You first need to understand some terminology. Motors are not registered in Texas. Registration is evidenced by the tag on a trailer or vehicle, or the "TX numbers" and decal on your boat's hull. These represent taxes/fees being paid and are renewed at 1 or 2 year intervals.
Titles are official state documents that verify the legal owner of an item. Today in Texas, boats and motors are titled separately. The prior owner is correct that motors were not titled if he bought that boat before 1994. He should have had a title for the boat as boats were titled then, but not motors. Did you get that boat title, and did you transfer it to your name at a TPWD office within 20 days after you purchased the boat? If not, that's a mess of it's own that will have to be dealt with.
WHen you bought the boat & motor, you should have gotten a bill of sale. To abide by the law, within 20 days of buying that boat and motor, you would fill out two TPWD forms and submit them requesting that title be issued. In one case, you submit his old boat title and ask for a new one to be issued in your name. in the second case (the motor) your should have submitted the bill of sale and the form for the motor. The form would indicate the motor was previously untitled. The state would then have the option to verify the transaction before issuing the title to you.
You can't apply for a lost title that didn't exist. The step that is missing is that your should have applied for initial title to be issued in your name via the bill of sale when you purchased the boat. Penalties and interest will be due for that transaction that didn't take place within 20 days of purchase.
If you never did the title transfer on the boat, penalties and interest will be due on that also. Hopefully you still have the bill of sale. You could be in a pickle. Call TPWD and talk to them about how to resolve it - if that's possible. Some people skip procedure and end up with what is called an "orphan boat" - one that nobody can prove ownership of, so it can't be titled, and therefore can't be registered for use.
Edited by Flippin-Out (04/30/16 04:59 PM)