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Maine 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 Maine. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular jurisdiction. Simply click on the above WikiShare link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.

Registration and Titling

Maine is a boat registration only state and does not issue titles. All non-exempt boats operating within this jurisdiction are administered by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Augusta. Registration and title certificates are not issued for outboard motors in the State of Maine. Boat trailer registration is required and those weighing over 3,000 lbs. are also titled.

All motorboats of any size must be registered in Maine except lifeboats and boats used exclusively for racing purposes. Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration. Visit their boat registration website in WikiTags for additional information.

Maine does not have provisions for bonded or conditional boat registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. Under these circumstances it will be necessary to petition a court of local jurisdiction for an award of ownership.

There are no special provisions for registering abandoned boats in Maine. Abatement is handled through the local county sheriffs office.

There are approximately 108,721 boats registered in the State of Maine. This accounts for 0.9% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Boat registration numbers in Maine begin with an "ME" 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 Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "MEZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number Inspections are not required for boat registrations in Maine.

Recording Methods

Maine 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 USCG 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.

Record Searches

Boat registration records in Maine are administered by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Boat registration search lookups and database records are available to owners and the general public(see WikiTags).

Online Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) searches are available from their web site or can be obtained 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. 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. A link for instructions on how to go about this can be found in WikiTags.

Taxes and Insurance

Sales tax is due on boat transactions and a yearly excise tax applies to boat registrations. Visit the Main Revenue Services link in WikiTags for additional information.

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

Operating and Safety

Transfer, abandonment, theft, or destruction of a Maine registered boat must be reported to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife within 10 days.

A person must be at lest 12 years old to operate a motorboat propelled by machinery of more than 10 horsepower unless under the immediate supervision of a person in the motorboat who is at least 16 years of age. No one under 16 years of age may operate a PWC. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 17 years may operate a PWC if they are accompanied on board by a person 18 years of age or have completed an approved safety education course and carry on board proof of age and course completion.


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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4/4/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.



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