Arizona Boating Requirements
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This summary is designed to inform the boating public about title options, registration requirements, recording methods, record searches, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Arizona. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular state. Simply click on the above "Wiki-Share" link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.
Registration and Titling
Arizona is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Registration of all non-exempt boats is administered by the Game and Fish Department in Phoenix. Titling and registration is not available for outboard boat motors. Titles and registrations are however required for boat trailers.
Unless otherwise exempted, Arizona requires registration for all motorized boats. Non-motorized boats and Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration. Boats registered in another state are allowed visitation privileges for 90 days. Visit their website in the above WikiTags for more information.
Arizona does not have bonding provisions for registering a boat without sufficient proof of ownership. Procedures are available however for registering abandoned boats in the possession of a towing company. Boats abandoned on private property are handled on a case-by-case basis.
There are approximately 129,276 boats registered in the State of Arizona. This accounts for 1.1% of all nationwide registrations.
Numbering and Marking
Boat registration numbers in Arizona begin with an "AZ" designation which is followed by four numbers and then two letters. These must be displayed on all non-documented boats along with registration sticker tabs. Coast Guard documented vessels may not display the state registration numbers. However they must display the state registration tabs, an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. An official documentation number must also be affixed to a visible interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.
All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. Owners with older boats may to the Game and Fish Department for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "AZZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. A boat must be inspected by an Arizona law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy in the hull identification number.
Arizona does not issue boat titles, therefore, security interests in non-documented boats are recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings. Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as Uniform Commercial Code 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 registered boats which are not documented.
If the vessel is USCG documented, a security interest may be perfected by filing a preferred vessel mortgage. These are recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center with the earliest submissions taking priority. Other lien claims can be filed in the same manner although these function as notifications only. All such filings are indexed on the vessel's underlying abstract of title.
Boat registration records in Arizona are administered by The Game and Fish Department. This agency facilitates record lookups in their online renewal system, but only if the boat registration number and certain personal information of the primary owner or renewal number are known. They will also check their database by telephone for a hull identification number or verify a registration certificate if you have it in hand. Record print-outs are not otherwise available from this state, even for an owner.
Arizona is a registration does not issue boat titles. State level boat liens are accordingly filed with the Secretary of State's Office as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site.
State and Federal tax liens on boats are not always recorded in a consistent manner and are therefore difficult to identify. They may show up as a red flag on state registration records, as UCC filings, in state revenue records, in a county clerks records, or on a vessel's abstract of title for documented boats. Given these disparities, it may be worth obtaining the services of a public record vendor that has access to a broad range of personal property lien recordings.
Ownership, mortgage, and lien search recordings for USCG documented vessels can be obtained by ordering an abstract of title and a copy of the certificate of documentation from the National Vessel Documentation Center.
Taxes and Insurance
Boats are exempt from use tax when purchased from an individual. Sales or use tax is due if purchased from a dealer or broker. These rules apply regardless of the state in which the vessel is purchased.
Operating and Safety
Arizona does not require boater education or an operator's license.
The information contained herein is subject to change without notice and may contain errors or omissions. Be sure to check with the respective government agency before taking action on any such data. More detailed information about all of these topics can be found in the above WikiTags.
Credits and References
3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.