A boat out on the ocean near Texas.

Quick, think of three words you associate with boats.

If you thought lake, suntan oil and skiing, then you have friends who own boats and are nice enough to invite you along.

If you thought repairs, money pit and disputes, then you are a boat owner. It would behoove you to know the lien laws that govern boats (and apply to motorboats, vessels or outboard motors)

A worker in Texas who repairs a boat may retain possession of it until the amount due under a contract for the repair is paid. If there is no contract, then the amount is for the “reasonable and usual compensation”.

If the worker gives up possession of the boat for a hot check or canceled credit card transaction, then the lien continues to exist. The worker can retake possession of the boat peacefully IF the person who authorized the repair had signed a separate notice stating the boar was subject to repossession. Cost of repossession can be charged to the person who authorized the repair.

Someone with whom the boat is left for care is referred to as a “garageman,” and has a separate lien right based on his care and towing charges. If payment is delinquent, then he can sell the boat at a public sale after giving notice to the owner. There are separate notice requirements that must be met if the boat is required to have a certificate of title under the Parks and Wildlife Code. In addition to personal written notice to the owner, the lien notice has to be filed with the county tax-assessor collector’s office in the county in which the repairs were made. .

There is another type of lien available to someone who furnishes supplies or materials or who performs repairs or labor on a domestic vessel. The lien attaches to the vessel, and its tackle, apparel, furniture and freight money. The list of people who are authorized to incur charges that could result in the lien include the managing owner, the ship’s husband, the master, the local agent, and any  person entrusted with management of the vessel.

Lien rights to motorboats, vessels and outboard motors is a hot topic with the Texas legislature. The statute on the lien foreclosure requirements has been amended six times, with the most recent amendment in 2011. With over 1500 bills on file for the 2013 Legislative session, you can be sure that someone, somewhere, is trying to change them again.

Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.