Montana Boat Registration

Montana 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.

Montana 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 Montana. 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 Montana 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 MT.

Where are Montana Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Montana issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). This state does not title or register outboard motors. However, motor information can be listed on the boat registration records.

Does Montana 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 80,000 boats registered in the State of Montana make up 0.8% of all USA vessel registrations?

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

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

Podcast: Montana boat registration

Montana Boat Registration Numbers

Montana boat registration numbers begin with a “MT”. The MT 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 MT 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 “MTZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Montana 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

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 Montana

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). 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.

Boat title and registration records in Montana are maintained by the MT Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). This agency does not facilitate online searches on their website but you can search the boat-alert.com database.

Montana 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 Montana

  • TITLING
    • REQUIRED: Yes EFFECTIVE DATE : 7/1/1988
    • VESSEL TYPES: Sailboats 12 feet long and longer and all motorboats and personal watercraft.
    • EXEMPTIONS: Non-motorized sailboats less than 12 feet long and manually propelled boats, regardless of length. Also exempt are a vessel’s lifeboat and government-owned boats.
  • REGISTRATION
    • VESSEL TYPES: Sailboats 12 feet long and longer and all motorboats and personal watercraft.
    • EXEMPTIONS: Non-motorized sailboats less than 12 feet long and manually propelled boats, regardless of length. Also exempt are a vessel’s lifeboat and government-owned boats.
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: No
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 90 consecutive days.
    • FEES: Under MCA 61-3-321, all motorboats, personal watercraft, motorized pontoons and sailboats 12 in length and longer must be permanently registered: 1) All Motorboats, Personal Watercraft, and Motorized Pontoons less than 16 feet in length, and Sailboats at least 12 feet in length but less than 16 feet in length = $65.50; 2) All Motorboats, Motorized Pontoons and Sailboats at least 16 feet in length but less than 19 feet in length, and Personal Watercraft 16 feet in length or longer = $125.50; All Motorboats, Motorized Pontoons and Sailboats 19 feet in length and longer = $295.50.
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: No fee for duplicate registration
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: No fee
    • TRANSFER FEE: No fee
    • LATE FEE: N/A
Infographic Montana Boat Registration
Infographic Montana Boat Registration

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