Most boats are required to be registered in their state of use and all states have special boating laws and regulations. Registration is not the same as "Titling," which is required in most of the states where boating is a major recreation. A good place to find details is from members of the National Association of State Boating Laws Administrators (visit www.nasbla.org). Lenders and buyers will want to assure that a boat they loan or borrow on is registered and titled to make sure that there is only one borrower/owner.
Owners of many larger boats (those that qualify are typically 25- to 27-feet long and up) "document" their craft with the U.S. government. Most lenders will require a qualifying boat to be "documented" because it gives a greater level of "lien protection." There are also advantages, and costs, for the boat owner to obtain documentation. Marine lenders, "vessel documentation specialists," and admiralty attorneys are good sources for information and to get the job done.
TITLING AND REGISTRATION covers the smaller transactions and the FAQ on USCG DOCUMENTATION will guide you through the Coast Guard process.
Content courtesy of National Marine Bankers Association