Delaware Boat Registration

Delaware Boat Registration HIN Check

Example where to find the Boat Registration Number and title Decal sticker
Example where to find the Boat State Registration Number and title Decal sticker. State letters differ.

Delaware boat registration FAQs are found below and can be downloaded as PDF. We have written this page to inform the boating community about registration requirements, recording methods, and title search guidelines for the State of Delaware. We also cover the titling fees if applicable.

We will cover information about the Boat Registration Agency in this state and if you are wondering about Registration and marking requirements we have an overview of that as well. We also talk about Registration Requirements for boats in Delaware along with things you need to know about boat Ownership and Liens so you can better perform Boat Title Searches or boat history lookups in DL.

Where are Delaware Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Delaware issues registrations and NOT titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DNREC) in Dover. Titling and registration is not required in for outboard boat motors in Delaware. Boat trailers are subject to titling and registration.

Does Delaware have clean titles? Boat titles are always “clean” unless a state has enacted UCOTVA. All other states will not have any indication on the title that the boat has a salvage or total loss brand like cars have on their titles.

Did you know that 60,000 boats registered in the State of Delaware make up 0.6% of all USA vessel registrations?

Chart: Delaware Recreational Vessel Registration Counts by year
Chart: Delaware Recreational Vessel Registration Counts by year

For more boating statistics see: Volume of Recreational boating vessels in the U.S.

Podcast: Delaware boat registration

Delaware Boat Registration Numbers

Delaware boat registration numbers begin with a “DL”. The DL designation is followed by four numbers and then two letters like in most states. You will have to display these as shown above, if your boat is not documented at the USCG. Put the DL boat registration sticker tab next to it. The state reg. number should not be confused with the 12 character Hull ID (HIN).

All boats 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 “DLZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Delaware unless there is a discrepancy. (use HinDecoder.com to validate your HIN formatting is good)

Order engraved HIN Tag ID Plate from ebay here.

Sample HIN Tag ID Plate
Sample HIN Tag ID Plate

New requirement as of January 1, 2022: Picture or pencil tracing/rubbing of the Hull Identification Number is required by Delaware for the registration application. Copy of owners drivers license or passport.

Exceptionally, a Coast Guard documented vessel does not need to display the state registration number but instead they would display the state registration tabs, an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. The USCG Official documentation number must also be affixed on other locations on the boat: interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.

Boat Liens Database In Delaware

Security interests in Delaware are not recorded on the boat title since it is not a titling state. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or USCG documented are recorded with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings. If the vessel is USCG documented, a lender’s security interests will be recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) and are indexed on the boat’s abstract of title. This is different from state registration lookups and can be ordered at boat-abstract.com.

Tax liens may be flagged on boat registration records, recorded as UCC 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 state titled boats. Uniform Commercial Code searches are available online from the Secretary of State.

Boat title and registration records in Delaware are maintained by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DNREC). This agency does not facilitate online searches on their website but you can search the boat-alert.com database.

Delaware Boat Registration Lookup

The Boat-Alert.com database combines 72+ nationwide databases into a single place so you can search in a matter of minutes. These include records for stolen boats, marine lien claims, boating accidents, pollution incidents, auctioned boats, factory recalls, and boat manufacturers.

Search a Boat Hull ID history report with Boat-Alert.com
Click to Order a HIN Search

Titling & Registration Requirements in Delaware

  • TITLING
    • REQUIRED: No
    • VESSEL TYPES: N/A
    • EXEMPTIONS: Foreign vessels temporarily using State water; Military or public vessels of he US, except recreational-type public vessels; Vessels owned by the State or subdivision thereof, other than this State principally used for government, purpose and clearly identifiable as such; Vessel used exclusively as a boat docking facility, or ship’s lifeboats; and US Coast Guard Documented vessels.
    • FEES: WE DO NOT TITLE BOATS
    • DUPLICATE FEE: N/A
    • TRANSFER FEE: N/A
  • REGISTRATION
    • VESSEL TYPES: ALL MECHANICALLY POWERED VESSELS
    • EXEMPTIONS: DOCUMENTED; GOVERNMENT; FOREIGN; MILITARY; OTHER STATE OWNED VESSELS
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: No
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 60 DAYS
    • FEES: <16 = $20/year; 16<26 = $40/year; 26<40 = $60/year; 40<65 = $100/year; 65+ = $120/year. They also have prices to renew for three years.
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: Duplicate registration is free (decals) but is we issue a new card, card is $2.30
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: Duplicate decals are free
    • TRANSFER FEE: $3.45 IF VESSEL IS CURRENT, IF NOT PAY REGISTRATION FEE AS LISTED PREVIOUSLY
    • LATE FEE: No
Infographic: Delaware Boat Registration
Infographic: Delaware Boat Registration

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