Delaware 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 Delaware. 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.
Boat Registration Agency
State of Delaware
Department of Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Boat Registration Website
Please contribute any experience or knowledge you may have about registering a boat in
||Delaware boat registrations are administered by the Division of
Wildlife in Dover. Delaware is a registration only state and does not issue boat
titles. Titling and registration is not required in for outboard boat
motors. Boat trailers are subject to titling and registration.
No sales, excise, or personal property taxes are assessed on boats registered in
approximately 58,557 boats registered in the State
of Delaware. This accounts for 0.3% of all nationwide
||Boat registration numbers in Delaware begin with a "DL" 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 Division of Fish and Wildlife for a hull
number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with
the letters "DLZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory
designations. The hull
number must be inspected by an enforcement official if there is
a related discrepancy.
||Delaware requires the registration of all non-exempt motorboats,
including those powered by electric motors. Exceptions include vessels which are registered in another state for a period not to exceed
60 consecutive days and Coast Guard
Delaware 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.
transfers, thefts, destructions, and abandonments must be
reported within 15 days. Boat
registration is available to non-residents if the boat's
principal area of operation is within the State of Delaware. The Division of Fish
and Wildlife does
not have provisions for registering abandoned boats and does not offer bonding or
conditional registrations where sufficient proof of ownership can not be
Ownership and Liens
||Delaware 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 registration records in Delaware are administered by the
Division of Fish & Wildlife. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the
general public. However, the boat registration unit will verify registration
information by telephone if you have a copy of the registration in hand. They will
only provide print-outs upon special written request from the current registered
owner. A boat record request form can be used for his purpose.
Delaware is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. State level
boat liens are accordingly filed with the Department of State's Office as Uniform
Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are not available therefore it will
be necessary to use a state approved UCC service provider. The Department of State
will also provide UCC search information by telephone.
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
Delaware 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
Non-recorded maritime liens may also be a factor when conducting boat title research
in Delaware. 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
Business Entity Search
State Approved UCC Search Vendors
Boat Record Request
Vessel Documentation Center
Public Record Vendors