boat registration - Coast Guard vessel documentation - yacht registry

Indiana Boat Registration Summary

Indiana 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 Indiana. 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 Indiana Boat RegistrationState of Indiana
Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Boat Registration Website
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Registration Overview Boat registration and titling in the State of Indiana is administered through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Indianapolis. The home office in 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 Indiana. Boat trailers must be registered in Indiana. Boat titling is required on boat trailers weighing over 3,100 lbs.
State sales tax applies to boat transactions.
There are approximately 219,870 boats registered in the State of Indiana. This accounts for 2.1% of all nationwide registrations.
Marking Requirements Boat registration numbers in Indiana begin with an "IN" 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 "INZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Boat hull number inspections are required for first time registration applications.
Registration Requirements All motorized boats, including motorized sailboats and jet skis must be registered in Indiana. This includes boats with trolling motors. Coast Guard documented vessels must also be registered.
Titling is required for all registered boats except those which are Coast Guard documented.
Indiana does not have provisions for bonded boat titles or conditional boat registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. Under these circumstances, an award of ownership will be required from a court of proper jurisdiction.
Indiana does not have a formal program to address boats abandoned on private property. However it does have titling and registration procedures for those abandoned in marinas.
Transfer, abandonment, theft, or destruction of an Indiana registered boat must be reported to the Marine Police Division within 15 days.
Ownership and Liens Security interests in non-documented boats are recorded with the Bureau of Motor vehicles. 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.
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 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.
A UCC financing statement must be filed to secure an interest if the boat is neither titled or Coast Guard documented.
Title Searches Boat title and registration records in Indiana are maintained by the Bureau 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. Although designed for vehicles, this form also applies to boats. It is also reported that DMV offices will provide telephone verifications on information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand. A Uniform Commercial Code search is necessary to determine secured interests if a boat is neither titled or Coast Guard documented.
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 Indiana. 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
UCC Search
Public Record Vendors
Business Entity Search
Vessel Documentation Companies
Wiki Contributors Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles


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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