Connecticut Boating Requirements
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Oct 5, 2023 - Connecticut boating requirements summary provides everything you should know about boat registration, titling, recording methods, database search lookups, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Connecticut. This is a free and open community resource where boaters are encouraged to WikiShare experiences for the benefit of others.
Registration - Titling
Connecticut issues both registrations and titles for non-exempt boats operating within their jurisdiction. These are administered through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The home office is located in Wethersfield and there are regional service centers located throughout the state. Boat transactions are basically handled in the same manner as vehicles although requirements and exemptions may vary. Outboard motors are not titled or registered in Connecticut. Boat trailers weighing over 3,000 must be registered and titled.
All non-exempt boats with a motor, regardless of size must be registered in Connecticut. Sailboats that are 19 1/2 feet or larger with or without a motor must also be registered. Registration is also required for Coast Guard documented boats. Exemptions include boats registered in another state during a 60 day visitation period. A complete list of exemptions can be found by visiting the DMV website. The DMV also has provisions for registering a boat that has been repossessed and foreclosed upon and has procedures for registering abandoned boats. Ownership transfers and abandonments must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days.
Boats eligible for titles are those with a model year of 2017 and newer, or vessels that were previously documented either US or Foreign.
Connecticut has adopted the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA) which basically sets the same nationwide standards for boat titling as those established for vehicles. Boat registration applicants must accordingly declare whether to their knowledge, a previous title has been salvage or damage branded. This state also participates in the Vessel Identification System (VIS) where boat registration data is shared with other government agencies throughout the country.
There are approximately 86,816 boats registered in the State of Connecticut. This accounts for 0.7% of all nationwide registrations.
Numbering - Marking
Boat registration numbers in Connecticut begin with a "CT" 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. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "CTZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. The boat must be inspected by a Connecticut law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy in the hull identification number.
Liens - Security Interests
Security interests in non-documented boats are recorded with the Department of Motor vehicles on boats that are titled. These will be shown on both the registration certificate and title when applicable. All titles with active security interests are sent directly to the secured party. Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database or perhaps recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings. There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims against state registered boats which are not documented.
Security interests in non-titled and non-documented boats are recorded with the Connecticut Secretary of State office as Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings. Such recordings include original financing statements, IRS liens, judgments, vessels, and aircraft.
If the vessel is USCG documented, a lender's 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.
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.
Databases - Record Searches
Boat title and registration records in Connecticut are maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Insights on how to go about conducting title and registration searches or obtaining copies of current and historical records can be found in WikiTags.
The Connecticut Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) database is accessible from their Secretary of State website (see WikiTags). It is searchable by the debtors name. This is a free service which is available to the general public. It produces records of original financing statements, IRS liens, judgments, vessels, and aircraft.
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. However, these are encoded and can be difficult to interpret, especially on older vessels with numerous recordings.
Abandoned boat information and a listing of such boats in Connecticut can be found by visiting the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) agency's website in WikiTags. Scroll to the bottom of the page for abandoned boat listings.
Information about business entities that own boats registered, titled, or documented in Connecticut can be obtained by searching the Secretary of State business records online. This includes corporations, Limited Liability Companies and other legal entities.
Taxes - Insurance
Sales tax is levied on boat transfers and first time registrations in Connecticut.
Connecticut does not require liability insurance for boats.
Operating - Safety
Boaters using Connecticut’s waterways are required to have either a Safe Boating Certificate or a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.
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
Oct 5, 2023 - Page revised.