As per the law, all vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard are required to register with the state. Most of the time, you would experience no problems in doing so. But if you don’t have the necessary papers, it could be a pain.
You only need the Bill of Sales to register a boat in Alabama, so there’s no need for paperwork. But if you bought the boat from someone not connected to a dealership, you might need a certified copy of the boat’s previous registration.
People must register all mechanically propelled vessels, sailboats, and boats. That is to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all who use Alabama’s waterways.
If it is a new vessel that you have, all you would need to register it is the Bill of Sale. The Bill of Sale must be from a licensed dealership.
Furthermore, it must have a complete description of the vessel. That includes the HIN, year, make and model, serial number, and horsepower of the motor.
The date of sale, the name, address, and signature of both buyer and seller should also be there. If you bought from a licensed dealership, registering your boat will be a walk in the park.
If you bought a used vessel from another person, things get a little complicated.
The Bill of Sales does not need to be notarized, but that would help. Also, you would need supporting documents such as a previously issued proof of insurance for the vessel in the previous owner’s name. You also have to provide the most recent registration certificate.
Unfortunately, you may not have all these documents at hand. Maybe you got the boat from someone who never registered it under his name. And they lost contact with the original owner who gave it to them.
That would be a big problem. But worry not, we got you covered. Here’s what you need to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Step 1: Prepare the Bill of Sales
The Bill of Sales is perhaps the most important thing you need for registration. Alabama does not require titles, so that is off the list. However, for the Bill of Sale to be valid, several checkboxes must be ticked.
The Bill of Sales must include the seller’s signature notarized for a smooth sailing process but is not required. The amount paid for the vessel, the date of sale, the name, address, and signature of both buyer and seller should also be stated in the Bill of Sale.
It should also have a complete description of the boat you are trying to register.
The said information is the HIN, year, make and model, serial number of the motor, and horsepower of the motor. If a Bill of Sale declares “other valuable considerations,” each consideration must be itemized on it. The value assigned to each consideration should also be there.
Step 2: Call the Alabama Marine Police to get a certified copy of the boat’s previous registration
Now, you need to get your hands on a certified copy of the boat’s previous registration.
If you don’t have the contact details of the person you bought it from, you must obtain it from somewhere else. You can contact the Alabama Marine Police for this matter.
Ask for someone who can provide you with a certified copy of the previous registration by email. However, this method only works if the boat is last registered in Alabama.
Suppose the boat is registered in another state. Do not worry. The people in Alabama Marine Police will know what to do. They will direct you to where you can get the certified copy.
Step 3: Take the boat to DMV for VIN inspection
You may need to take your boat to the Department of Motor Vehicles for inspection. There, the inspection person will run the VIN (vehicle identification number) for any leans or warrants. They will do this to identify whether or not the boat is stolen.
Step 4: Bring the documents to Court to register your boat
Now that you have the necessary documents, you can proceed to the Court House. Your mobile county in Alabama should register your boat after you present the certified copy of the boat’s previous registration and the Bill of Sale. A driver’s license or 2 IDs showing residence will also be required.
Step 5: Wait for approval.
Last, pay the registration fee. Its amount depends on the length of your boat.
This fee will be used to help contribute to the maintenance and conservation of state waterways. So, in the end, it is still for you. That said, it would be best not to be stingy.
After this, wait while they process your registration. You should receive the green light soon. With that, you can finally take your boat out and do offshore fishing with it.
Registering a boat in Alabama is super easy because it only requires a Bill of Sales. In certain circumstances, you may also need to provide a certified copy of its previous registration. But with the help of authorities, you can easily get your hands on that.