Puerto Rico Boating Requirements
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JUL 3, 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 Puerto Rico. 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
Puerto Rico issues registrations for all non-exempt boats operating within their jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Natural Resources.
Puerto Rico requires registration of all non-exempt boats operating within their jurisdiction. Visit their boat registration website link in WikiTags for additional information.
The Department of Natural Resources does not have provisions for registering abandoned boats.
There are approximately 29,624 boats registered in Puerto Rico. This accounts for 0.3% of all nationwide registrations.
Numbering and Marking
Boat registration numbers in Puerto Rico begin with a "PR" 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. Owners with older boats may apply with the Marine Police Division for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "PRZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.
Puerto Rico issues boat registration certificates only and does not issue titles. These may however serve as quasi-proof of ownership unless the vessel is Coast Guard documented. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or documented are therefore recorded through Uniform Commercial Code filings.
Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the boat registration database, recorded as UCC filings, shown on revenue records, or filed with a court 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.
Boat registration records in Puerto Rico are administered by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Vessel registration. Online access to their data system is not available, therefore you will need to contact them directly for verifications and record printouts. Their contact information is available from their website.
Uniform Commercial Code searches may be obtained by contacting the Department of state or through a Public Record Service.
Local 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 boat registration records, as UCC filings, in state revenue records, in a court clerks records, or on a vessel's abstract of title for documented boats.
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.
Taxes and Insurance
Boat taxes may apply in Puerto. Visit the Department of Finance website link in WikiTags for further information.
Operating and Safety
Boat operator licensing is required in Puerto Rico.
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
JUL 3, 2023 - Page revised.