Connecticut Boat Registration Summary
Connecticut 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 Connecticut. 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 Connecticut
Department of Motor Vehicles
Boat Registration Website
Registration OverviewConnecticut issues both registrations and titles for non-exempt boats operating within their jurisdiction. These are administered through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The home office is located in Wethersfield and there are regional service centers located throughout the state. Boat transactions are basically handled in the same manner as vehicles although requirements and exemptions may vary. Outboard motors are not titled or registered in Connecticut. Boat trailers weighing over 3,000 must be registered and titled. Connecticut has adopted the Uniform Certificate of Title Act for Vessels Act (UCOTVA) which basically sets the same nationwide standards for boat titling as those established for vehicles. Boat registration applicants must accordingly declare whether to their knowledge, a previous title has been salvage or damage branded. This state also participates in the Vessel Identification System (VIS) where boat registration data is shared with other government agencies throughout the country. Sales tax is levied on boat transfers and first time registrations in Connecticut. There are approximately 86,816 boats registered in the State of Connecticut. This accounts for 0.7% of all nationwide registrations.
Registration RequirementsAll non-exempt boats with a motor, regardless of size must be registered in Connecticut. Sailboats that are 19 1/2 feet or larger with or without a motor must also be registered. Registration is also required for Coast Guard documented boats. Exemptions include boats registered in another state during a 60 day visitation period. A complete list of exemptions can be found by visiting the DMV website. The DMV also has provisions for registering a boat that has been repossessed and foreclosed upon and has procedures for registering abandoned boats. Ownership transfers and abandonments must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days. Boats eligible for titles are those with a model year of 2017 and newer, or vessels that were previously documented either US or Foreign.
Marking RequirementsBoat registration numbers in Connecticut begin with a "CT" 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. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "CTZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. The boat must be inspected by a Connecticut law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy in the hull identification number.
Ownership and LiensSecurity interests in non-documented boats are recorded with the Department of Motor vehicles on boats which are titled. These will be shown on both the registration certificate and title when applicable. All titles with active security interests are sent directly to the secured party. Security interests in non-titled and non-documented boats are recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings. Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database or perhaps recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings. There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims against state registered boats which are not documented. If the vessel is USCG documented, a lender's 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 title and registration records in Connecticut are maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although this agency does offer an online registration verification, it is limited in scope. More detailed title and registration details may be obtained by an owner or otherwise qualified party by submitting a vessel record request form. It is also reported that DMV offices will provide telephone verifications on information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand. 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 entities that own boats registered, titled, or documented in Connecticut can be obtained by searching the Secretary of State business records online. This includes corporations, Limited Liability Companies and other legal entities. 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 Connecticut. 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. 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.