Kentucky Boat Registration

Kentucky Boat Registration History Report

KY boat registration decal

Kentucky 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 Kentucky.

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 Kentucky 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 KY. [Downlead article as PDF.]

Infographic Kentucky Boat Registration
Infographic: Kentucky Boat Registration

Where are Kentucky Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Kentucky issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the KY STATE Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KWFWR) in Frankfort. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors or Boat trailers. They do charge personal property taxes on boats

Did you know that boats registered in the State of Kentucky make up 1.4% of all USA vessel registrations?

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

Kentucky Boat Registration Numbers

Kentucky boat registration numbers begin with a “KY“. The KY 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 KY 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 “KYZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Kentucky 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 · Kentucky Boat Registration

Boat Liens Database In Kentucky

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in KY. 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.

Kentucky Boat Registration Number Search Website

Boat title and registration records in Kentucky are maintained by the KWFWR. This agency does not facilitate online searches on their website but they do have a guide you can read here.

Kentucky Boat Registration Lookup

The Boat-Alert.com database combines 53+ 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 Kentucky

  • TITLING:
    • REQUIRED: Yes EFFECTIVE DATE : 1/1/90
    • VESSEL TYPES: All boats requiring registration (motorboats).
    • EXEMPTIONS: Paddlecraft
    • FEES: $9
    • DUPLICATE FEE: $6
    • TRANSFER FEE: $9
  • REGISTRATION:
    • VESSEL TYPES: All motorboats
    • EXEMPTIONS: Paddlecraft
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: No
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 60 for boats already numbered
    • FEES: (1) With an electric trolling motor as the sole source of propulsion shall be ten (10) dollars; (2) That is under sixteen (16) feet in length shall be twenty-one (21) dollars; (3) That is at least sixteen (16) feet in length and no more than twenty-six (26) feet shall be forty (40) dollars; (4) That is at least twenty-six (26) feet in length and no more than forty (40) feet in length shall be fifty (50) dollars; (5) That is greater than forty (40) feet in length shall be sixty-five (65) dollars; and (6) That is powered by an inboard motor shall be forty-three (43) dollars.
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE:
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE:
    • TRANSFER FEE:
    • LATE FEE:

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