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U.S. Virgin Islands 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 U.S. Virgin Islands. 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

The U.S. Virgin Islands registers all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR).

Coast Guard documented vessels are subject to registration. Boats registered in other states or countries are exempt if visitation usage is less than 60 days. A complete listing of requirements and exemptions can be found on the DPNR website link in WikiTags.

There are approximately 4,017 boats registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This accounts for .03% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Boat registration numbers in the U.S. Virgin Islands begin with a "VI" 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 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 DPNR for a hull number assignment. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "VIZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations.

Recording Methods

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a registration only territory and does not issue boat titles. Registration certificates 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 state's registration database, recorded as UCC filings, shown on revenue records, or filed with a county clerk's office.

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.

There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims against registered boats which are not USCG documented.

Record Searches

Boat registration records in the U.S. Virgin Islands are maintained in a database which is administered by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Insights on how to go about searching the boat registration database and where to obtain record printouts can be found in WikiTags.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a registration only territory and does not issue boat titles. Security interests in non-documented boats are accordingly filed with the USVI Recorder of Deeds office as Uniform Commercial Code recordings. Online UCC searches are available from their web site or by using a public record vendor.

Territorial or 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 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 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

The U.S. Virgin Islands has no sales tax, but there is a 4 percent tax on all property brought into the territory from the mainland for personal use. Visit the Bureau of Internal Revenue website link in WikiTags for more information.

Operating and Safety

Boaters who operate a personal watercraft in the Virgin Islands and all boaters between the ages of 14 to 18 must complete a safe boating course.


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.



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