Chapter 1548: WATERCRAFT CERTIFICATES OF TITLE

1548.01 Exceptions to chapter - forms.

(A) As used in this chapter, "electronic" and "watercraft" have the same meanings as in section 1547.01 of the Revised Code.

(B) This chapter does not apply to any of the following:

(1) A watercraft covered by a marine document in effect that has been assigned to it by the United States government pursuant to federal law;

(2) A watercraft from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters in this state;

(3) A watercraft whose owner is the United States, a state, or a political subdivision of a state;

(4) A ship's lifeboat. As used in division (B)(4) of this section, "lifeboat" means a watercraft that is held aboard another vessel and used exclusively for emergency purposes.

(5) A canoe;

(6) A watercraft less than fourteen feet in length without a permanently affixed mechanical means of propulsion;

(7) A watercraft less than fourteen feet in length with a permanently fixed mechanical means of propulsion of less than ten horsepower as determined by the manufacturer's rating;

(8) Outboard motors of less than ten horsepower as determined by the manufacturer's rating.

(C) The various certificates, applications, and assignments necessary to provide certificates of title for watercraft and outboard motors shall be made on appropriate forms approved by the chief of the division of watercraft.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.02 Chief of division of watercraft - powers and duties.

The chief of the division of watercraft shall adopt such rules as the chief considers necessary to ensure uniform and orderly operation of this chapter, and the clerks of the courts of common pleas shall conform to those rules. The chief shall receive and file in the chief's office all information forwarded to the chief by the clerks under this chapter and shall maintain indexes covering the state at large for that information. These indexes shall be for the state at large and not for individual counties.

The chief shall check with the chief's record all duplicate certificates of title received in the chief's office from the clerks.

If it appears that any certificate of title has been improperly issued or is no longer required, the chief shall cancel the certificate. Upon the cancellation of any certificate of title, the chief shall notify the clerk who issued it, and the clerk shall enter the cancellation in the clerk's records. The chief also shall notify the person to whom the certificate of title was issued, as well as any lienholders appearing on it, of the cancellation and, if it is a physical certificate of title, shall demand the surrender of the certificate of title, but the cancellation shall not affect the validity of any lien noted on it. The holder of a physical certificate of title shall return it to the chief immediately.

The clerks shall keep on hand a sufficient supply of blank forms that, except certificate of title and memorandum certificate forms, shall be furnished and distributed without charge to registered manufacturers or dealers or to other persons residing within the county. The clerks shall provide the certificates of title and ribbons, cartridges, or other devices necessary for the operation of the certificate of title processing equipment as determined by the automated title processing board pursuant to division (C) of section 4505.09 of the Revised Code from moneys provided to the clerks from the automated title processing fund in accordance with division (B) of section 4505.09 of the Revised Code. The clerks shall furnish all other supplies from other moneys available to the clerks.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 04-06-2007

1548.021 Election for issuance of physical certificate of title.

The owner of a watercraft or outboard motor shall apply for a certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor when required by this chapter, but, except as otherwise specifically required in this chapter, the owner may elect whether or not to have the clerk of the court of common pleas to whom the certificate of title application is submitted issue a physical certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor, as provided in section 1548.09 of the Revised Code.

Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, any provision of this chapter relating to the cancellation, issuance, or surrender of a certificate of title, including, but not limited to, provisions that contain a phrase such as "when a certificate of title is issued," "the clerk shall issue a certificate of title," or "the person shall obtain a certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor," or another phrase of similar import, shall include those circumstances when a clerk enters certificate of title information into the automated title processing system, but does not take any further action relating to a physical certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.03 Certificate of title.

No person, except as provided in section 1548.05 of the Revised Code, shall sell or otherwise dispose of a watercraft or outboard motor without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a physical certificate of title with an assignment on it as is necessary to show title in the purchaser or transferee; nor shall any person purchase or otherwise acquire a watercraft or outboard motor without obtaining a certificate of title for it in the person's name in accordance with this chapter; however, a purchaser may take possession of and operate a watercraft or outboard motor on the waters in this state without a certificate of title for a period not exceeding thirty days if the purchaser has been issued and has in the purchaser's possession a dealer's dated bill of sale or, in the case of a casual sale, a notarized bill of sale.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.031 Sale by minor requires signature of custodial adult.

(A) No minor under eighteen years of age shall sell or otherwise dispose of a watercraft or outboard motor or purchase or otherwise acquire a watercraft or outboard motor unless the application for a certificate of title is accompanied by a form prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft and signed in the presence of a clerk or deputy clerk of a court of common pleas or any notary public by one of the minor's parents, the minor's guardian, or another person having custody of the minor authorizing the sale, disposition, purchase, or acquisition of the watercraft or outboard motor. At the time the adult signs the form, the adult shall provide identification establishing that the adult is the individual whose signature appears on the form.

(B) No right, title, or claim to or interest in a watercraft or outboard motor shall be acquired by or from a minor unless the application for a certificate of title is accompanied by the form required by this section.

(C) No clerk of a court of common pleas shall be held liable in any civil action that arises under the law of this state for injury or loss to persons or property caused when a person has obtained a certificate of title in violation of this section unless the clerk failed to use reasonable diligence in ascertaining the age of the minor or the identity of the adult who signed the form authorizing the sale, disposition, purchase, or acquisition of the watercraft or outboard motor by the minor.

Effective Date: 04-06-2007

1548.032 Physical certificate not required in private sale to dealer.

(A)

(1) If a person who is not an electronic watercraft dealer owns a watercraft or outboard motor for which a physical certificate of title has not been issued by a clerk of a court of common pleas and the person sells the watercraft or outboard motor to a watercraft dealer registered under section 1547.543 of the Revised Code, the person is not required to obtain a physical certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor in order to transfer ownership to the dealer. The person shall present the dealer, in a manner approved by the chief of the division of watercraft, with sufficient proof of the person's identity and complete and sign a form prescribed by the chief attesting to the person's identity and assigning the watercraft or outboard motor to the dealer. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the watercraft dealer shall present the assignment form to any clerk of a court of common pleas together with an application for a certificate of title and payment of the fees prescribed by section 1548.10 of the Revised Code.

In a case in which an electronic certificate of title has been issued and either the buyer or seller of the watercraft or outboard motor is an electronic watercraft dealer, the electronic watercraft dealer instead may inform a clerk of a court of common pleas via electronic means of the sale of the watercraft or outboard motor and assignment of ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor. The clerk shall enter the information relating to the assignment into the automated title processing system, and ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor passes to the applicant when the clerk enters this information into the system. The dealer is not required to obtain a physical certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor in the dealer's name.

(2) A clerk shall charge and collect from a dealer a fee of five dollars for each watercraft or outboard motor assignment sent by the dealer to the clerk under division (A)(1) of this section. The fee shall be distributed in accordance with section 1548.10 of the Revised Code.

(B) If a person who is not an electronic watercraft dealer owns a watercraft or outboard motor for which a physical certificate of title has not been issued by a clerk of a court of common pleas and the person sells the watercraft or outboard motor to a person who is not a watercraft dealer registered under section 1547.543 of the Revised Code, the person shall obtain a physical certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor in order to transfer ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor to that person.

Effective Date: 04-06-2007; 2008 SB271 06-13-2008

1548.04 Evidencing ownership.

No person acquiring a watercraft or outboard motor from the owner thereof, whether such owner is a manufacturer, importer, dealer, or otherwise, shall acquire any right, title, claim, or interest in or to such watercraft or outboard motor until such person has had issued to him a certificate of title to such watercraft or outboard motor, or delivered to him a manufacturer's or importer's certificate for it. Nor shall any waiver or estoppel operate in favor of such person against a person having possession of such certificate of title, or manufacturer's or importer's certificate for such watercraft or outboard motor, for a valuable consideration.

No court in any case at law or in equity shall recognize the right, title, claim, or interest of any person in or to any watercraft or outboard motor sold or disposed of, or mortgaged or encumbered, unless evidenced:

(A) By a certificate of title or a manufacturer's or importer's certificate issued in accordance with Chapter 1548. of the Revised Code;

(B) By admission in the pleadings or stipulation of the parties.

Effective Date: 01-01-1980

1548.05 Manufacturer's or importer's certificate.

No manufacturer, importer, dealer, or other person shall sell or otherwise dispose of a new watercraft or outboard motor to a dealer to be used by the dealer for purposes of display and resale without delivering to the dealer a manufacturer's or importer's certificate executed in accordance with this section and with such assignments on it as are necessary to show title in the name of the purchaser. No dealer shall purchase or acquire a new watercraft or outboard motor without obtaining from the seller the manufacturer's or importer's certificate.

A manufacturer's or importer's certificate of the origin of a watercraft or outboard motor shall contain the following information in such form and together with such further information as the chief of the division of watercraft may require:

(A) Description of the watercraft, including the make, year, length, series or model, if any, body type, hull identification number or serial number, and make, manufacturer's serial number, and horsepower of any inboard motor or motors; or description of the outboard motor, including the make, year, series or model, if any, manufacturer's serial number, and horsepower;

(B) Certification of the date of transfer of the watercraft or outboard motor to a distributor or dealer or other transferee, and the name and address of the transferee;

(C) Certification that this was the first transfer of the new watercraft or outboard motor in ordinary trade and commerce;

(D) Signature and address of a representative of the transferor.

An assignment of a manufacturer's or importer's certificate before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths shall be printed on the reverse side of the manufacturer's or importer's certificate in the form to be prescribed by the chief. The assignment form shall include the name and address of the transferee, a certification that the watercraft or outboard motor is new, and a warranty that the title at the time of delivery is subject only to such liens and encumbrances as are set forth and described in full in the assignment.

Effective Date: 03-18-1999

1548.06 Application for certificate of title.

(A)

(1) Application for a certificate of title for a watercraft or outboard motor shall be made upon a form prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft and shall be sworn to before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths. The application shall be filed with the clerk of any court of common pleas. An application for a certificate of title may be filed electronically by any electronic means approved by the chief in any county with the clerk of the court of common pleas of that county. The application shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in section 1548.10 of the Revised Code. The fee shall be retained by the clerk who issues the certificate of title and shall be distributed in accordance with that section. If a clerk of a court of common pleas, other than the clerk of the court of common pleas of an applicant's county of residence, issues a certificate of title to the applicant, the clerk shall transmit data related to the transaction to the automated title processing system.

(2) If a certificate of title previously has been issued for the watercraft or outboard motor, the application for a certificate of title also shall be accompanied by the certificate of title duly assigned unless otherwise provided in this chapter. If a certificate of title previously has not been issued for the watercraft or outboard motor in this state, the application, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, shall be accompanied by a manufacturer's or importer's certificate; by a sworn statement of ownership if the watercraft or outboard motor was purchased by the applicant on or before October 9, 1963, or if the watercraft is less than fourteen feet long with a permanently affixed mechanical means of propulsion and was purchased by the applicant on or before January 1, 2000; or by a certificate of title, bill of sale, or other evidence of ownership required by the law of another state from which the watercraft or outboard motor was brought into this state. Evidence of ownership of a watercraft or outboard motor for which an Ohio certificate of title previously has not been issued and which watercraft or outboard motor does not have permanently affixed to it a manufacturer's serial number shall be accompanied by the certificate of assignment of a hull identification number assigned by the chief as provided in section 1548.07 of the Revised Code.

(3) The clerk shall retain the evidence of title presented by the applicant and on which the certificate of title is issued, except that, if an application for a certificate of title is filed electronically, by a vendor on behalf of a purchaser of a watercraft or outboard motor, the clerk shall retain the completed electronic record to which the vendor converted the certificate of title application and other required documents. The chief, after consultation with the attorney general, shall adopt rules that govern the location at which, and the manner in which, are stored the actual application and all other documents relating to the sale of a watercraft or outboard motor when a vendor files the application for a certificate of title electronically on behalf of a purchaser.

(B) The clerk shall use reasonable diligence in ascertaining whether the facts in the application are true by checking the application and documents accompanying it or the electronic record to which a vendor converted the application and accompanying documents with the records of watercraft and outboard motors in the clerk's office. If the clerk is satisfied that the applicant is the owner of the watercraft or outboard motor and that the application is in the proper form, the clerk shall issue a physical certificate of title over the clerk's signature and sealed with the clerk's seal unless the applicant specifically requests the clerk not to issue a physical certificate of title and instead to issue an electronic certificate of title. However, if the evidence indicates and an investigation shows that one or more Ohio titles already exist for the watercraft or outboard motor, the chief may cause the redundant title or titles to be canceled.

(C) In the case of the sale of a watercraft or outboard motor by a vendor to a general purchaser or user, the certificate of title shall be obtained in the name of the purchaser by the vendor upon application signed by the purchaser. In all other cases, the certificate shall be obtained by the purchaser. In all cases of transfer of watercraft or outboard motors, the application for certificate of title shall be filed within thirty days after the later of the date of purchase or assignment of ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor. If the application for certificate of title is not filed within thirty days after the later of the date of purchase or assignment of ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor, the clerk shall charge a late penalty fee of five dollars in addition to the fee prescribed by section 1548.10 of the Revised Code. The clerk shall retain the entire amount of each late penalty fee.

(D) The clerk shall refuse to accept an application for certificate of title unless the applicant either tenders with the application payment of all taxes levied by or pursuant to Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code based on the applicant's county of residence less, in the case of a sale by a vendor, any discount to which the vendor is entitled under section 5739.12 of the Revised Code, or submits any of the following:

(1) A receipt issued by the tax commissioner or a clerk of courts showing payment of the tax;

(2) A copy of the unit certificate of exemption completed by the purchaser at the time of sale as provided in section 5739.03 of the Revised Code;

(3) An exemption certificate, in a form prescribed by the tax commissioner, that specifies why the purchase is not subject to the tax imposed by Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code.

Payment of the tax shall be in accordance with rules issued by the tax commissioner, and the clerk shall issue a receipt in the form prescribed by the tax commissioner to any applicant who tenders payment of the tax with the application for the certificate of title.

(E)

(1) For receiving and disbursing the taxes paid to the clerk by a resident of the clerk's county, the clerk may retain a poundage fee of one and one one-hundredth per cent of the taxes collected, which shall be paid into the certificate of title administration fund created by section 325.33 of the Revised Code. The clerk shall not retain a poundage fee from payments of taxes by persons who do not reside in the clerk's county.

(2) A clerk, however, may retain from the taxes paid to the clerk an amount equal to the poundage fees associated with certificates of title issued by other clerks of courts of common pleas to applicants who reside in the first clerk's county. The chief of the division of watercraft, in consultation with the tax commissioner and the clerks of the courts of common pleas, shall develop a report from the automated title processing system that informs each clerk of the amount of the poundage fees that the clerk is permitted to retain from those taxes because of certificates of title issued by the clerks of other counties to applicants who reside in the first clerk's county.

(F) In the case of casual sales of watercraft or outboard motors that are subject to the tax imposed by Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code, the purchase price for the purpose of determining the tax shall be the purchase price on an affidavit executed and filed with the clerk by the vendor on a form to be prescribed by the chief, which shall be prima-facie evidence of the price for the determination of the tax. In addition to the information required by section 1548.08 of the Revised Code, each certificate of title shall contain in bold lettering the following notification and statements: "WARNING TO TRANSFEROR AND TRANSFEREE (SELLER AND BUYER). You are required by law to state the true selling price. A false statement is a violation of section 2921.13 of the Revised Code and is punishable by six months imprisonment or a fine of up to one thousand dollars, or both. All transfers are audited by the department of taxation. The seller and buyer must provide any information requested by the department of taxation. The buyer may be assessed any additional tax found to be due."

(G) Each county clerk of courts shall forward to the treasurer of state all sales and use tax collections resulting from sales of titled watercraft and outboard motors during a calendar week on or before the Friday following the close of that week. If, on any Friday, the offices of the clerk of courts or the state are not open for business, the tax shall be forwarded to the treasurer of state on or before the next day on which the offices are open. Every remittance of tax under this division shall be accompanied by a remittance report in such form as the tax commissioner prescribes. Upon receipt of a tax remittance and remittance report, the treasurer of state shall date stamp the report and forward it to the tax commissioner. If the tax due for any week is not remitted by a clerk of courts as required under this division, the clerk shall forfeit the poundage fees for the sales made during that week. The treasurer of state may require the clerks of courts to transmit tax collections and remittance reports electronically.

(H) For purposes of a transfer of a certificate of title, if the clerk is satisfied that a secured party has discharged a lien but has not canceled the lien notation with a clerk, the clerk may cancel the lien notation on the automated title processing system and notify the clerk of the county of origin.

(I) Every clerk shall have the capability to transact by electronic means all procedures and transactions relating to the issuance of watercraft or outboard motor certificates of title that are described in the Revised Code as being accomplished by electronic means.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003; 06-30-2005

1548.061 Casual sales.

Notwithstanding any general requirement in this chapter to the effect that an application for a certificate of title to a watercraft or outboard motor shall be "sworn to" or shall be "sworn to before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths," that requirement shall apply only in the case of a transfer of a watercraft or outboard motor between parties in the course of a sale by a person other than a registered watercraft dealer, as defined in section 1547.01 of the Revised Code, to a person who purchases the watercraft or outboard motor for use as a consumer.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.07 Application contents - permanent identification number.

(A) An application for a certificate of title shall be sworn to before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths by the lawful owner or purchaser of the watercraft or outboard motor and shall contain the following information in the form and together with any other information that the chief of the division of watercraft may require:

(1) Name, address, and social security number or employer's tax identification number of the applicant;

(2) Statement of how the watercraft or outboard motor was acquired;

(3) Name and address of the previous owner;

(4) A statement of all liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances on the watercraft or outboard motor, including a description of the nature and amount of each lien, mortgage, or encumbrance, and the name and address of each holder of the lien, mortgage, or encumbrance;

(5) If there are no outstanding liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances, a statement of that fact;

(6) A description of the watercraft, including the make, year, length, series or model, if any, body type, hull identification number or serial number, and make, manufacturer's serial number, and horsepower of any inboard motor or motors; or a description of the outboard motor, including the make, year, series or model, if any, manufacturer's serial number, and horsepower;

(7) The purchase price, trade-in allowed, and amount of sales or use tax paid under Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code.

(B) If the application is made by two persons regarding a watercraft or outboard motor in which they wish to establish joint ownership with right of survivorship, they may do so as provided in section 2131.12 of the Revised Code.

(C) If the applicant wishes to designate a watercraft or outboard motor in beneficiary form, the applicant may do so as provided in section 2131.13 of the Revised Code.

(D) If the watercraft or outboard motor contains a permanent identification number placed on the watercraft or outboard motor by the manufacturer, this number shall be used as the serial number or hull identification number. If there is no manufacturer's identification number, or if the manufacturer's identification number has been removed or obliterated, the chief, upon receipt of a prescribed application and proof of ownership, may assign an identification number for the watercraft or outboard motor, and this number shall be permanently affixed or imprinted by the applicant, at the place and in the manner designated by the chief, upon the watercraft or outboard motor for which it is assigned.

Effective Date: 07-23-2002

1548.071 Joint ownership with right of survivorship.

Any two persons may establish in accordance with section 2131.12 of the Revised Code joint ownership with right of survivorship in a watercraft or outboard motor for which a certificate of title is required under this chapter and that one or both of them owns. Two persons who establish joint ownership with right of survivorship in a watercraft or outboard motor in accordance with section 2131.12 of the Revised Code may terminate the joint ownership with right of survivorship by applying for a title in accordance with this chapter.

Effective Date: 07-23-2002

1548.072 Designating transfer-on-death beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Any person who owns a watercraft or outboard motor for which a certificate of title is required under this chapter may establish ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor that is transferable on death by designating the watercraft or outboard motor in beneficiary form in accordance with section 2131.13 of the Revised Code. Any person who establishes ownership of a watercraft or outboard motor that is transferable on death in accordance with section 2131.13 of the Revised Code may terminate that type of ownership or change the designation of the transfer-on-death beneficiary or beneficiaries by applying for a certificate of title in accordance with this chapter.

Effective Date: 07-23-2002

1548.08 Information contained on physical certificate of title.

(A) When the clerk of a court of common pleas issues a physical certificate of title for a watercraft or outboard motor, the clerk shall issue it over the clerk's official seal. All physical certificates of title to watercraft or outboard motors shall contain the information required in the application for them as prescribed by section 1548.07 of the Revised Code, as well as spaces for the dates of notation and cancellation of each lien, mortgage, or encumbrance, over the signature of the clerk. If any certificate of title is issued for a watercraft or outboard motor in which two persons are establishing joint ownership with right of survivorship under section 2106.17 of the Revised Code, the certificate, in addition to the information required by this section, shall show that the two persons have established joint ownership with right of survivorship in the watercraft or outboard motor.

An assignment of certificate of title before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths shall appear on the reverse side of each physical certificate of title in the form to be prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft. The assignment form shall include a warranty that the signer is the owner of the watercraft or outboard motor and that there are no mortgages, liens, or encumbrances on the watercraft or outboard motor except as are noted on the face of the certificate of title.

(B) An electronic certificate of title is an electronic record stored in the automated title processing system that establishes ownership of a watercraft or outboard motor, as well as any security interests that exist in that watercraft or outboard motor.

Effective Date: 07-23-2002; 09-16-2004

1548.09 Issuing physical or electronic certificate of title.

When the clerk of a court of common pleas issues a physical certificate of title, the clerk shall issue the certificate of title on a form and in a manner prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft. The clerk shall file a copy of the physical evidence for the creation of the certificate of title in a manner prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft. A clerk may retain digital images of documents used as evidence for issuance of a certificate of title. Certified printouts of documents retained as digital images shall have the same evidentiary value as the original physical documents. The record of the issuance of the certificate of title shall be maintained in the automated title processing system. The clerk shall sign and affix the clerk's seal to the original certificate of title and, if there are no liens on the watercraft or outboard motor, shall deliver the certificate to the applicant. If there are one or more liens on the watercraft or outboard motor, the clerk shall deliver the certificate of title to the holder of the first lien.

The chief shall approve a uniform method of numbering certificates of title. The numbering shall be in such manner that the county of issuance is indicated. Numbers shall be assigned to certificates of title in the manner approved by the chief. The clerk shall file all certificates of title according to policies prescribed by the chief, and the clerk shall maintain in the clerk's office indexes for the certificates of title.

The clerk need not retain on file any certificate of title, duplicate certificate of title, or memorandum certificate of title, or supporting evidence of them, covering any watercraft or outboard motor for a period longer than seven years after the date of its filing; thereafter, the certificate and supporting information may be destroyed. The clerk shall issue a duplicate title, when duly applied for, of any title that has been destroyed as provided in this section.

The clerk shall issue a physical certificate of title to an applicant unless the applicant specifically requests the clerk not to issue a physical certificate of title and instead to issue an electronic certificate of title. The fact that a physical certificate of title is not issued for a watercraft or outboard motor does not affect ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor. In that case, when the clerk completes the process of entering certificate of title application information into the automated title processing system, the effect of the completion of the process is the same as if the clerk actually issued a physical certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 09-16-2004

1548.10 Fees.

(A) The clerk of the court of common pleas shall charge and retain fees as follows:

(1) Fifteen dollars for each duplicate copy of a certificate of title. The clerk shall retain that entire fee.

(2) Fifteen dollars for each certificate of title, which shall include any notation or indication of any lien or security interest on a certificate of title and any memorandum certificate of title or non-negotiable evidence of ownership requested at the time the certificate of title is issued. The clerk shall retain ten dollars and fifty cents of that fee when there is a notation of a lien or security interest on the certificate of title and twelve dollars when there is no lien or security interest noted on the certificate of title.

(3) Five dollars for each certificate of title with no security interest noted that is issued to a licensed watercraft dealer for resale purposes. The clerk shall retain two dollars of that fee.

(4) Five dollars for each memorandum certificate of title or non-negotiable evidence of ownership that is applied for separately. The clerk shall retain that entire fee.

(B) The fees charged for a certificate of title and the notation or indication of any lien or security interest on a certificate of title that are not retained by the clerk shall be paid to the chief of the division of watercraft by monthly returns, which shall be forwarded to the chief not later than the fifth day of the month next succeeding that in which the certificate is forwarded, or that in which the chief is notified of a lien or security interest or cancellation of a lien or security interest.

The chief shall deposit one dollar of the amount the chief receives for each certificate of title in the automated title processing fund created in section 4505.09 of the Revised Code. Moneys deposited in that fund under this section shall be used for the purpose specified in division (B)(3)(b) of that section.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Amended by 128th General Assemblych.9, HB 2, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2009.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.11 Ownership of vehicle changed by operation of law.

(A) In the event of the transfer of ownership of a watercraft or outboard motor by operation of law, as upon inheritance, devise, bequest, order in bankruptcy, insolvency, replevin, or execution of sale, or whenever the engine of a watercraft is replaced by another engine, a watercraft or outboard motor is sold to satisfy storage or repair charges, or repossession is had upon default in performance of the terms of a security agreement as provided in Chapter 1309. of the Revised Code, a clerk of a court of common pleas, upon the surrender of the prior certificate of title or the manufacturer's or importer's certificate, or, when that is not possible, upon presentation of satisfactory proof to the clerk of ownership and rights of possession to the watercraft or outboard motor, and upon payment of the fee prescribed in section 1548.10 of the Revised Code and presentation of an application for certificate of title, may issue to the applicant a certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor. Only an affidavit by the person or agent of the person to whom possession of the watercraft or outboard motor has passed, setting forth the facts entitling the person to possession and ownership, together with a copy of the journal entry, court order, or instrument upon which the claim of possession and ownership is founded, is satisfactory proof of ownership and right of possession. If the applicant cannot produce such proof of ownership, the applicant may apply directly to the chief of the division of watercraft and submit such evidence as the applicant has, and the chief, if the chief finds the evidence sufficient, may authorize the clerk to issue a certificate of title. If the chief finds the evidence insufficient, the applicant may petition the court of common pleas for a court order ordering the clerk to issue a certificate of title. The court shall grant or deny the petition based on the sufficiency of the evidence presented to the court. If, from the records in the office of the clerk, there appears to be any lien on the watercraft or outboard motor, the certificate of title shall contain a statement of the lien unless the application is accompanied by proper evidence of its extinction.

(B) Upon the death of one of the persons who have established joint ownership with right of survivorship under section 2131.12 of the Revised Code in a watercraft or outboard motor and the presentation to the clerk of the title and the certificate of death of the deceased person, the clerk shall enter into the records the transfer of the watercraft or outboard motor to the surviving person, and the title to the watercraft or outboard motor immediately passes to the surviving person. The transfer does not affect any liens on the watercraft or outboard motor.

(C) The clerk shall transfer a decedent's interest in one watercraft, one outboard motor, or one of each to the decedent's surviving spouse as provided in section 2106.19 of the Revised Code.

(D) Upon the death of an owner of a watercraft or outboard motor designated in beneficiary form under section 2131.13 of the Revised Code, upon application of the transfer-on-death beneficiary or beneficiaries designated pursuant to that section, and upon presentation to the clerk of the certificate of title and the certificate of death of the deceased owner, the clerk shall transfer the watercraft or outboard motor and issue a certificate of title to the transfer-on-death beneficiary or beneficiaries. The transfer does not affect any liens upon any watercraft or outboard motor so transferred.

Effective Date: 07-23-2002; 09-16-2004

1548.12 Surrender and cancellation of certificate of title.

Each owner of a watercraft or outboard motor and each person mentioned as owner in the last certificate of title, when the watercraft or outboard motor is dismantled, destroyed, or changed in such manner that it loses its character as a watercraft or outboard motor, or changed in such manner that it is not the watercraft or outboard motor described in the certificate of title, shall surrender the certificate of title to a clerk of a court of common pleas, and the clerk, with the consent of any holders of any liens noted on the certificate of title, then shall enter a cancellation upon the clerk's records and shall notify the chief of the division of watercraft of the cancellation.

Upon the cancellation of a certificate of title in the manner prescribed by this section, the clerk and the chief may cancel and destroy all certificates and all memorandum certificates in that chain of title.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.13 Duplicate certificates.

In the event of a lost or destroyed certificate of title, application shall be made to a clerk of a court of common pleas by the owner of the watercraft or outboard motor, or the holder of a lien on it, for a certified copy of the certificate upon a form prescribed by the chief of the division of watercraft and accompanied by the fee prescribed by section 1548.10 of the Revised Code. The application shall be signed and sworn to by the person making the application, and the clerk shall issue a certified copy of the certificate of title to the person entitled to receive it under this chapter. The certified copy shall be plainly marked across its face with the word "duplicate," and any subsequent purchaser of the watercraft or outboard motor in the chain of title originating through the certified copy acquires only such rights in the watercraft or outboard motor as the original holder of the certified copy had. Any purchaser of the watercraft or outboard motor, at the time of purchase, may require the seller to indemnify the purchaser and all subsequent purchasers of the watercraft or outboard motor against any loss that the purchaser or any subsequent purchaser may suffer by reason of any claim presented upon the original certificate. In the event of the recovery of the original certificate of title by the owner, the owner shall surrender it immediately to a clerk for cancellation.

The holder of a certificate of title for a watercraft or outboard motor upon which is noted an existing lien, encumbrance, or mortgage may apply at any time to a clerk for a memorandum certificate, on a form prescribed by the chief, that is signed and sworn to by the applicant. Upon receipt of the application together with the fee prescribed by section 1548.10 of the Revised Code, and if the application appears to be regular, the clerk shall issue to the applicant a memorandum certificate for the watercraft or outboard motor. If the memorandum certificate is lost or destroyed, the holder of it may obtain a certified copy of it by applying for the copy on a form prescribed by the chief, accompanied by the fee prescribed in section 1548.10 of the Revised Code. In the event of the recovery of the original memorandum certificate by the owner, the owner shall surrender it immediately to a clerk for cancellation. Such a memorandum certificate is not assignable and constitutes no evidence of title or of right to transfer or encumber the watercraft or outboard motor described in it.

The owner of a watercraft or outboard motor may apply at any time to a clerk for a non-negotiable evidence of ownership for the watercraft or outboard motor.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 09-16-2004

1548.131 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 01-01-1980

1548.14 Title information furnished - reports - copies - fees.

The chief of the division of watercraft, upon the application of any person and payment of the proper fees, may prepare and furnish title information in such form and subject to such territorial division or other classification as he may direct. The chief may search the records of the division of watercraft and make reports thereof, and make photographic copies of the division records and attestations thereof.

Fees therefor shall be charged and collected as follows:

(A) For searches of the records and reports thereof, two dollars for each name, number, or fact reported on;

(B) For photographic copies of records and attestations thereof, under the signature of the chief, two dollars per copy.

Such copies shall be taken as prima-facie evidence of the facts therein stated in any court of the state. The chief and the clerk of the court of common pleas shall furnish information on any title without charge to state highway patrol troopers, sheriffs, or chiefs of police.

Fees collected as provided in this section shall be received by the chief.

Effective Date: 08-08-1991

1548.141 Public access to title information via electronic means.

The chief of the division of watercraft shall enable the public to access watercraft and outboard motor title information via electronic means. No fee shall be charged for this access. The title information that must be so accessible is only the title information that is in an electronic format at the time a person requests this access.

The chief shall establish procedures governing this access. The procedures may be established by rule in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. In adopting these procedures, the chief shall confer with the clerks of the courts of common pleas.

Access by the public to watercraft and outboard motor title information under this section shall comply with all restrictions contained in the Revised Code and federal law that govern the disclosure of that information.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 09-16-2004

1548.15 Authorized agents.

Manufacturers and importers shall appoint and authorize agents who shall sign manufacturer's or importer's certificates. The chief of the division of watercraft may require that a certified copy of a list containing the names and the facsimile signatures of the authorized agents be furnished him and be forwarded to each clerk of the court of common pleas in the respective counties within the state, and the chief may prescribe the form of authorization to be used by manufacturers or importers and the method of certification of the names of said agents.

Effective Date: 12-21-1971

1548.16 Administration of oaths.

The clerk of the court of common pleas and his authorization deputies may administer oaths on any application or affidavit required by Chapter 1548. of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-10-1963

1548.17 Notification of watercraft thefts.

Every peace officer, sheriff, watercraft officer, division of parks and recreation officer, division of wildlife officer, conservancy district officer, constable, or state highway patrol trooper, having knowledge of a stolen watercraft or outboard motor, shall immediately furnish the chief of the division of watercraft with full information concerning the theft.

The chief, whenever a report of the theft or conversion of a watercraft or outboard motor is received, shall make a distinctive record of it, including the make of the stolen watercraft or outboard motor and its manufacturer's or assigned serial number, and shall file the record in the numerical order of the manufacturer's or assigned serial number with the index records of the watercraft or outboard motors of such make. The chief shall prepare a report listing watercraft and outboard motors stolen and recovered as disclosed by the reports submitted to the chief, to be distributed as the chief deems advisable.

If, under section 1548.02 of the Revised Code, the chief learns of the issuance of a certificate of title to such a watercraft or outboard motor, the chief shall immediately notify the rightful owner of the watercraft or outboard motor and the clerk who issued the certificate of title, and if, upon investigation, it appears that the certificate of title was improperly issued, the chief shall immediately cancel it.

In the event of the recovery of a stolen or converted watercraft or outboard motor, the owner shall immediately notify the chief, who shall remove the record of the theft or conversion from the chief's file.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.18 Prohibited acts.

No person shall do any of the following:

(A) Operate in this state a watercraft for which a certificate of title is required or a watercraft powered by an outboard motor for which a certificate of title is required without having the certificate, or a valid temporary permit and number, in accordance with this chapter or, if a physical certificate of title has not been issued for it, operate the watercraft or outboard motor in this state knowing that the ownership information relating to the watercraft or outboard motor has not been entered into the automated title processing system by a clerk of a court of common pleas;

(B) Operate in this state a watercraft for which a certificate of title is required or a watercraft powered by an outboard motor for which a certificate of title is required upon which the certificate of title has been canceled;

(C) Fail to surrender any certificate of title upon cancellation of it by the chief of the division of watercraft and notice of the cancellation as prescribed in this chapter;

(D) Fail to surrender the certificate of title to a clerk of a court of common pleas as provided in this chapter, in case of the destruction or dismantling or change of a watercraft or outboard motor in such respect that it is not the watercraft or outboard motor described in the certificate of title;

(E) Violate any provision of this chapter for which no penalty is otherwise provided, or any lawful rules adopted pursuant to this chapter;

(F) Operate in this state a watercraft or outboard motor knowing that the certificate of title to or ownership of the watercraft or outboard motor as otherwise reflected in the automated title processing system has been canceled.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.19 Offenses concerning stolen watercraft and certificates of title.

No person shall do any of the following:

(A) Procure or attempt to procure a certificate of title to a watercraft or outboard motor, or pass or attempt to pass a certificate of title or any assignment of a certificate of title to a watercraft or outboard motor, or in any other manner gain or attempt to gain ownership of a watercraft or outboard motor, knowing or having reason to believe that the watercraft or outboard motor has been stolen;

(B) Sell or offer for sale in this state a watercraft or outboard motor on which the manufacturer's or assigned serial number has been destroyed, removed, covered, altered, or defaced with knowledge of the destruction, removal, covering, alteration, or defacement of the manufacturer's or assigned serial number;

(C) Sell or transfer a watercraft or outboard motor without delivering to the purchaser or transferee of it a certificate of title, or a manufacturer's or importer's certificate to it, assigned to the purchaser as provided for in this chapter, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001

1548.20 Security interest covering watercraft or outboard motor for which certificate of title is required.

(A) Chapter 1309. of the Revised Code does not permit or require the deposit, filing, or other record of a security interest covering a watercraft or outboard motor for which a certificate of title is required. Any security agreement covering a security interest in a watercraft or outboard motor, if it is accompanied by delivery of a manufacturer's or importer's certificate and followed by actual and continued possession of that certificate by the holder of the instrument, or, in the case of a certificate of title, if a notation of the security agreement has been made by a clerk of a court of common pleas on the face of the certificate of title or the clerk has entered a notation of the agreement into the automated title processing system and a physical certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor has not been issued, shall be valid as against the creditors of the debtor, whether armed with process or not, and against subsequent purchasers, secured parties, and other lienholders or claimants. All security interests, liens, mortgages, and encumbrances entered into the automated title processing system in relation to a particular certificate of title, regardless of whether a physical certificate of title is issued, take priority according to the order of time in which they are entered into the automated title processing system by the clerk. Exposure for sale of any watercraft or outboard motor by its owner, with the knowledge or with the knowledge and consent of the holder of any security interest, lien, mortgage, or encumbrance on the watercraft or outboard motor, shall not render the security interest lien, mortgage, or encumbrance ineffective as against the creditors of the owner or against holders of subsequent security interests, liens, mortgages, or encumbrances upon the watercraft or outboard motor.

(B) If a secured party presents evidence of the security interest to a clerk of a court of common pleas together with the certificate of title, if a physical certificate of title for the watercraft or outboard motor exists, and the fee prescribed by section 1548.10 of the Revised Code, the clerk, unless the secured party specifically requests the clerk not to issue a physical certificate of title, shall issue a new original certificate of title from the automated title processing records. The new certificate shall indicate the security interest and the date of the security interest. The clerk also shall note the security interest and its date in the clerk's files and enter that information into the automated title processing system, and on that day shall notify the chief of the division of watercraft. The clerk shall indicate by appropriate notation on the security agreement itself the fact that the security interest has been noted on the certificate of title.

(C) If a security interest is fully discharged as a result of its holder's receipt of good funds in the correct amount and if the holder holds a physical certificate of title, the holder shall note the discharge of the security interest over the holder's signature on the face of the certificate of title, or, if there is not sufficient space for the notation on the face of the certificate of title, the holder shall note the discharge over the holder's signature on a form prescribed by the chief. Except as otherwise provided in this section, prior to delivering the certificate of title to the owner, the holder or the holder's agent shall convey the certificate of title or a separate sworn statement of the discharge of the security interest and any additional information the chief requires to a clerk. The conveyance shall occur not more than seven business days after the date good funds in the correct amount to fully discharge the security interest have been credited to an account of the holder, provided the holder has been provided accurate information concerning the watercraft or outboard motor. Conveyance of the certificate of title or separate sworn statement of the discharge within the required seven business days may be indicated by postmark or receipt by a clerk within that period. If the discharge of the security interest appears to be genuine, the clerk shall note the discharge of the security interest on the face of the certificate of title, if it was so conveyed, and note it in the automated title processing system .

If a security interest is fully discharged as a result of its holder's receipt of good funds in the correct amount and the holder does not hold a physical certificate of title, when the holder notifies a clerk of the discharge of its security interest, the holder at that time also may request the clerk to issue a physical certificate of title to the watercraft or outboard motor. The request shall specify whether the clerk is to send the certificate of title directly to the owner or to the holder or the holder's agent for transmission to the owner. If such a request is made, the clerk shall issue a physical certificate of title and send it to the specified person.

The clerk shall not honor such a request for a physical certificate of title if it is not made by the holder at the same time as the holder's notification to the clerk of the discharge of its security interest.

(D)

(1) In all cases, a secured party may choose to present a clerk with evidence of a security interest via electronic means, and the clerk shall enter the security interest into the automated title processing system. A secured party also may choose to notify a clerk of the discharge of its security interest via electronic means, and the clerk shall enter the cancellation into the automated title processing system.

(2) In the case of a security interest that is being satisfied by a watercraft dealer to whom a certificate of title is being transferred, the cancellation of the security interest shall occur during the course of the transfer. The dealer shall submit a discharge request to the secured party. A discharge request shall include good funds in the correct amount to fully discharge the security interest and accurate information concerning the watercraft or outboard motor.

(3)

(a) Upon receiving a discharge request that complies with division (D)(2) of this section, except as otherwise provided in this division, a secured party shall convey the certificate of title, with the discharge of the security interest noted on its face, to the dealer within seven business days after the date good funds in the correct amount to fully discharge the security interest have been credited to an account of the secured party.

If a secured party is unable to convey to the dealer a certificate of title within the required seven business days, the secured party instead shall convey to the dealer an affidavit stating that the security interest has been discharged, together with payment for a duplicate certificate of title, within that period.

(b) Conveyance of a certificate of title, or affidavit and required payment, from a secured party to a dealer under the circumstances described in division (D)(3)(a) of this section within the required seven business days may be indicated by a postmark within that period.

(4) A secured party is liable to a dealer for a late fee of ten dollars per day for each certificate of title, or affidavit and required payment, conveyed to the dealer more than seven business days but less than twenty-one days after the date specified in division (D)(3)(a) of this section and, from then on, twenty-five dollars per day until the certificate of title, or affidavit and required payment, are conveyed to the dealer.

(E) If a physical certificate of title has not been issued for a watercraft or outboard motor and all the security interests relating to that watercraft or outboard motor have been discharged, the owner of the watercraft or outboard motor may obtain a physical certificate of title from the clerk of any court of common pleas upon payment of the fee specified in section 1548.10 of the Revised Code.

(F) If a clerk of a court of common pleas, other than the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which the owner of a watercraft or outboard motor resides, enters a notation of the existence of, or the cancellation of, a security interest relating to the watercraft or outboard motor, the clerk shall transmit the data relating to the notation to the automated title processing system.

(G) The electronic transmission of security interest and other information under this section shall comply with rules adopted by the registrar of motor vehicles under section 4505.13 of the Revised Code.

(H) As used in this section:

(1) "Accurate information" means the serial number of the watercraft or outboard motor, if any; the make and model of the watercraft or outboard motor; and the name and address of the owner of the watercraft or outboard motor as they appear on the certificate of title that is to be conveyed.

(2) "Good funds" has the same meaning as in section 4505.13 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Watercraft dealer" has the same meaning as in section 1547.01 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-31-2001; 09-16-2004

1548.21 Watercraft not subject of certificate of title.

A watercraft or outboard motor acquired by the owner prior to January 1, 1964, need not be the subject of a certificate of title until it is mortgaged, sold, or otherwise disposed of.

Effective Date: 10-10-1963

1548.22 Remaining fees paid to treasurer of state credited to waterways safety fund.

The chief of the division of watercraft, after deducting the necessary and actual expenses incurred by the division in administering Chapter 1548. of the Revised Code, shall pay to the treasurer of state to the credit of the waterways safety fund the fees received by him under sections 1548.10 and 1548.14 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 12-21-1971

1548.99 Penalty.

(A) Whoever violates section 1548.18 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(B) Whoever violates section 1548.19 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.

Effective Date: 07-01-1996