Mississippi Boating Requirements
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May 18, 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 State of Mississippi. 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
Mississippi issues registrations and titles for non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks which is located in Jackson. Titles are provided as an option for outboard motors. Registration is required for boat trailers in Mississippi.
Registration is required on all motorized boats and sailboats in Mississippi. Coast Guard documented boats are exempt from registration. A list of other exemptions may be found on their website.
There are approximately 128,076 boats registered in the State of Mississippi. This accounts for 1.1% of all nationwide registrations.
Numbering and Marking
Mississippi boat registration numbers begin with an "MI" 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 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 "MIZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Boats must be inspected by a Mississippi law enforcement officer if there is a discrepancy with the hull identification number.
Mississippi issues titles as an option on all registered boats except for those which are Coast Guard Documented. However they are optional on boats 24' or less in length. This state does not have provisions for bonded boat titles or conditional boat registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. In these cases, an award of ownership from a court of proper jurisdiction will be required.
Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. These will be shown on both the registration and title certificates when applicable. All titles with active security interests are sent directly to the secured party. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or USCG documented are recorded with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings. Tax liens may be flagged on boat registration records, recorded as UCC 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 state titled boats.
The Mississippi Department of revenue maintains a tax lien registry database which contains state level tax liens and some, but not all, Federal Internal Revenue liens.
If the vessel is USCG documented, a lender's security interest must be perfected by filing a preferred vessel mortgage. These are recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center and priority is attained according to the date filed. Other maritime liens can be filed in the same manner although they function as notifications only. All mortgage and lien filings are indexed on the vessel's underlying abstract of title.
Databases - Record Searches
Boat title and registration records in Mississippi are maintained by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the general public. However, record printouts may be obtained by telephone or by submitting a boat record request form. It is also reported that DWFP offices will provide telephone verifications on information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand.
Uniform Commercial Code searches are available online from the Secretary of State. However, if there are any suspected state or federal tax liens, it may be advisable to use a public record vendor as they have a much broader access to such filings.
The Mississippi Department of revenue maintains a searchable boat tax lien registry database which is available to the general public at no charge. It can be searched by an individual debtor's name or a business name. Details of the lien itself are available once the lien number has been identified. This contains state level tax liens and some, but not all Federal Internal Revenue tax liens. A link to the Mississippi tax lien registry search website can be found in the WikiLinks.
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. It may be worthwhile to contact a professional vessel documentation company for assistance in this regard.
Taxes - Insurance
Sales tax is levied on boat transactions in Mississippi. Visit their Department of Revenue website link in WikiTags for more information.
Liability insurance is not required for boats operating on Mississippi waters.
Operating - Safety
Individuals born after June 30, 1980 must complete a Boating Safety Course to operate a boat in Mississippi. Persons under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older in order to operate the boat.
Ownership transfers, abandonments, destructions, and thefts must be reported to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks 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.
Credits and References
May 18, 2023 - Page revised.
Mar 29, 2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.