Arizona Boat Registration Summary
Arizona 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 Arizona. 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.
This information is subject to change and should be confirmed with the respective agency.
Comments - Suggestions - Revisions .... Wiki-Share
State of Arizona
Game and Fish Department
Boat Registration Website
Registration OverviewArizona is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Registration of all non-exempt boats is administered by the Game and Fish Department in Phoenix. Titling and registration is not available for outboard boat motors. Titles and registrations are however required for boat trailers. Boats are exempt from use tax when purchased from an individual. Sales or use tax is due if purchased from a dealer or broker. These rules apply regardless of the state in which the vessel is purchased. There are approximately 129,276 boats registered in the State of Arizona. This accounts for 1.1% of all nationwide registrations.
Registration RequirementsUnless otherwise exempted, Arizona requires registration for all motorized boats. Non-motorized boats and Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration. Boats registered in another state are allowed visitation privileges for 90 days. Arizona does not have bonding provisions for registering a boat without sufficient proof of ownership. Procedures are available however for registering abandoned boats in the possession of a towing company. Boats abandoned on private property are handled on a case-by-case basis. Arizona is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Although registration certificates may be recognized as proof of ownership in some cases, they do not qualify as titles when it comes to security interests.
Marking RequirementsBoat registration numbers in Arizona begin with an "AZ" 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.
Ownership and LiensArizona does not issue boat titles therefore security interests in non-documented boats are recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings. Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as Uniform Commercial Code 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 documented. If the vessel is USCG documented, a security interest may be 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.
Boat Title SearchesBoat registration records in Arizona are administered by The Game and Fish Department. This agency facilitates record lookups in their online renewal system, but only if the boat registration number and certain personal information of the primary owner or renewal number are known. They will also check their database by telephone for a hull identification number or verify a registration certificate if you have it in hand. Record print-outs are not otherwise available from this state, even for an owner. Arizona is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. State level boat liens are accordingly filed with the Secretary of State's Office as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site. 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 USCG 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 Arizona. 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 boat manufacturers. Yacht brokers, documentation companies, and attorneys do not warrant or guarantee titles. There is moreover no such thing as boat title insurance in the marine industry. It is therefore incumbent on the owner to stand behind any such representations. Of course it will be of no consolation if a guarantor is insolvent, non-cooperative, or can not be located. This calls for a thorough background check to ensure the owner's wherewithal for making good on any hidden liens or title deficiencies.