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Missouri 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 Missouri. 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

Missouri issues registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Motor Vehicle Bureau in Jefferson City. Outboard motors are titled and registered in Missouri. Titles and registrations are required for boat trailers.

Unless exempted, all motorized boats and any sailboats longer than 12 feet must be registered in Missouri. This includes Coast Guard documented vessels. Exceptions are those propelled solely by paddle or oars, sailboats or sailboards less than 12 feet in length, or a ship's lifeboat used solely for lifesaving purposes.

Missouri has provisions for titling abandoned boats. A link for instructions and further information can be found in the WikiTags.

There are approximately 287,820 boats registered in the State of Missouri. This accounts for 2.4% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Missouri boat registration numbers begin with an "MO" 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 "MOZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are required if there is a discrepancy with the hull number and on state hull number assignments.

Recording Methods

Missouri issues titles on all registered boats except for those which are Coast Guard Documented. The state does not have provisions for bonded titles or conditional registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not otherwise available. In this case, an award of ownership will be required from a court of proper jurisdiction. Missouri does have procedures for titling abandoned boats.

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Motor Vehicle Bureau. 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.

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.

Record Searches

Boat registration and title records in Missouri are maintained in a database which is administered by the Department of Revenue. Insights on how to go about registration or title lookups lookups and obtaining records in Missouri can be found in WikiTags.

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.

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 and personal property taxes apply to boat transactions in Missouri. Visit the Department of Revenue's website link in WikiTags for more information.

Liability insurance is not required for boats operation on Missouri waters.

Operating and Safety

Transferred, abandoned, stolen, or destroyed boats must be reported to the Motor Vehicle Bureau within 15 days.

Boating education is required to operate a boat in Missouri for those who were born after Jan.1, 1984..


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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