vessel documentation and boat registration

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Florida Boat Registration Summary

          Florida boat registration summary presents an overview of boat titling, registration, loan perfection, and operational requirements for the State of Florida. More detailed information, forms, guidelines, and other resources are obtainable by downloading a Boat Registration Kit for this state. You will also find an extensive listing of general purpose boat and trailer registration forms on our Forms page. Please visit our State page for additional articles and information about registering or titling boats, trailers, and outboard motors.

The information presented here is subject to change and should be confirmed with the respective state agency.
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Florida Boat Registration

Florida Boat Registration
Division of Motor Vehicles

Boat Registration Statistics There are approximately 889,895 boats registered in Florida. This state ranks 1st among nationwide boat registrations.
Boat Registration Numbering The boat registration number prefix for Florida is "FL".
Registration Agency Division of Motor Vehicles.
Registration Requirements All boats must be registered in Florida except those under 16' without motors.  Military personnel are exempt from boat registration until their out of state registration expires. Registration is required on Coast Guard documented vessels. Boat registrations are issued on an annual basis. Florida residents must register a newly acquired boat at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days.
Title Requirements Boat titles are issued on all registered boats in Florida except those which are Coast Guard documented.
Abandoned Boats Florida has provisions for acquiring title to boats that have been abandoned on private property. Further information on abandoned boats can be found in our boat registration kit for this state.
Conditional Titling Florida does not have provisions for conditional or bonded boat titling.  A court order is required where proof of ownership can not be otherwise established.
Electronic Titling Florida has an electronic titling program in lieu of paper certificates.
Boat Taxes Sales or use tax is levied on all first time registrations and ownership transfers in Florida. Tax rates vary by county. A documentary stamp tax is also required for boat loan contracts which are executed within the State of Florida. Additional information on boat taxes can be found in our boat registration kit for this state.
Loan Perfection Security interests on non-documented boats which are state titled must be recorded on the state title records. On Coast Guard documented vessels, a preferred mortgage must be recorded on the vessel's abstract of title. A UCC financing statement must be filed if the boat is neither titled or documented.
Boat Records Boat registration records are maintained for 10 years. Detailed information on how to obtain verbal and written reports can be found in our boat registration kit for this state.
Ownership Designations Co-owners are recognized by "and" or "or" designations. Other types of joint tenancy are also recognized.
Residency Requirements A boat must be located in Florida to qualify for registration and titling, but owner residency is not required.
Reporting Requirements The sale, abandonment, theft, or destruction of a Florida registered boat must be reported to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days.
Hull Inspections Hull identification numbers must be inspected by a Florida law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy.
Outboard Motors Florida does not require registration and titling on outboard motors.
Boat Trailers Boat trailers are registered in Florida. Titles are required on boat trailers weighing over 2,000 lbs.
Notary Public An embossing seal or inked stamp must be employed by notaries in this state.
Dealer Licensing Boat dealers and brokers are licensed and must provide a $25,000 surety bond.
Visitation Period A visitation period of 90 days is allowed in Florida for any vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded by: (1) Another state pursuant to a federally approved numbering system; (2) The United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system; (3) or The United States Coast Guard for a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state.

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