boat registration - Coast Guard vessel documentation - yacht registry

Hawaii Boat Registration Summary

Hawaii 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 Hawaii. 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.
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Boat Registration Agency Hawaii Boat RegistrationState of Hawaii
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Boating and Ocean Resources

Boat Registration Website
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Registration Overview Hawaii boat registrations are administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources in Honolulu. Hawaii is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Titling and registration is not required in Hawaii for outboard boat motors. Registration is required for boat trailers but titles are not available. There is no state sales tax in Hawaii.
There are approximately 11,658 boats registered in the State of Hawaii. This accounts for 0.4% of all nationwide registrations.
Marking Requirements Boat registration numbers in Hawaii begin with an "HA" 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 Department of Land and Resources for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "HAZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Hawaii.
Registration Requirements Unless otherwise exempted, all boats must become registered in Hawaii. Exceptions include a vessel's lifeboat used solely for lifesaving purposes, a manually propelled recreational vessel, a recreational vessel eight feet or less in length propelled solely, and boats registered in another state for a visitation period of 90 days. USCG documented vessels must be registered unless they are endorsed for commercial usage. Hawaii does not have provisions for bonding or conditional registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available.
Hawaii 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 transfer, abandonment, theft, or destruction of a Hawaii registered boat must be reported to the Division of Boating and Ocean Resources within 7 days.
Ownership and Liens Hawaii 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.
Title Searches Boat registration records in Hawaii are maintained by the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the general public but registration information may be obtained by telephone or by submitting a registration information request form.
Hawaii is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. State level boat liens are accordingly filed with the Bureau of Conveyances as Uniform Commercial Code filings. It will ne necessary to use a public record vendor to search their records.
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 Hawaii. 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.
Resources Boat History Search Database
Boat Record Request Form
Public Record Vendors
Vessel Documentation Companies
Wiki Contributors Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources


Visit our database page for the nation's premier boat history report with a full compliment of title search resources. Includes eight maritime databases all rolled into one convenient interface. A must-have service for any prospective buyer, marine lender, or maritime professional.


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