South Carolina Boat Registration

South Carolina Boat Registration HIN Check

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

South Carolina 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 South Carolina. 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 South Carolina 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 SC.

Where are South Carolina Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. South Carolina issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the SC DNR . This state also provides registrations and titles on outboard motors of 5hp or greater. Registration and titling are required for boat trailers weighing over 2,500 lbs. They are optional for those weighing less.

Does South Carolina 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 780,000 boats registered in the State of South Carolina make up 5% of all USA vessel registrations?

Chart: South Carolina Recreational Vessel Registration Counts by year
Chart: South Carolina Recreational Vessel Registration Counts by year

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

Podcast: South Carolina boat registration

South Carolina Boat Registration Numbers

South Carolina boat registration numbers begin with a “SC”. The SC 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 SC 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 “SCZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in South Carolina unless there is a discrepancy. (use 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 South Carolina

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the SC DNR . 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

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 South Carolina are maintained by the SC DNR . This agency does facilitate online searches on their website but you can also search the database.

South Carolina Boat Registration Lookup

The 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
Click to Order a HIN Search

Titling & Registration Requirements in South Carolina

    • REQUIRED: Yes EFFECTIVE DATE : 7/1/1974
    • VESSEL TYPES: Any with non human powered propulsion.
    • FEES: Please reference the SCDNR Website :
    • TRANSFER FEE: $16 if titled in SC / $40 if new to SC – Boats $10 for outboard motors 5hp and greater currently titled in SC or New to SC
    • VESSEL TYPES: Any with non-human powered propulsion
    • EXEMPTIONS: sail boats without motorized or electronic propulsion
    • FEES: please reference the SCDNR Website :
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: Duplicate Registration Card – $5.00
    • TRANSFER FEE: $16
    • LATE FEE: 31 days to 60 days = $15.00 61 days and beyond $30.00
Infographic South Carolina HIN Search
Infographic South Carolina HIN Search

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Categories: To learn more about History Reports for used boats and boat vin check free visit:

Boat Alert History Reports© exists to aggregate boat databases so that shoppers can search and buy a used boat safely while saving time and money researching a used boat's history. We began in 2015 and constantly adding more boat vin number data for USA and Canada to ensure that your boat has a clean history. We are happy to offer a 60-day money back guarantee and proud to have served more than 15,000 customers with their boat HIN Search History needs. boat titles ©. Two percent of all proceeds go to charity. We value fair treatment of employees, customer satisfaction, having the most databases possible, and fast customer service at the core of our brand. View our LinkTree.

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