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U.S. Virgin Islands Registration Summary

U.S. Virgin Islands boat registration summary is a free resource designed to inform the boating public about registration requirements, recording methods, and title search guidelines for the territory of U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 territorial agency.
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Registration Agency U.S. Virgin IslandsU.S. Virgin Islands
Department of Planning & Natural Resources

DPNR Website
USVI Boat Registration Information
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Boat Registration Overview The U.S. Virgin Islands registers all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
 
There are approximately 4,479 boats registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This accounts for .04% of all nationwide registrations.
Marking Requirements Boat registration numbers in the U.S. Virgin Islands begin with a "VI" 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 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 DPNR for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "VIZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.
Registration Requirements The U.S. Virgin Island registers all non-exempt boats operating within their jurisdiction. Coast Guard documented vessels are also subject to registration. Boats registered in other states or countries are exempt if visitation usage is less than 60 days. A complete listing of requirements and exemptions can be found on the DPNR website.
Ownership and Liens The U.S. Virgin Islands is a registration only territory and does not issue boat titles. Registration certificates may however serve as quasi-proof of ownership unless the vessel is Coast Guard documented. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or documented are therefore recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings.
 
Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as UCC filings, shown on 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 is 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 the U.S. Virgin Islands are maintained by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the general public but registration information may be obtained by submitting a written request. It is also reported that the registration office will confirm hull identification numbers and provide telephone verifications on registration certificates in hand.
 
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a registration only territory and does not issue boat titles. Security interests in non-documented boats are accordingly filed with the USVI Recorder of Deeds office as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site or by using a public record vendor.
 
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 boat registration records, as UCC filings, in 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 Coast Guard 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 the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 vessels.
Resources Boat History Search Database
UCC Online Search
Public Record Service
National Vessel Documentation Center
Vessel Documentation Companies
Wiki Contributor U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources 

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