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Alabama Boat Registration Summary

Alabama boat registration summary is a free resource designed to inform the boating public about registration requirements, recording methods, and title search guidelines for the State of Alabama. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular state. Simply click on the "Wiki-Share" link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.

The information presented here is subject to change and should be confirmed with the respective state agency.
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Boat Registration Agency Alabama Boat RegistrationState of Alabama
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Marine Patrol
     Marine Patrol Website
     Alabama County Websites
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Registration Overview Alabama is a "registration only" state and does not issue titles for boats. Registrations on non-exempt boats are administered by the Marine Patrol Division in Montgomery and can also be handled from county offices. Although the Marine Patrol offers little by way of registration information, such details can be found on the county websites. Titling and registration are not offered in Alabama for outboard boat motors. However they can be optionally listed on a boat registration records. Titling and registration is not required for boat trailers in Alabama.
 
There are approximately 266,157 boats registered in the State of Alabama. This accounts for 2.2% of all nationwide registrations.
Marking Requirements Boat registration numbers in Alabama begin with an "AL" designation which is followed by four numbers and then two letters. These must be displayed on all non-documented boats along with registration sticker tabs.
 
Coast Guard documented vessels may not display the state registration numbers. However they must display the state registration tabs, an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. An official documentation number must also be affixed to a visible interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.
 
All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. Owners with older boats may apply with the Marine Police Division for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "ALZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.
Registration Requirements Unless otherwise exempted, all mechanically propelled vessels, sailboats, and boats for hire must become registered in Alabama. USCG documented vessels are also subject to registration unless endorsed for commercial usage. Exceptions  include vessels which are registered in another state for a period not to exceed 90 consecutive days, foreign registered vessels, and lifeboats.  A complete listing of exemptions may be found on the Marine Patrol website.
 
Alabama does not have provisions for conditional boat registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. Under these circumstances it will be necessary to petition a court of local jurisdiction for an award of ownership.
Ownership and Liens Alabama is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Registration certificates may however serve as quasi-proof of ownership unless the vessel is Coast Guard documented. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or documented are therefore recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings.
 
Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as UCC filings, shown on state revenue records, or filed with a county clerk's office. There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims against registered boats which are not USCG documented.
 
If the vessel is USCG documented, a security interest is perfected by filing a preferred vessel mortgage. These are recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center with the earliest submissions taking priority. Other lien claims can be filed in the same manner although these function as notifications only. All such filings are indexed on the vessel's underlying abstract of title.
Title Searches Boat registration records in Alabama are maintained by the Marine Patrol Agency. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the general public but registration information may be obtained by submitting a boat record request form. It is also reported that the registration office will confirm hull identification numbers and provide telephone verifications on registration certificates in hand.
 
Alabama is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Security interests in non-documented boats are accordingly filed with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site or by using a public record vendor.
 
State and Federal tax liens on boats are not always recorded in a consistent manner and are therefore difficult to identify. They may show up as a red flag on state registration records, as UCC filings, in state revenue records, in a county clerks records, or on a vessel's abstract of title for documented boats. Given these disparities, it may be worth obtaining the services of a public record vendor that has access to a broad range of personal property lien recordings.
 
Ownership, mortgage, and lien search recordings for Coast Guard documented vessels can be obtained by ordering an abstract of title and a copy of the certificate of documentation from the National Vessel Documentation Center. However, these are encoded and can be difficult to interpret, especially on older vessels with numerous recordings. It may be worthwhile to contact a professional vessel documentation company for assistance in this regard.
 
Non-recorded maritime liens may also be a factor when conducting boat title research in Alabama. These include liabilities for items such as services, equipment, fuel, storage, parts, supplies, and damages which can become attached to the boat itself regardless of ownership. One of the most useful tools for doing this kind of research is our premier boat history search database. It is a gathering of eight nationwide databases into a single interface which can be searched by numerous criteria. These include records for stolen boats, marine lien claims, boating accidents, pollution incidents, auctioned boats, factory recalls, and documented vessels.
Resources Boat History Search Database
Business Entity Search
Public Record Vendors
Registration Information Request Form
UCC Online Search
National Vessel Documentation Center
Vessel Documentation Companies
Wiki Contributors Alabama Marine Patrol

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Visit our database page for the nation's premier boat history report with a full compliment of title search resources. Includes eight maritime databases all rolled into one convenient interface. A must-have service for any prospective buyer, marine lender, or maritime professional.

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