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