West Virginia Boat Registration

West Virginia Boat Registration History Report

West 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 West Virginia.

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 West 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 WV.

Boat Alert History Report · West Virginia Boat Registration

Where are West Virginia Boats Registered?

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. West Virginia issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the WV STATE Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Charleston. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors but note that Boat trailer registration and titling would be mandatory.

Did you know that boats registered in the State of West Virginia make up 0.5% of all USA vessel registrations?

Boat Registrations by year in the State of WV (source: Nasbla)
Boat Registrations by year in the State of WV (source: Nasbla)
Infographic West Virginia Boat Registration
Infographic West Virginia Boat Registration

West Virginia Boat Registration Numbers

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

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in WV. 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.

West Virginia Boat Registration Number Search Website

Boat title and registration records in West Virginia are maintained by the Department of Licensing. This agency does not facilitate online searches on their website.

West Virginia 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 WV

  • TITLING:
    • REQUIRED: No EFFECTIVE DATE : 7/1/89
    • VESSEL TYPES: Only motorboats
    • EXEMPTIONS: Only motorboats need titled.
    • FEES: $10
    • DUPLICATE FEE: $10
    • TRANSFER FEE: $5
  • REGISTRATION:
    • VESSEL TYPES: Only if other than hand propelled.
    • EXEMPTIONS: Hand propelled
    • USCG DOCUMENTED VESSELS REQUIRED: No
    • NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 60 days
    • FEES: 16 75.00
    • DUPLICATE REGISTRATION FEE: Same fee as above but prorated
    • DUPLICATE DECAL FEE: Same fee as above but prorated
    • TRANSFER FEE: $5.50
    • LATE FEE: No

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