California 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 California. 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.
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The information presented here is subject to change and should be confirmed with the respective state agency.
|Boat Registration Agency||State of California
Department of Motor Vehicles.
Boat Registration Website
|Please contribute any experience or knowledge you may have about registering a boat in California .... Wiki-Share|
|Registration Overview||Boat registration and titling in the State of California is
administered through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The home office in located
in Sacramento and there are regional service centers located throughout most
populated areas. California issues both registrations and titles for boats. Outboard
boat motors are not registered. Titling and registration is required for boat
|Marking Requirements||Boat registration numbers in California begin with an "CA" 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.
Registration is required unless otherwise exempted, for every sail-powered vessel over 8' in
length and every motor-driven vessel, regardless of length,
which is used or on the waters of this state. Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from
registration requirements. A complete list of other exemptions can be found by visiting
the DMV website.
|Ownership and Liens||Security interests in non-documented boats are recorded with the
Department of Motor vehicles. These will be shown on both the
and title when applicable. All titles with active security interests are sent directly
to the secured party. Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration
database or perhaps recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings. A UCC financing
statement must be filed if the boat is neither titled or documented. There are no provisions for recording mechanic's
liens or other non-secured claims against registered boats which are not documented.
|Title Searches||Boat title and registration records in California are maintained by
the Department of Motor Vehicles. The agency does not facilitate online searches for
the general public due to strict privacy laws. However, record printouts may be
obtained by an owner or otherwise qualified party by submitting a boat record
request form. It has also been reported that the DMV will check their database by
telephone for a hull identification number or verify registration information if you
have a copy of the certificate in hand.
Boat Record Request by Owner
Boat Record Request by Non-Owner
Boat Record Request by Lien-Holder
Boat Record Request by Attorney
Public Record Vendors
Business Entity Search
Vessel Documentation Companies
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