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Boat Registration

REGISTERING YOUR BOAT

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Alabama registers all mechanically propelled vessels, sailboats, and boat for hire.
Exceptions:
1.    A vessel operating under valid temporary certificate of number.
2.    A vessel already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to federal law or a federally applied numbering system of another state, provided, that such vessel shall not have been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days.
3.    A vessel under registry from a country other than the U.S. temporarily using the waters of this state.
4.    A vessel owned by the U. S., or a state, county or municipality.
5.    A ship's lifeboat
6.    A vessel not propelled by machinery, except sailboats and boats for hire (rental).

DOCUMENTED VESSELS
Vessels documented with the U. S. Coast Guard as commercial are not required to be registered with the state. Vessels documented as pleasure are required to register, however, they do not have to display the Alabama registration number on the bow. The current year decal should be placed in a conspicuous location on the vessel and the certificate shall be on board when in operation.

ALABAMA DOES NOT REQUIRE BOAT TRAILERS TO BE LICENSED AND DOES NOT HAVE A TITLE LAW ON BOATS

MEASURING THE LENGTH OF YOUR VESSEL
It is important that you list the exact length of your vessel on the application for registration. The length is the straight line distance from the foremost part of the boat (bow) to the rearmost part of the boat (stern). Bowsprits, outboard motors brackets, rudders and other attachments are not to be included in this measurement.

CERTIFICATION OF LENGTH FOR VESSELS FORM

Boats are divided into four (4) classes as follows:
Class I        -    Less than 4.9 meters (16ft)
Class II       -    4.9 meters (16ft) to less than 7.9 meters (26ft)
Class III      -    7.9 meters (26ft) to less than 12.2 meters (40ft)
Class IV      -    12.2 meters (40ft) and above

FEES

First Time and Renewal
Class I       $18.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee
Class II       $23.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee
Class III      $73.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee
Class IV     $98.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee
Class V     $23.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee 
(Dealer)     for each dealer tag

Transfer -  $3.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee
(Applies to vessels with a current year registration but needs to be transferred into new owner's name)

Transfer/Renewal - $3.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee and the correct class fee. Applies to vessels with no current registration that needs to be transferred into new owner's name

NOTE: IF YOUR VESSEL IS BROUGHT INTO ALABAMA FROM ANOTHER STATE, THERE WILL BE NO TRANSFER FEE CHARGED, A NEW ALABAMA NUMBER WILL BE ISSUED. ALSO, IF PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED IN ANOTHER STATE, PLEASE SURRENDER LAST STATE REGISTRATION

Duplicate  -  $3.00 plus $2.00 issuance fee (certificate has either been lost or destroyed)

WHERE TO APPLY

All boat owners (resident and non-resident) may register, renew or transfer ownership at their local county Judge of Probate or License Commissioner. Boat owners (resident and non-resident) may also register or renew vessel registration, with proof of payment of sales and use tax, at the Marine Police Division office in Montgomery, AL. 

If sales tax has not been paid, there is no documentation showing proof of payment of sales tax, or a transfer of ownership is taking place,then registration can only be accomplished at the local Judge of Probate's office or the office of the License Commissioner.

All dealer and livery (rental) must register with the Marine Police Division in Montgomery, AL.
Liveries (rental) and dealer licenses can only be issued from the Marine Police Division office in Montgomery.

You may download and fill out this application prior to registering at the Probate, License Commissioner's, or Marine Police Office.  Be sure to bring all documentation such as previous registration, bill of sale, and proof of payment of sales tax with this application.

WHEN TO APPLY

There is a 72 hour grace period for the registration of a new boat.

If you buy a used boat that is currently registered with this state, you must make application for transfer within 15 days.

If you buy a used boat with an expired registration, you must currently register the boat before it is used.

If you buy a boat that was used for rental purposes, the old number will have to be removed from the boat and a new one issued. No transfer will be necessary in this case.

There is no grace period for a used boat.

The Alabama boat registration system is on a staggered basis. The first letter of an individual's last name determines the month of renewal. The renewal months in which a vessel owner shall register his vessel(s) is indicated below:
January - A, D
February - B
March- C, E
April - F, G, N
May-H, O
June-M, I
July- P, L
August-J, K, R
September-Q, S, T
October-U, V, W, X, Y, Z and all registered under company names. All dealers and liveries.

WHAT IS REQUIRED WHEN YOU SELL YOUR BOAT
1.    Notify the Marine Police Division within 15 days of sale of vessel, specifying the name and address of the new owner and the registration number assigned to the vessel.

2.    Provide new owner with the last registration certificate and a bill of sale.

Notify the Marine Police Division within 15 days when your boat is abandoned, lost, destroyed or stolen. Also, any change of address should be reported.

NUMBERING YOUR VESSEL

Your permanent registration number appears on the right- hand side of the certificate preceded by the letters AL. The number contains 1 to 4 digits plus the 2-letter suffix following the number. This number remains with the boat regardless of change of ownership within the state.


The registration number must be placed on each side of the bow of the vessel for which it was purchased, in such a position as will make it clearly visible at all times. The number must be displayed in three parts with a hyphen or space separating each part, i.e.: AL-1234-AA, and be of a color that contrasts with the background of the boat -- dark on light or light on dark. Numbers shall be BLOCK characters, not less that 76 mm (3 inches) in height, excluding borders and must be of good proportion. Characters of varying thickness, slanted characters, and scroll-type characters are not acceptable. No number other than the number issued shall be displayed on either side of the bow. The validation decal must be affixed within 152 mm (6 inches) before or after and in line with the registration number on port and starboard bow.

HOMEMADE VESSELS

Homemade boats are required to have a hull serial number.

Boat owners registering a homemade vessel shall apply with the Marine Police Division for a hull serial number to affixed to the transom of their boat. It is necessary to give the date construction was completed. There will be a $25.00 inspection fee for any homemade vessel requiring a hull identification number.

Download an application for a state-assigned hull identification number

HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER FOR MANUFACTURED VESSELS

All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required by Federal Law to have a hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. This 12 digit number is normally located on the outside stern of the vessel on the right side, below the gunwale. This number must be included on the registration certificate and application for registration.

Boat owners with vessels manufactured prior to 1972 may apply with the Marine Police Division for a hull serial number which will be affixed to the transom of their boat.

Download an application for a state-assigned hull identification number

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BOAT AGAINST THEFT
1.    Make sure all serial numbers are recorded and kept in a safe place. This includes the motor serial number, model number, depth sounder serial number, trailer serial number, etc.
2.    Never leave the registration certificate on boat unless in use.
3.    Never leave keys in boat unattended.
4.    Lock and chain trailer when unattended, even at home.
5.    If vessel is stolen contact local authorities and the Alabama Marine Police.
6.    For further information call the Alabama Marine Police Division at 334-242-3673.

For more information or questions, e-mail the Marine Police Registration Section.

Download a New Registration, Transfer, & Replacement Application 

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