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Mariana Islands Boating Requirements


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Dec 1, 2023 - 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 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). 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

The Bureau of Motor vehicles issues registrations on all non-exempt boats and jet skis equipped with propulsion machinery of any type. Coast Guard documented boats are not subject to registration. A complete list of requirements and exemptions may be found by visiting the BMV website and by following the boating registration law link shown below.

There are approximately 307 boats registered in the Northern Mariana Islands. This accounts for 0.003% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Boat registration numbers in the Northern Mariana Islands begin with a "CM" 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 must display 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 Marine Police Division for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "CMZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.

Recording Methods

Northern Mariana Islands issues certificates of registration on all non-exempt boats. Financers may also be listed on the registration records. Security interests in boats that are not Coast Guard documented may also be recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings.

Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as UCC filings, shown on state revenue records, or filed with a court clerk's office.

If the vessel is USCG documented, a security interest is 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 the Northern Mariana Islands are maintained by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Such records are available to owners and the public. Insights on how to go about conducting boat registration searches and obtaining current or historical records can be found in WikiTags . Security interests in non-documented boats may be shown on the registration records or filed with the Superior Court as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. UCC search information may be obtained by contacting the Superior Court or by using a public record vendor. 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 the registration records, as UCC filings, in department of revenue records, in court 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 Coast Guard 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. It may be worthwhile to contact a professional vessel documentation company for assistance in this regard.

Taxes and Insurance

Under review.

Operating and Safety

The owner of any boat subject to registration shall report within 15 days of any change in information, theft, destruction.


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

Dec 1, 2023 - Page revised.
Mar 21, 2022 - Page revised,.



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