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Posted by Steve Ball, Attorney at Law on August 13, 2003 at 15:30:35:

I posted a message on 7/11/03 entitled, "Read this BEFORE buying a used boat". In that message, I basically advised persons considering the purchase of a used boat to check for unsatisfied liens filed in the local records in the county where the seller resides. This is correct.

I now add that persons should also check with the Office of the Secretary of State of Alabama ( for boat liens that may be filed with that office as well.

Because the filing location laws changed January 1, 2002, an unsatisfied lien on a used boat might be filed with local county records, or with the Secretary of State, or both. A person contemplating the purchase of a used boat should therefore check local county records and the "central" records in Office of Secretary of State.

Believe it or not.... I had a client that came to my office after seeing this post. He hired me to conduct a lien search for him on a 1997 used bass boat being offered by a reputable boat yard. The search revealed a $15,000 unsatisfied lien on the boat he was about to purchase. I think the client was pleased to be made aware of this lien BEFORE he bought the used boat.

Again, this information is offered only as a "heads-up!!" to persons in the used boat market. This post is not an advertisement, nor is it offered as or meant to be construed as legal advice. I am happy to answer questions on this subject, free of charge, for anyone who calls my office. Steve Ball, Attorney at Law, 256-355-9517. P.O Box 1747, Decatur, AL 35602,

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