levy, or the like;

(B) An assignee for benefit of creditors from the time of assignment;

(C) A trustee in bankruptcy from the date of the filing of the petition; or

(D) A receiver in equity from the time of appointment.

(25) “Notice” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-202.

(26) “Owner” means a person that has legal title to a vessel.

(27) “Owner of record” means the owner indicated in the files of the Harbor Master or, if the files indicate more than one owner, the one first indicated.

(28) “Person” means an individual, estate, business or nonprofit entity, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal entity.

(29) “Purchase” means to take by sale, lease, mortgage, pledge, consensual lien, security interest, gift, or any other voluntary transaction that creates an interest in a vessel.

(30) “Purchaser” means a person that takes by purchase.

(31) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(32) “Representative” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-201(b)(33).

(33) “Sale” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:2-106(1).

(34) “Secured party”, with respect to a vessel, means a person:

(A) In whose favor a security interest is created or provided for under a security agreement whether or not any obligation to be secured is outstanding;

(B) That is a consignor under Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28; or

(C) That holds a security interest arising under § 28:2-401, § 28:2-505, § 28:2-711(3), or § 28:2A-508(e).

(35) “Secured party of record” means the secured party whose name is indicated as the name of the secured party in the files of the Harbor Master or, if the files indicate more than one secured party, the one first indicated.

(36) “Security agreement” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:9-102(a)(74).

(37) “Security interest” means an interest in a vessel that secures payment or performance of an obligation if the interest is created by contract or arises under § 28:2-401, § 28:2-505, § 28:2-711(3), or § 28:2A-508(e). The term includes any interest of a consignor in a vessel in a transaction that is subject to Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28. The term does not include the special property interest of a buyer of a vessel on identification of that vessel to a contract for sale under § 28:2-501, but a buyer also may acquire a security interest by complying with Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28. Except as otherwise provided in § 28:2-505, the right of a seller or lessor of a vessel under Article 2 or 2A of Subtitle I of Title 28 to retain or acquire possession of the vessel is not a security interest, but a seller or lessor also may acquire a security interest by complying with Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28. The retention or reservation of title by a seller of a vessel notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer under § 28:2-401 is limited in effect to a reservation of a security interest. Whether a transaction in the form of a lease creates a security interest is determined by § 28:1-203.

(38) “Seller” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:2-103(1)(d).

(39) “Send” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-201(b)(36).

(40) “Sign” means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to:

(A) Make or adopt a tangible symbol; or

(B) Attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

(41) “State” means a state of the United States, the District, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(42) “State of principal use” means the state on whose waters a vessel is or will be used, operated, navigated, or employed more than on the waters of any other state during a calendar year.

(43) “Title brand” means a designation of previous damage, use, or condition that must be indicated on a certificate of title.

(44) “Transfer of ownership” means a voluntary or involuntary conveyance of an interest in a vessel.

(45) “Value” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 28:1-204.

(46) “Vessel” means any watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, except:

(A) A seaplane;

(B) An amphibious vehicle for which a certificate of title is issued pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 15 of this title [§ 50-1501 et seq.], or a similar statute of another state;

(C) A stationary floating structure that:

(i) Does not have and is not designed to have a mode of propulsion of its own;

(ii) Is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility hookup to a source originating on shore; and

(iii) Has a permanent, continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system;

(D) Watercraft owned by the United States, a state, or a foreign government or a political subdivision of any of them; and

(E) Watercraft used solely as a lifeboat on another watercraft.

(47) “Vessel number” means the alphanumeric designation for a vessel issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 12301.

(48) “Written certificate of title” means a certificate of title consisting of information inscribed on a tangible medium.

(b) The definitions in subsection (a) of this section do not apply to any state or federal law governing licensing, numbering, or registration if the same term is used in that law.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 2, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.02. Scope.

Except as otherwise provided in § 50-1541.28, this chapter shall apply to any transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel, even if the transaction, certificate of title, or record was entered into or created before January 1, 2016.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 3, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.03. Supplemental principles of law and equity.

Unless displaced by a provision of this chapter, the principles of law and equity shall supplement the provisions of this chapter.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 4, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.04. Law governing vessel covered by certificate of title.

(a) The local law of the jurisdiction under whose certificate of title a vessel is covered governs all issues relating to the certificate of title from the time the vessel becomes covered by the certificate of title until the vessel becomes covered by another certificate of title or becomes a documented vessel, even if no other relationship exists between the jurisdiction and the vessel or its owner.

(b) A vessel becomes covered by a certificate of title when an application for the certificate of title and the applicable fee are delivered to the Harbor Master in accordance with this chapter or to the governmental agency that creates a certificate of title in another jurisdiction in accordance with the law of that jurisdiction.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 5, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.05. Certificate of title required.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the owner of a vessel for which the District is the state of principal use shall deliver to the Harbor Master an application for a certificate of title for the vessel, with the applicable fee, not later than 20 days after the later of:

(1) The date of a transfer of ownership; or

(2) The date the District becomes the state of principal use.

(b) An application for a certificate of title is not required for:

(1) A documented vessel;

(2) A foreign-documented vessel;

(3) A barge;

(4) A vessel before delivery if the vessel is under construction or completed pursuant to contract; or

(5) A vessel held by a dealer for sale or lease.

(c) The Harbor Master may not issue, transfer, or renew a certificate of number for a vessel issued pursuant to the requirements of 46 U.S.C. § 12301 unless the Harbor Master has created a certificate of title for the vessel, or an application for a certificate of title for the vessel and the applicable fee have been delivered to the Harbor Master.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 6, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.06. Application for certificate of title.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in §§ 50-1541.09, 50-1541.14, 50-1541.18, 50-1541.19, 50-1541.20, and 50-1541.21, only an owner may apply for a certificate of title.

(b) An application for a certificate of title must be signed by the applicant and contain:

(1) The applicant’s name, the street address of the applicant’s principal residence, and, if different, the applicant’s mailing address;

(2) The name and mailing address of each other owner of the vessel;

(3) The social security number or taxpayer identification number of each owner;

(4) The hull identification number for the vessel or, if none, an application for the issuance of a hull identification number for the vessel;

(5) The vessel number for the vessel or, if none issued by the Harbor Master, an application for a vessel number;

(6) A description of the vessel as required by the Harbor Master, which must include:

(A) The official number for the vessel, if any, assigned by the United States Coast Guard;

(B) The name of the manufacturer, builder, or maker;

(C) The model year or the year in which the manufacture or build of the vessel was completed;

(D) The overall length of the vessel;

(E) The vessel type;

(F) The hull material;

(G) The propulsion type;

(H) The engine drive type, if any; and

(I) The fuel type, if any;

(7) An indication of all security interests in the vessel known to the applicant and the name and mailing address of each secured party;

(8) A statement that the vessel is not a documented vessel or a foreign- documented vessel;

(9) Any title brand known to the applicant and, if known, the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created;

(10) If the applicant knows that the vessel is hull damaged, a statement that the vessel is hull damaged;

(11) If the application is made in connection with a transfer of ownership, the transferor’s name, street address, and, if different from the street address, the mailing address, the sales price, if any, and the date of the transfer; and

(12) If the vessel previously was registered or titled in another jurisdiction, a statement identifying each jurisdiction known to the applicant in which the vessel was registered or titled.

(c) In addition to the information required by subsection (b) of this section, an application for a certificate of title may contain an electronic communication address of the owner, transferor, or secured party.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in § 50-1541.18, § 50-1541.19, § 50-1541.20, or § 50-1541.21, an application for a certificate of title must be accompanied by:

(1) A certificate of title signed by the owner shown on the certificate of title that:

(A) Identifies the applicant as the owner of the vessel; or

(B) Is accompanied by a record that identifies the applicant as the owner; or

(2) If there is no certificate of title:

(A) If the vessel was at one time a documented vessel, a record issued by the United States Coast Guard that shows the vessel is no longer a documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner;

(B) If the vessel was at one time a foreign-documented vessel, a record issued by the foreign country that shows the vessel is no longer a foreign-documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner; or

(C) In all other cases, a certificate of origin, bill of sale, or other record that, to the satisfaction of the Harbor Master, identifies the applicant as the owner.

(e) A record submitted in connection with an application is part of the application. The Harbor Master shall maintain the record in its files.

(f) The Harbor Master may require that an application for a certificate of title be accompanied by payment or evidence of payment of all fees and taxes payable by the applicant under law of the District other than this chapter in connection with the application or the acquisition or use of the vessel.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 7, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.07. Creation and cancellation of certificate of title.

(a) Unless an application for a certificate of title is rejected under subsection (c) or (d) of this section, the Harbor Master shall create a certificate of title for the vessel in accordance with subsection (b) of this section not later than 20 days after delivery to it of an application that complies with § 50-1541.06.

(b) If the Harbor Master creates electronic certificates of title, the Harbor Master shall create an electronic certificate of title unless the secured party of record or, if none, the owner of record, requests in the application that the Harbor Master create a written certificate of title.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section, the Harbor Master may reject an application for a certificate of title only if:

(1) The application does not comply with § 50-1541.06;

(2) The application does not contain documentation sufficient for the Harbor Master to determine whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate of title;

(3) There is a reasonable basis for concluding that the application is fraudulent or issuance of a certificate of title would facilitate a fraudulent or illegal act; or

(4) The application does not comply with the law of the District other than this chapter.

(d) The Harbor Master shall reject an application for a certificate of title for a vessel that is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.

(e) The Harbor Master may cancel a certificate of title created by it only if the Harbor Master:

(1) Could have rejected the application for the certificate of title under subsection (c) of this section;

(2) Is required to cancel the certificate of title under another provision of this chapter; or

(3) Receives satisfactory evidence that the vessel is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 8, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.08. Content of certificate of title.

(a) A certificate of title must contain:

(1) The date the certificate of title was created;

(2) The name of the owner of record and, if not all owners are listed, an indication that there are additional owners indicated in the files of the Harbor Master;

(3) The mailing address of the owner of record;

(4) The hull identification number;

(5) The information listed in § 50-1541.06(b)(6);

(6) Except as otherwise provided in § 50-1541.14(b), the name and mailing address of the secured party of record, if any, and if not all secured parties are listed, an indication that there are other security interests indicated in the files of the Harbor Master; and

(7) All title brands indicated in the files of the Harbor Master covering the vessel, including brands indicated on a certificate of title created by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction and delivered to the Harbor Master.

(b) This chapter does not preclude the Harbor Master from noting on a certificate of title the name and mailing address of a secured party that is not a secured party of record.

(c) For each title brand indicated on a certificate of title, the certificate of title must identify the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or the jurisdiction that created the certificate of title on which the title brand was indicated. If the meaning of a title brand is not easily ascertainable or cannot be accommodated on the certificate of title, the certificate of title may state: “Previously branded in (insert the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or whose certificate of title previously indicated the title brand).”.

(d) If the files of the Harbor Master indicate that a vessel previously was registered or titled in a foreign country, the Harbor Master shall indicate on the certificate of title that the vessel was registered or titled in that country.

(e) A written certificate of title must contain a form that all owners indicated on the certificate of title may sign to evidence consent to a transfer of an ownership interest to another person. The form must indicate that the making of a false statement is punishable by criminal penalties. The form must include a statement that the statements made are true and correct to the best of each owner’s knowledge, information, and belief.

(f) A written certificate of title must contain a form for the owner of record to indicate, in connection with a transfer of an ownership interest, that the vessel is hull damaged.

(g) A written certificate of title must contain a form for a secured party to indicate release of its security interest.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 9, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.09. Title brand.

(a) Unless subsection (c) of this section applies, at or before the time the owner of record transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged vessel that is covered by a certificate of title created by the Harbor Master, if the damage occurred while that person was an owner of the vessel and the person has notice of the damage at the time of the transfer, the owner shall:

(1) Deliver to the Harbor Master an application for a new certificate of title that complies with § 50-1541.06 and includes the title brand designation “Hull Damaged”; or

(2) Indicate on the certificate in the place designated for that purpose that the vessel is hull damaged and deliver the certificate to the transferee.

(b) Not later than 20 days after delivery to the Harbor Master of the application under subsection (a)(1) of this section or the certificate of title under subsection (a)(2) of this section, the Harbor Master shall create a new certificate that indicates that the vessel is branded “Hull Damaged”.

(c) Before an insurer transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged vessel that is covered by a certificate of title created by the Harbor Master, the insurer shall deliver to the Harbor Master an application for a new certificate of title that complies with § 50-1541.05 and includes the title brand designation “Hull Damaged”. Not later than 20 days after delivery of the application to the Harbor Master, the Harbor Master shall create a new certificate of title that indicates that the vessel is branded “Hull Damaged”.

(d) An owner of record that fails to comply with subsection (a) of this section, a person that solicits or colludes in a failure by an owner of record to comply with subsection (a) of this section, or an insurer that fails to comply with subsection (c) of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 10, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.10. Maintenance of and access to files.

(a) For each record relating to a certificate of title submitted to the Harbor Master, the Harbor Master shall:

(1) Ascertain or assign the hull identification number for the vessel;

(2) Maintain the hull identification number and all the information submitted with the application pursuant to § 50-1541.06(b) to which the record relates, including the date and time the record was delivered to the Harbor Master;

(3) Maintain the files for public inspection subject to subsection (e) of this section; and

(4) Index the files of the Harbor Master as required by subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The Harbor Master shall maintain in its files the information contained in all certificates of title created pursuant to this chapter. The information in the files of the Harbor Master must be searchable by the hull identification number of the vessel, the vessel number, the name of the owner of record, and any other method used by the Harbor Master.

(c) The Harbor Master shall maintain in its files, for each vessel for which it has created a certificate of title, all title brands known to the Harbor Master, the name of each secured party known to the Harbor Master, the name of each person known to the Harbor Master to be claiming an ownership interest, and all stolen-property reports the Harbor Master has received.

(d) Upon request, for safety, security, or law-enforcement purposes, the Harbor Master shall provide to federal, state, or local government the information in its files relating to any vessel for which the Harbor Master has issued a certificate of title.

(e) Except as otherwise provided by the law of the District other than this chapter, the information required under § 50-1541.08 is a public record. The information provided under § 50-1541.06(b)(3) is not a public record.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 11, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.11. Action required on creation of certificate of title.

(a) On creation of a written certificate of title, the Harbor Master promptly shall send the certificate of title to the secured party of record or, if none, to the owner of record, at the address indicated for that person in the files of the Harbor Master. On creation of an electronic certificate of title, the Harbor Master promptly shall send a record evidencing the certificate of title to the owner of record and, if there is one, to the secured party of record, at the address indicated for that person in the files of the Harbor Master. The Harbor Master may send the record to the person’s mailing address or, if indicated in the files of the Harbor Master, an electronic address.

(b) If the Harbor Master creates a written certificate of title, any electronic certificate of title for the vessel is canceled and replaced by the written certificate of title. The Harbor Master shall maintain in the files of the Harbor Master the date and time of cancellation.

(c) Before the Harbor Master creates an electronic certificate of title, any written certificate of title for the vessel must be surrendered to the Harbor Master. If the Harbor Master creates an electronic certificate of title, the Harbor Master shall destroy or otherwise cancel the written certificate of title for the vessel which has been surrendered to the Harbor Master and maintain in the files of the Harbor Master the date and time of destruction or other cancellation. If a written certificate of title being canceled is not destroyed, the Harbor Master shall indicate on the face of the certificate of title that it has been canceled.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 12, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.12. Effect of certificate of title.

A certificate of title is prima facie evidence of the accuracy of the information in the record that constitutes the certificate of title.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 13, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.13. Effect of possession of certificate of title; judicial process.

Possession of a certificate of title does not by itself provide a right to obtain possession of a vessel. Garnishment, attachment, levy, replevin, or other judicial process against the certificate of title is not effective to determine possessory rights to the vessel. This chapter does not prohibit enforcement under law of the District other than this chapter of a security interest in, levy on, or foreclosure of a statutory or common-law lien on a vessel. Absence of an indication of a statutory or common-law lien on a certificate of title does not invalidate the lien.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 14, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.14. Perfection of security interest.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section or § 50-1541.28, a security interest in a vessel may be perfected only by delivery to the Harbor Master of an application for a certificate of title that identifies the secured party and otherwise complies with § 50-1541.06. The security interest is perfected on the later of delivery to the Harbor Master of the application and the applicable fee or attachment of the security interest under § 28:9-203.

(b) If the interest of a person named as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor in an application for a certificate of title delivered to the Harbor Master is a security interest, the application sufficiently identifies the person as a secured party. Identification on the application for a certificate of title of a person as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor is not by itself a factor in determining whether the person’s interest is a security interest.

(c) If the Harbor Master has created a certificate of title for a vessel, a security interest in the vessel may be perfected by delivery to the Harbor Master of an application, on a form the Harbor Master may require, to have the security interest added to the certificate of title. The application must be signed by an owner of the vessel or by the secured party and must include:

(1) The name of the owner of record;

(2) The name and mailing address of the secured party;

(3) The hull identification number for the vessel; and

(4) If the Harbor Master has created a written certificate of title for the vessel, the certificate of title.

(d) A security interest perfected under subsection (c) of this section is perfected on the later of delivery to the Harbor Master of the application and all applicable fees or attachment of the security interest under § 28:9-203.

(e) On delivery of an application that complies with subsection (c) of this section and payment of all applicable fees, the Harbor Master shall create a new certificate of title pursuant to § 50-1541.07 and deliver the new certificate of title or a record evidencing an electronic certificate of title pursuant to § 50-1541.11(a). The Harbor Master shall maintain in the files of the Harbor Master the date and time of delivery of the application to the Harbor Master.

(f) If a secured party assigns a perfected security interest in a vessel, the receipt by the Harbor Master of a statement providing the name of the assignee as secured party shall not be required to continue the perfected status of the security interest against creditors of and transferees from the original debtor. A purchaser of a vessel subject to a security interest that obtains a release from the secured party indicated in the files of the Harbor Master or on the certificate of title takes free of the security interest and of the rights of a transferee unless the transfer is indicated in the files of the Harbor Master or on the certificate of title.

(g) This section shall not apply to a security interest:

(1) Created in a vessel by a person during any period in which the vessel is inventory held for sale or lease by the person or is leased by the person as lessor if the person is in the business of selling vessels;

(2) In a barge for which no application for a certificate of title has been delivered to the Harbor Master; or

(3) In a vessel before delivery if the vessel is under construction, or completed, pursuant to contract and for which no application for a certificate of title has been delivered to the Harbor Master.

(h) This subsection applies if a certificate of documentation for a documented vessel is deleted or canceled. If a security interest in the vessel was valid immediately before deletion or cancellation against a third party as a result of compliance with 46 U.S.C. § 31321, the security interest is and remains perfected until the earlier of 4 months after cancellation of the certificate of documentation or the time the security interest becomes perfected under this chapter.

(i) A security interest in a vessel arising under § 28:2-401, § 28:2-505, § 28:2-711(3), or § 28:2A-508(e) is perfected when it attaches but becomes unperfected when the debtor obtains possession of the vessel, unless before the debtor obtains possession the security interest is perfected pursuant to subsection (a) or (c) of this section.

(j) A security interest in a vessel as proceeds of other collateral is perfected to the extent provided in § 28:9-315.

(k) A security interest in a vessel perfected under the law of another jurisdiction is perfected to the extent provided in § 28:9-316(d).


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 15, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.15. Termination statement.

(a) A secured party indicated in the files of the Harbor Master as having a security interest in a vessel shall deliver a termination statement to the Harbor Master and, on the debtor’s request, to the debtor, by the earlier of:

(1) Twenty days after the secured party receives a signed demand from an owner for a termination statement and there is no obligation secured by the vessel subject to the security interest and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the vessel; or

(2) If the vessel is consumer goods, 30 days after there is no obligation secured by the vessel and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the vessel.

(b) If a written certificate of title has been created and delivered to a secured party and a termination statement is required under subsection (a) of this section, the secured party, not later than the date required by subsection (a) of this section, shall deliver the certificate of title to the debtor or to the Harbor Master with the statement. If the certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or is otherwise unavailable or illegible, the secured party shall deliver with the statement, not later than the date required by subsection (a) of this section, an application for a replacement certificate of title meeting the requirements of § 50-1541.21.

(c) On delivery to the Harbor Master of a termination statement authorized by the secured party, the security interest to which the statement relates shall cease to be perfected. If the security interest to which the statement relates was indicated on the certificate of title, the Harbor Master shall create a new certificate of title and deliver the new certificate of title or a record evidencing an electronic certificate of title. The Harbor Master shall maintain in its files the date and time of delivery to the Harbor Master of the statement.

(d) A secured party that fails to comply with this section is liable for any loss that the secured party had reason to know might result from its failure to comply and that could not reasonably have been prevented and for the cost of an application for a certificate of title under § 50-1541.06 or § 50-1541.21.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 16, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.16. Transfer of ownership.

(a) On voluntary transfer of an ownership interest in a vessel covered by a certificate of title, the following shall apply:

(1) If the certificate of title is a written certificate of title and the transferor’s interest is noted on the certificate of title, the transferor promptly shall sign the certificate of title and deliver it to the transferee. If the transferor does not have possession of the certificate of title, the person in possession of the certificate of title shall have a duty to facilitate the transferor’s compliance with this paragraph. A secured party shall not have a duty to facilitate the transferor’s compliance with this paragraph if the proposed transfer is prohibited by the security agreement.

(2) If the certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title, the transferor promptly shall sign and deliver to the transferee a record evidencing the transfer of ownership to the transferee.

(3) The transferee has a right enforceable by specific performance to require the transferor comply with paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection.

(b) The creation of a certificate of title identifying the transferee as owner of record satisfies the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(c) A failure to comply with subsection (a) of this section or to apply for a new certificate of title shall not render a transfer of ownership of a vessel ineffective between the parties. Except as otherwise provided in § 50-1541.17, § 50-1541.18, § 50-1541.22(a), or § 50-1541.23, a transfer of ownership without compliance with subsection (a) of this section is not effective against another person claiming an interest in the vessel.

(d) A transferor that complies with subsection (a) of this section is not liable as owner of the vessel for an event occurring after the transfer, regardless of whether the transferee applies for a new certificate of title.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 17, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.17. Effect of missing or incorrect information.

Except as otherwise provided in § 28:9-337, a certificate of title or other record required or authorized by this chapter is effective even if it contains incorrect information or does not contain required information.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 18, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.18. Transfer of ownership by secured party’s transfer statement.

(a) In For the purposes of this section, “secured party’s transfer statement” means a record signed by the secured party of record stating:

(1) That there has been a default on an obligation secured by the vessel;

(2) The secured party of record is exercising or has exercised post-default remedies with respect to the vessel;

(3) By reason of the exercise, the secured party of record has the right to transfer the ownership interest of an owner, and the name of the owner;

(4) The name and last-known mailing address of the owner of record and the secured party of record;

(5) The name of the transferee;

(6) Other information required by § 50-1541.06(b); and

(7) One of the following:

(A) The certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title;

(B) The secured party does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or

(C) The secured party is delivering the written certificate of title to the Harbor Master with the secured party’s transfer statement.

(b) Unless the Harbor Master rejects a secured party’s transfer statement for a reason stated in § 50-1541.07(c), not later than 20 days after delivery to the Harbor Master of the statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the law of the District other than this chapter in connection with the statement or the acquisition or use of the vessel, the Harbor Master shall:

(1) Accept the statement;

(2) Amend the files of the Harbor Master to reflect the transfer; and

(3) If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:

(A) Cancel the certificate of title even if the certificate of title has not been delivered to the Harbor Master;

(B) Create a new certificate of title indicating the transferee as owner; and

(C) Deliver the new certificate of title or a record evidencing an electronic certificate of title.

(c) An application under subsection (a) of this section or the creation of a certificate of title under subsection (b) of this section is not by itself a disposition of the vessel and does not by itself relieve the secured party of its duties under Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 19, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.19. Transfer by operation of law.

(a) For the purpose of this section:

(1) “By operation of law” means pursuant to a law or judicial order affecting ownership of a vessel:

(A) Because of death, divorce or other family law proceeding, merger, consolidation, dissolution, or bankruptcy;

(B) Through the exercise of the rights of a lien creditor or a person having a lien created by statute or rule of law; or

(C) Through other legal process.

(2) “Transfer-by-law statement” means a record signed by a transferee stating that by operation of law the transferee has acquired or has the right to acquire an ownership interest in a vessel.

(b) A transfer-by-law statement must contain:

(1) The name and last known mailing address of the owner of record and the transferee and the other information required by § 50-1541.06(b);

(2) Documentation sufficient to establish the transferee’s ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest;

(3) A statement that:

(A) The certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title;

(B) The transferee does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or

(C) The transferee is delivering the written certificate of title to the Harbor Master with the transfer-by-law statement; and

(4) Except for a transfer described in subsection (a)(1)(A) of this section, evidence that notification of the transfer and the intent to file the transfer-by-law statement has been sent to all persons indicated in the files of the Harbor Master as having an interest, including a security interest, in the vessel.

(c) Unless the Harbor Master rejects a transfer-by-law statement for a reason stated in § 50-1541.07(c) or because the statement does not include documentation satisfactory to the Harbor Master as to the transferee’s ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest, not later than 20 days after delivery to the Harbor Master of the statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the law of the District other than this chapter in connection with the statement or with the acquisition or use of the vessel, the Harbor Master shall:

(1) Accept the statement;

(2) Amend the files of the Harbor Master to reflect the transfer; and

(3) If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:

(A) Cancel the certificate of title even if the certificate of title has not been delivered to the Harbor Master;

(B) Create a new certificate of title indicating the transferee as owner;

(C) Indicate on the new certificate of title any security interest indicated on the canceled certificate of title, unless a court order provides otherwise; and

(D) Deliver the new certificate of title or a record evidencing an electronic certificate of title.

(d) This section shall not apply to a transfer of an interest in a vessel by a secured party under part 6 of Article 9 of Subtitle I of Title 28.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 20, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.20. Application for transfer of ownership or termination of security interest without certificate of title.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in § 50-1541.18 or § 50-1541.19, if the Harbor Master receives, unaccompanied by a signed certificate of title, an application for a new certificate of title that includes an indication of a transfer of ownership or a termination statement, the Harbor Master may create a new certificate of title under this section only if:

(1) All other requirements under §§ 50-1541.06 and 50-1541.07 are met;

(2) The applicant provides an affidavit stating facts showing the applicant is entitled to a transfer of ownership or termination statement;

(3) The applicant provides the Harbor Master with satisfactory evidence that notification of the application has been sent to the owner of record and all persons indicated in the files of the Harbor Master as having an interest, including a security interest, in the vessel, at least 45 days have passed since the notification was sent, and the Harbor Master has not received an objection from any of those persons; and

(4) The applicant submits any other information required by the Harbor Master as evidence of the applicant’s ownership or right to terminate the security interest, and the Harbor Master has no credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the vessel.

(b) The Harbor Master may indicate in a certificate of title created under subsection (a) of this section that the certificate of title was created without submission of a signed certificate of title or termination statement. Unless credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the vessel is delivered to the Harbor Master not later than one year after creation of the certificate of title, on request in a form and manner required by the Harbor Master, the Harbor Master shall remove the indication from the certificate of title.

(c) Unless the Harbor Master determines that the value of a vessel is less than $5,000, before the Harbor Master creates a certificate of title under subsection (a) of this section, the Harbor Master may require the applicant to post a bond or provide an equivalent source of indemnity or security. The bond, indemnity, or other security may not exceed twice the value of the vessel as determined by the Harbor Master. The bond, indemnity, or other security must be in a form required by the Harbor Master and provide for indemnification of any owner, purchaser, or other claimant for any expense, loss, delay, or damage, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, but not including incidental or consequential damages, resulting from creation or amendment of the certificate of title.

(d) Unless the Harbor Master receives a claim for indemnity not later than one year after creation of a certificate of title under subsection (a) of this section, on request in a form and manner required by the Harbor Master, the Harbor Master shall release any bond, indemnity, or other security.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 21, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.21. Replacement certificate of title.

(a) If a written certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise becomes unavailable or illegible, the secured party of record or, if no secured party is indicated in the files of the Harbor Master, the owner of record may apply for and, by furnishing information satisfactory to the Harbor Master, obtain a replacement certificate of title in the name of the owner of record.

(b) An applicant for a replacement certificate of title must sign the application, and, except as otherwise permitted by the Harbor Master, the application must comply with § 50-1541.06. The application must include the existing certificate of title unless the certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable.

(c) A replacement certificate of title created by the Harbor Master must comply with § 50-1541.08 and indicate on the face of the certificate of title that it is a replacement certificate of title.

(d) If a person receiving a replacement certificate of title subsequently obtains possession of the original written certificate of title, the person promptly shall destroy the original certificate of title.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 22, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.22. Rights of purchaser other than secured party.

(a) A buyer in ordinary course of business has the protections afforded by §§ 28:2-403(2) and 28:9-320(a) even if an existing certificate of title was not signed and delivered to the buyer or a new certificate of title listing the buyer as owner of record was not created.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in §§ 50-1541.16 and 50-1541.23, the rights of a purchaser of a vessel that is not a buyer in ordinary course of business or a lien creditor are governed by Subtitle I of Title 28.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 23, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.23. Rights of secured party.

(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the effect of perfection and nonperfection of a security interest and the priority of a perfected or unperfected security interest with respect to the rights of a purchaser or creditor, including a lien creditor, is governed by Subtitle I of Title 28.

(b) If, while a security interest in a vessel is perfected by any method under this chapter, the Harbor Master creates a certificate of title that does not indicate that the vessel is subject to the security interest or contain a statement that it may be subject to security interests not indicated on the certificate of title:

(1) A buyer of the vessel, other than a person in the business of selling or leasing vessels of that kind, takes free of the security interest if the buyer, acting in good faith and without knowledge of the security interest, gives value and receives possession of the vessel; and

(2) The security interest is subordinate to a conflicting security interest in the vessel that is perfected under § 50-1541.14 after creation of the certificate of title and without the conflicting secured party’s knowledge of the security interest.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 24, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.24. Duties of Harbor Master.

(a) The Harbor Master shall retain the evidence used to establish the accuracy of the information in its files relating to the current ownership of a vessel and the information on the certificate of title.

(b) The Harbor Master shall retain in its files all information regarding a security interest in a vessel for at least 10 years after the Harbor Master receives a termination statement regarding the security interest. The information shall be accessible by the hull identification number for the vessel and any other methods provided by the Harbor Master.

(c) If a person submits a record to the Harbor Master, or submits information that is accepted by the Harbor Master, and requests an acknowledgment of the filing or submission, the Harbor Master shall send to the person an acknowledgment showing the hull identification number of the vessel to which the record or submission relates, the information in the filed record or submission, and the date and time the record was received or the submission accepted. A request under this section shall contain the hull identification number and be delivered by means authorized by the Harbor Master.

(d) The Harbor Master shall send or otherwise make available in a record the following information to any person that requests it and pays the applicable fee:

(1) Whether the files of the Harbor Master indicate, as of a date and time specified by the Harbor Master, but not a date earlier than 3 days before the Harbor Master received the request, any certificate of title, security interest, termination statement, or title brand that relates to a vessel:

(A) Identified by a hull identification number designated in the request;

(B) Identified by a vessel number designated in the request; or

(C) Owned by a person designated in the request;

(2) With respect to the vessel:

(A) The name and address of any owner as indicated in the files of the Harbor Master or on the certificate of title;

(B) The name and address of any secured party as indicated in the files of the Harbor Master or on the certificate of title, and the effective date of the information; and

(C) A copy of any termination statement indicated in the files of the Harbor Master and the effective date of the termination statement; and

(3) With respect to the vessel, a copy of any certificate of origin, secured party transfer statement, transfer-by-law statement under § 50-1541.19, and other evidence of previous or current transfers of ownership.

(e) In responding to a request under this section, the Harbor Master may provide the requested information in any medium. On request, the Harbor Master shall send the requested information in a record that bears the seal of the Harbor Master and is attested to by an appropriate official.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 25, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.25. Rules.

(a) The Mayor may promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of this chapter pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.] and to set fees, taxes, and other charges with respect to the titling, registration, and numbering of vessels, and otherwise to amend the Harbor Regulations (Article 29 of the Police Regulations of the District of Columbia, effective April 26, 1940, as amended; 19 DCMR Chapter 10).

(b) The Mayor may promulgate the rules to take effect on or after January 1, 2016.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 26, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.26. Uniformity of application and construction.

In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 27, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.27. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

This chapter modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, approved June 30, 2000 (114 Stat. 464 ; 15 U.S.C. § 7001 , et seq.), but does not modify, limit, or supersede section 101(c) of that act, 15 U.S.C. § 7001(c) , or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in section 103(b) of that act, 15 U.S.C. § 7003(b) .


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 28, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.


§ 50–1541.28. Savings clause.

(a) The rights, duties, and interests flowing from a transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel that was validly entered into or created before January 1, 2016, and would be subject to this chapter if it had been entered into or created on or after January 1, 2016, remain valid on and after January 1, 2016.

(b) This chapter does not affect an action or proceeding commenced before January 1, 2016.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section, a security interest that is enforceable immediately before January 1, 2016, and would have priority over the rights of a person that becomes a lien creditor at that time is a perfected security interest under this chapter.

(d) A security interest perfected immediately before January 1, 2016, remains perfected until the earlier of:

(1) The time perfection would have ceased under the law under which the security interest was perfected; or

(2) Three years after January 1, 2016.

(e) This chapter shall not affect the priority of a security interest in a vessel if immediately before January 1, 2016, the security interest is enforceable and perfected, and that priority is established.


(Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-215, § 29, 61 DCR 13083.)

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-215: Section 32 of D.C. Law 20-215 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2016.