Colorado Boat Registration Summary
Colorado 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 Colorado. 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.
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State of Colorado
Parks and Wildlife
Boat Registration Website
Registration OverviewColorado is a boat registration only state and does not issue titles. Registration of all non-exempt boats operating in this state are administered by the Parks and Wildlife department in Littleton. Titling and registration is not required in Colorado for outboard boat motors. Boat trailers must be both registered and titled. Sales and use taxes do apply for boats and are assessed by the Department of Revenue. There are approximately 94,385 boats registered in the State of Colorado. This accounts for 0.2% of all nationwide registrations.
Registration RequirementsUnless otherwise exempted, any power or sail boat must become registered in Colorado. Exemptions include vessels which are registered in another state for a visitation period not to exceed 90 days. Registration of U.S. documented vessels is also required. Colorado is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Although current registration certificates may be recognized as proof of ownership in some cases, they do not qualify as titles when it comes to security interests. The Colorado State Parks division must be notified within 15 days if a boat is transferred, stolen, abandoned, or destroyed.
Marking RequirementsBoat registration numbers in Colorado begin with an "CL" 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 Parks and Wildlife department for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "CLZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.
Ownership and LiensColorado 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. A security interest on a non-documented boat is perfected with a UCC financing statement. If the vessel is Coast Guard documented, a preferred vessel mortgage must be recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center.
Boat Title SearchesBoat registration records in Colorado are maintained by the Parks and Wildlife department. It 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 Parks and Wildlife office will provide telephone verifications on registration certificates in hand. Boat security interests in non-documented boats can be found by searching the state's Uniform Commercial Code records. This can be performed online 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. Information about business and legal entities that own boats registered, titled, or documented in Colorado can be obtained by searching the Secretary of State's business records online. 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 Colorado. 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 furthermore, no such thing as boat tile insurance. 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.