Maine 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 Maine. 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.
Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
Boat Registration Web Site
Please contribute any experience or knowledge you may have about registering a boat in
||Maine registers all boats operating within its jurisdiction but does
not issue titles. The registration process is administered by the Department
of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife in Augusta. Registration
and title certificates are not issued for outboard motors in the
State of Maine. Boat trailer
registration is required and those weighing over 3,000 lbs. are also titled.
Sales tax is due on boat transactions and a yearly excise tax
applies to boat registrations.
approximately 109,774 boats registered in the State
of Maine. This accounts for 0.9% of all nationwide
||Boat registration numbers in Maine begin with an "ME" 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 Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for a hull
number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with
the letters "for a hull
number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with
the letters "MEZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory
designations. Hull number Inspections are not required for boat
registrations in Maine..
All motorboats of any size must be registered in Maine except lifeboats and boats
used exclusively for racing purposes. Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from
Maine 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.
Maine does not have provisions for bonded or conditional boat registrations where
sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. Under these circumstances
it will be necessary to petition a court of local jurisdiction for an award of
There are no special provisions for registering abandoned boats in Maine.
Abatement is handled through the local county sheriffs office.
abandonment, theft, or destruction of a Maine registered boat
must be reported to the Department of Inland Fisheries &
Wildlife within 10 days.
Ownership and Liens
||Maine 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 USCG 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 Maine are administered by the
Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. This agency does not facilitate online
registration searches for the general public. However, they will check their
database for a hull identification or verify an existing certificate if you have a
copy in hand. You can also request a printed report for an existing record by
telephone, fax, or email.
Maine is a registration only state and does
not issue boat titles. Security interests in non-documented boats are accordingly
filed with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC
searches are available from their web site or can be obtained from a public record
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
Non-recorded maritime liens may also be a factor when conducting boat title research
in Maine. 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 documented
Vessel Documentation Center
Public Record Vendors
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife