Virginia Boat Registration

Virginia Boat Titles and Registration info

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.

Virginia 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 Virginia. 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 Virginia 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 VA.

Where are Virginia Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Virginia issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the VA STATE Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) in Richmond. This state does not issue titles and registrations for outboard motors. However, they can be listed on the boat registration records. Boat trailer registration and titling is required in Virginia.

Does Virginia 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 225,000 boats registered in the State of Virginia make up 2% of all USA vessel registrations?

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

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

PodCast: Virginia boat registration

Virginia Boat Registration Numbers

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

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the DWR in VA. 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 Virginia are maintained by the Department of Wildlife Resources. This agency does facilitate online searches on their website but only if you have a subscription. Alternatively, you can search the boat-alert.com database for a one-time fee.

Virginia 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 Virginia

  • TITLING
    • REQUIRED: Yes EFFECTIVE DATE : 1/1/1982
    • VESSEL TYPES: all size motorboats and sail only vessels over 18 feet
    • EXEMPTIONS: Amphibious vessels if titled with DMV, Documented vessels, barges
    • FEES: Titling fee: $10.00 Duplicate Title: $2:00 Supplemental Lien : $7.00 Motor change: $2.00
    • DUPLICATE FEE:
    • TRANSFER FEE: $7.00 plus 2% watercraft tax
  • REGISTRATION
    • VESSEL TYPES: any watercraft propelled by a motor and used on public waters
    • EXEMPTIONS: non-powered, boats used on private waters
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: No
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 90 consecutive days
    • FEES: 16′ – 25′ 11″ $49.00
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: $9.00 (includes decal as they are on the same carrier)
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: $9.00 (includes registration as they are on the same carrier)
    • TRANSFER FEE: fees listed under #15 plus the$ 7 titling fee and the 5% watercraft sales tax
    • LATE FEE: No
Infographic Virginia HIN Search
Infographic: Virginia Boat Registration

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