Washington Boat Registration

Washington State Boat Registration History Report

Washington 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 Washington.

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 Washington State 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 WA.

Where are Washington Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Washington issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the WA STATE Department of Licensing. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors but note that Boat trailer registration and titling would be mandatory.

Boat Alert History Report · Washington Boat Registration

Did you know that boats registered in the State of Washington make up 2.0% of all USA vessel registrations?

Boat Registrations by year in the State of Washington (source: Nasbla) - motorized vs non motorized boats.
Boat Registrations by year in the State of Washington (source: Nasbla) – motorized vs. non motorized boats.
Infographic: Washington State Boat Registration
Infographic: Washington State Boat Registration

Washington Boat Registration Numbers

Washington boat registration numbers begin with a “WN” even though many might think it would have been ‘wa’. The WN 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 WA 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 “WNZ” are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Washington 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 Liens Database In Washington

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Department of Licensing (DOL). 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.

Washington Boat Registration Number Search Website

Boat title and registration records in Washington are maintained by the Department of Licensing. This agency does not facilitate online searches but boat-alert.com has the data. You can however renew online on their website.

Washington 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.

Search a Boat Hull ID history report with Boat-Alert.com
Click to Order a HIN Report

Titling & Registration Requirements in Washington

  • TITLING:
    • REQUIRED: EFFECTIVE DATE : 6/1/83
    • VESSEL TYPES:
    • EXEMPTIONS:
    • FEES: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html.
    • DUPLICATE FEE: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html
    • TRANSFER FEE: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html
  • REGISTRATION:
    • VESSEL TYPES:
    • EXEMPTIONS:
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED:
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED:
    • FEES: 40′ And Over $153.00
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html
    • TRANSFER FEE: See http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/fees.html
    • LATE FEE: For title transfer – $50 on the 16th day; $2 per day after the 16th day, up to $125. No late fee for registration – pay for the entire period if late (no proration)

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