Iowa Boat Registration

Iowa Boat Registration History Report

Iowa boat registration FAQs are found below and can be downloaded as PDF and powerpoint. We have written this page to inform the boating community about registration requirements, recording methods, and title search guidelines for the State of Iowa.

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 boat in Iowa 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 IA.

Infographic: Iowa Boat Registration
Infographic: Iowa Boat Registration

Where are Iowa Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Iowa issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the IA STATE Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Des Moines. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors but note that Boat trailer registration and titling would be mandatory for those weighing over 2,000 lbs.

Did you know that 211,000 boats are registered in the State of Iowa and make up 1.7% of all USA vessel registrations?

Boat Registrations by year in the State of Iowa (source: Nasbla) - Motorized vs. Non motorized recreational boats.
Boat Registrations by year in the State of Iowa (source: Nasbla) – Motorized vs. Non motorized recreational boats.

Iowa Boat Registration Numbers

Iowa boat registration numbers begin with a “IA”. The IA 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 non-documented at the USCG. Put the IA 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 “IAZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Iowa unless there is a discrepancy.

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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 location on the boat: interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.

Boat Alert History Report · Iowa Boat Registration

Boat Liens Database In Iowa

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the DNR in IA. These will be shown on both the registration and title certificates if there are any. 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.

Iowa Boat Registration Number Search Website

Boat title and registration records in Iowa are maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. This agency does not facilitate online searches on their website.

Iowa Boat Registration Lookup

The Boat-Alert.com database combines 68+ 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.

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Titling & Registration Requirements in Iowa

  • TITLING:
    • REQUIRED: Yes EFFECTIVE DATE : 1/1/88
    • VESSEL TYPES: Boats 17 ft or longer
    • EXEMPTIONS: Kayaks, canoes, & inflatables no matter what length, are exempt
    • FEES: All title fees no matter what length of boat are $11.50
    • DUPLICATE FEE: $11.5
    • TRANSFER FEE: $11.50
  • REGISTRATION:
    • VESSEL TYPES: All motorboat & sailboats, canoes & kayaks 13 ft or greater, Inflatable vessels 7 ft or greater
    • EXEMPTIONS: Canoes & kayaks less than 13 ft & have no motor or sail. Inflatable vessels 7ft or less
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: Yes
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: with valid registration in another state & using Iowa waters, 60 days or fewer within 1 calendar year.
    • FEES: TYPE OF TRANSACTION: Cost Fees 01/01/2016 to 04/30/2017, Cost Fees 05/01/2017 to 04/30/2018, Cost Fees 05/01/2018 to 12/31/2018 New Boat or Reactivate- Documented Vessel: $29.90, $21.50, $13.20 Renew Registration- Documented Vessel: $29.90 New Boat or Reactivate- All personal watercraft: $49.90, $34.90, $19.90 Renew Registration- All Personal Watercraft: $49.90 New Boat or Reactivate- Any length without motor or sail: $16.90, $12.90, $8.90 Renew Registration- Any length, without motor or sail: $16.90 New Boat or Reactivate- Less than 16 ft (Motor/Sail): $27.40, $19.90, $12.40 Renew Registration- Less than 16 ft (Motor/Sail): $27.40 New Boat or Reactivate- 16 ft to under 26 ft (Motor/Sail): $40.90, $28.90, $16.90 Renew Registration- 16 ft to under 26 ft (Motor/Sail): $40.90 New Boat or Reactivate- 26 ft to under 40ft (Motor/Sail): $79.90, $54.90, $29.90 Renew Registration- 26 ft to under 40ft (Motor/Sail) $79.90 New Boat or Reactivate- 40ft and over (Motor/Sail): $154.90, $104.90, $54.90 Renew Registration- 40 ft and over (Motor/Sail): $154.90 Boat Title: $12.75 Boat Lien: $12.75 If mailed you will need to add $1.00 per item requested for postage. All boats 17ft long or longer and any boat that carries a lien need to be titled. The exceptions are Canoes- Kayaks-Inflatable vessels regardless of length.
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: $3.75
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: $3.75
    • TRANSFER FEE: $1
    • LATE FEE: $5

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