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Georgia 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 Georgia. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular state.

Registration and Titling

Georgia issues both registrations and titles for non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Natural Resources in Atlanta. Titling and registration is not required in Georgia for outboard boat motors. Boat trailers are registered in Georgia but not titled.

Boat registration in Georgia is required on all watercraft except sailboats under 12 feet in length, canoes, kayaks, rowboats and rubber rafts that have no mechanical propulsion (i.e., are paddled, poled, oared or windblown), boats operated exclusively on private ponds or lake. Registration is also required for Coast Guard documented vessels.

Georgia has provisions for removal of abandoned boats, however there are no specific procedures for registration.

Georgia has adopted the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA) which sets the same basic nationwide standards for boat titling as those for vehicles. Boat registration applicants are accordingly required to declare whether there has been any damages with respect to the integrity of a hull by a collision, submersion, lightning strike, fire, explosion, running aground, or similar occurrences. This state also participates in the Vessel Identification System (VIS) where boat registration data is shared among government agencies throughout the nation.

There are approximately 330,270 boats registered in the State of Georgia. This accounts for 2.8% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Boat registration numbers in Georgia begin with a "GA" 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 apply with the Department of Natural Resources for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "GAZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are required from a local law enforcement agency whenever there is a discrepancy.

Recording Methods

Georgia issues titles for all registered boats which are not Coast Guard documented. Security interests are accordingly recorded on the title certificate itself when applicable. If a boat is non-titled and non-documented, security interests are recorded as 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 through 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.

Record Searches

Georgia boat title, registration, and lien records are maintained in a database administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Insights on how to go about conducting searches and obtaining record copies can be found in WikiTags. Security interests on non-titled and non-documented boats are filed with the Superior Court Clerk's Office as Uniform Commercial Code filings. UCC record searches are available online or from a public record vendor. 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. 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

Sales tax applies on boat transactions and there is a yearly personal property tax.

Liability insurance is not required for boats in the State of Georgia.

Operating and Safety

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1998 who operates any motorized vessel on the waters of the state must complete a boater education course.

The transfer, abandonment, theft, or destruction of a Georgia registered boat must be reported to the Wildlife Resources Division within 15 days.


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.

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3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.

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