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New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire. 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

New Hampshire is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. All non-exempt boats operating within this jurisdiction are administered by the Division of Motor Vehicles in Concord. This state does not issue registrations or titles on outboard motors. Boat trailer registration is required in New Hampshire and titles are required for those weighing over 3,000 lbs. are required for those weighing over 3,000 lbs.

Unless otherwise exempted, all motorboats of any size, and sailboats or sailboards 12 feet in length or longer must be registered in New Hampshire. USCG documented vessels are also subject to registration in New Hampshire. Exceptions are sailboats and sailboards under 12 feet in length, other small, non-motorized vessels such as canoes and kayaks.

New Hampshire 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 approximately 101,312 boats registered in the State of New Hampshire. This accounts for 0.9% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Boat registration numbers in New Hampshire begin with an "NH" 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 Marine Police Division for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "ALZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. The boat must be inspected by a law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy in the hull identification number.

Recording Methods

New Hampshire is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Registration certificates may however serve as quasi-proof of ownership unless the vessel is USCG documented. Security interests non-titled and non-documented boats are therefore 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 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 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 and title records in New Hampshire are maintained in a database which is administered by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Access to such data is available to boat owners, those authorized by the owner and other entitled parties. Insights on how to search for boat registration, title or historical information and where to obtain record copies can be found in WikiLinks.

New Hampshire is a registration only state and does not issue boat titles. Security interests in non-documented boats are accordingly filed with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site or by using 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.

Taxes and Insurance

Sales and use tax do not apply to boat transactions. Visit the Department of Revenue link in WikiTags for more information.

New Hampshire does not require liability insurance for boats operating on their waters.

Operating and Safety

Boating education is required in New Hampshire if you are at least 16 years old and will be operating a vessel powered by a motor of more than 25 hp or a ski craft.

Transfers of ownership, abandonments, destructions, and thefts of registered boats must be reported 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.

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3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.



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