Welcome to our State Boat Registration & Titling page!
state boat registration page contains articles, links, information, and other
resources related to boat, trailer, and outboard motor registration or
titling the state level. It serves as a gateway to our complete
selection of boat registration services, forms, databases, articles, and
guides. You will also learn about the relationships between state level
registration, boat titling and Coast Guard documentation.
About Boat Registration
& Titling - An overview of state boat registration
and titling. Learn about the relationships between state registrations and
titles plus how they relate to Coast Guard documentation.
Boat Registration Summary
Our boat registration summary contains a detailed overview of state level
boat registration, titling, loan perfection, and operational requirements
for every state and territory.
- Answers to frequently asked questions about state level boat registration, titling, operational requirements,
taxation, ownership, and other state related issues.
About Delaware Yacht Registration
This summary presents a general
overview of what Delaware registration is all about, why it has become so
prevalent worldwide, and how it relates to other methods of boat
Boat Registration Services
- Boat registration Services for every state and U.S. territory.
Includes assistance in resolving deficient title situations. Excellent
resource for lenders that wish to secure their marine loan interests.
About Maritime Boat Liens
- An overview what boat liens are all about, how they are created,
various options for enforcement, and their relationship to state boat
titling and registration.
Boat Registration Forms
- Forms designed for state level boat, trailer, and
outboard motor registration and titling. They are fielded for easy data
insertion and come with instructions, examples, and contact information.
State Titling vs.
Documentation - A very informative article that compares the choices between state
level titling and Coast Guard vessel documentation. This will help
prospective buyers and owners decide on the best option.
Registration Defined - Boat registration is a
process by which state and territorial jurisdictions grant
operational privileges for all types of watercraft. This is
evidenced by a certificate of registration which must be present on
the boat when underway. Registration is also a means of revenue
enhancement as it typically involves the collection of fees and
Titling Defined - State boat titling is often
equated to registration, but it serves an entirely different
purpose. This is a service provided in certain states that affords
an owner with a certificate of ownership for the subject boat.
Although boat titles are typically issued in conjunction with a
first time registration, this is not always the case. They may be
attained on a stand-alone basis under certain conditions. Boat
titling is mandatory in some jurisdictions, optional in others, and
not even offered by certain states.
Territorial Registration - U.S. territories such as
American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico and
the U.S. Virgin Islands all have procedures for registering boats.
As a practical matter, their registration requirements and
procedures are typical of those here in the states. All references
to state level boat registration will therefore include the
Comparisons - Boat registrations are
similar to those for vehicles in that they are periodic, involve
tabs or stickers, and registration numbers are issued for both.
However, some boats are prohibited from displaying their assigned
numbers and others may be exempt from registration altogether. Such
contradictions are brought about by the federal government's
involvement in vessel documentation which is another form of boat
System - A uniform numbering system for
non-documented vessels was devised and implemented by the U.S. Coast
Guard some time ago. This involved a nationwide method of
registering boats in a consistent manner. The Coast Guard
subsequently allowed individual states to take over such activities
on the condition they would adhere to the established system. This
resulted in complete abdication on behalf of the Coast Guard which
now administers vessel documentation on an exclusive basis.
Documented Boats - Federal regulations prohibit a
documented vessel from becoming titled in any other manner. State
jurisdictions are accordingly not allowed to issue a title if the
subject boat is actively documented. However, the Coast Guard does
not view state level registrations as titles. Certain states have
therefore elected to register documented boats whereas others may
allow an exemption under such circumstances.
Registrations as Titles - State boat registration
certificates may have the same appearance as titles, but are not
intended for this purpose. This becomes problematic however in those
few states states that still do not provide boat titling
services. Under these circumstances, the respective registration
certificates are widely accepted as proof of ownership when issued
on non-documented vessels.
- When a lender secures an interest on a state titled boat,
the certificate is usually held by the lender. When the loan is paid
off, the lender will then endorse the title and forward it to the
owner. Some states have now adopted a process where this is
implemented electronically and issuance of a title certificate is
withheld until the lender files a release. Although not widely
prevalent for boats, such practice does exist in certain
Operational Requirements - Operational requirements
can vary considerably from state to state with regard to boat
registration. As a general rule, boats over a certain size and those
which are mechanically powered will become subject to registration.
There are also a number of exemptions which may apply
including documented boats, government owned vessels, and those
designed for specialized usage.
Reciprocity Agreements - Residents must typically
register their boat within a certain number of days after bringing
it into their respective state. Non-residents have what is known as
reciprocity or visitation privileges which affords them an exempt
status for a certain number of days. In order to qualify however,
the boat must usually be currently registered in another state. Most
states will forego this requirement when a boat is Coast Guard
documented or foreign registered, but this is not always the case.
Application Requirements - There is considerable
disparity among state agencies when it comes the items required for
registering or titling a boat. Some states, especially those which
do not issue boat titles, may settle for a simple bill of sale as
proof of ownership and nothing else. Others are very stringent and
will demand a prior title, registration, or builder's statement.
Rules also vary with respect to abandoned boats, foreclosures, and
lien sales. Conditional or bonded registrations and titles may be
available in some cases, but a court order is often the only
solution where no other evidence is available. One thing in common
with most states is a requirement that such jurisdiction will be the
place of principal usage for the boat. Hull number inspections are
also necessary in most cases when they are questionable. Citizenship
or owner residency is not typically an issue when registering or
titling a boat on the state level.
Registration Data - In states which issue boat
titles, the registration certificates will usually reflect the same
information as shown on the title. This typically includes the
registered owner and any legal owners or secured parties. This may
not always be the case however in non-title states as loan interests
on non-documented boats are usually recorded via a Uniform
Commercial Code filing. As for boat descriptions, the year model,
make, overall length, type of usage, hull identification number, and
other details are typically shown. A boat registration certificate
will always show the expiration date whereas a title does not.
Taxes and Fees
- Boat registrations are often used by the states for fee and
tax collection purposes. These are accordingly collected whenever a
boat is initially registered and whenever it comes up for renewal.
Such costs will however vary considerably with each jurisdiction.
Registration service fees are always required, but excise, use, and
sales taxes can range from nothing to a nominal percentage of the
boat's value. Although Coast Guard documented boats may become
exempt from registration costs in some states, this rarely applies
to tax assessments.
Errors & Omissions
- Boat registration and title certificates are not immune from
errors, omissions, and other types of deficiencies. These can occur
due to typographical errors when entering the data, inadvertent
misinformation, or by intentional design to defraud by an applicant.
Governmental agencies will not therefore warrant, guarantee, or
stand behind the information shown on boat registration or title
- Many states administer boat registrations or titles through
the same department that handles motor vehicles. Others may utilize
their department of fish and game, natural resources, department of
revenue, secretary of state, or other agencies. Boat titling in some
states is also handled by a different department from that which
administers registrations . Even though boat registration activities
may have become centralized in many states, some will still use
local county clerk offices or private businesses as sub-agencies.
This is especially true for boat dealers and certain brokers who can
register boats from their own transactions..
- The federal government is very open with regard to vessel
documentation records and ownership information. Public access to
state boat registration and title records is however a completely
different matter. Anti-disclosure laws are now in effect for most
states with regard to both vehicle and boat ownership records. This
has resulted from actions taken in the past which resulted in damage
settlements from dissemination of such data. Boat records can now
only be obtained upon written application in most cases and the
requesting party must have due cause for needing such information.
Regulatory Changes - Changes in boat
registration or titling regulations come often and quickly with each
jurisdiction doing their own thing. It can even happen without prior
notice as some unfortunate boaters have discovered. Although we
endeavor to keep current with these issues, it is not always
possible to reflect the very latest data on our web site. We
therefore encourage our readers to always check with the appropriate
agency before taking any actions based on the information contained
BOAT TITLE SERVICES
Visit our services page for a full range of boat title services.
▪ CG Documentation Services
▪ Closing Settlement Service
▪ State Registration Services
▪ Boat Database Services
▪ Boat Title Report Service
▪ Forms Review Service
▪ Boat Deregistration Services
▪ Marine Lender Services
▪ Purchase and Sale Service.
Choice of convenient full services or economical self service kits.
BOAT DATABASE SEARCH
The internet's largest collection of maritime databases all rolled into one
convenient search interface.
▪ Salvaged Boat Database
▪ Boat Lien Claim Database
▪ Stolen Boat Database
▪ Boat Accident Database
▪ Pollution Database
▪ CG Documentation Database
▪ Factory Recall Database
▪ Manufacturer Database
Includes a full compliment of boat title search resources.
BOAT CLOSING SERVICE
A safe, efficient, and economical way for buyers, sellers, marine lenders, and
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▪ Experienced closing agent.
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