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Nebraska 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 Nebraska. 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

Nebraska issues registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. Although boat records are maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles, actual registrations are handled by the respective County Treasurer's Office. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors. Boat trailer registration is required in Nebraska. A title is required if the gross weight is over 9,000 lbs.

Unless otherwise exempted, vessels powered by any mechanical device capable of propelling the vessel must be registered. Registration is not required for Coast Guard documented vessels. A complete list of exemptions may be found by visiting the registration website.

There are approximately 79,034 boats registered in the State of Nebraska. This accounts for 0.7% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Nebraska boat registration numbers begin with an "NB" 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 "NBZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. No hull number inspections required.

Recording Methods

Nebraska issues titles on all registered boats except for those which are Coast Guard Documented. However titling is restricted to Nebraska residents only. Nebraska has provisions for establishing boat titles and registrations without sufficient evidence of ownership. This state also has procedures for acquiring titles on abandoned boats. The DMV has a policy for branding titles where a boat has been salvaged and restored subsequent to a total loss insurance settlement.

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Department of Motor vehicles. 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

Nebraska boat title, registration, and lien records are maintained in a database administered by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Boats and vehicles are integrated within the same system. Insights on how to go about conducting searches and obtaining record copies can be found in WikiTags.

Uniform Commercial Code searches are available online from the Secretary of State through a subscription process. 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 use taxes apply to boat transactions in Nebraska. Visit the Department of Revenue link in WikiTags for more information.

Liability insurance is not required for boats operating on Nebraska waters.

Operating and Safety

All individuals born after December 31, 1985 must obtain a boating course certificate to operate a boat or personal watercraft.


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

4/5/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.
8/9/2022 - Page revised.



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