Vermont 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 Vermont. 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
Vermont issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This state does not title or register outboard motors. Boat trailer registration is required in Vermont. Titling is required for those weighing over 1,500 lbs.
Coast Guard documented boats are exempt from registration in Vermont. Visit the Boat Registration website link in WikiTags for a complete list of requirements and exemptions.
There are approximately 26,641 boats registered in the State of Vermont. This accounts for 0.2% of all nationwide registrations.
Numbering and Marking
Vermont boat registration numbers begin with a "VT" 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 boats 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 "VTZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. The boat must be inspected by a Vermont law enforcement official if there is a hull number discrepancy.
Vermont issues titles on all registered boats except for those which are Coast Guard Documented. Vermont also has bonding provisions for establishing boat titles without sufficient evidence of ownership. This state has procedures for acquiring titles on abandoned boats.
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.
Boat title and registration records in Vermont are maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This agency does not facilitate online searches for the general public due to strict privacy laws. However, record printouts may be obtained by an owner or otherwise qualified party by submitting a boat record request form. Although designed for vehicles, this form also applies to boats. It is also reported that DMV offices will check for hull numbers by telephone or verify information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand.
Uniform Commercial Code searches are available online from the Secretary of State. If there are any suspected state or federal tax liens however, it may be advisable to use a public record vendor as they have a much broader access to such filings nationwide.
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 tax applies to boat transactions in Vermont. Visit the Department of Taxes website link in WikiTags for more information.
Liability insurance is not required for boats operating on Vermont waters.
Operating and Safety
Vermont law requires all motorized boat and PWC operators born after January 1, 1974, to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card.
Transfers of ownership, abandonments, destructions, and thefts must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles 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
3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.