Boat Registration FAQs

  1. Do I need to notify DNR if I sell or no longer have my boat?
  2. Do I need to notify DNR if I change address?
  3. Does a boat using just a trolling motor have to be registered?
  4. I have a sailboat without a motor. Does it have to be registered?
  5. How long does a boat registration last?
  6. How long does it take to receive a boat registration?
  7. How do I obtain a duplicate boat registration (registration card or decals)?
  8. I received a letter asking for additional documents. Can I fax or email these documents?
  9. How do I get a refund for my boat registration?
  10. Can I keep my existing boat registration numbers if they expire?
  11. My boat is registered in another state. Can I use it in Georgia?
  12. Why does DNR require the use of the owner’s social security number for boat registration?
  13. Why do I have to pay a transaction fee to register my boat?
  14. My registration expired and now I’m told the registration numbers on my boat aren’t available and must be changed. Why?
  15. My out-of-state boat title is held by lien holder; how do I get the lien holder to release the title so I can register my boat?
  16. A boat has been left on my property. How do I take control of the boat (abandoned vessel)?
  17. Why did you cash my check for boat registration before sending my registration decals?
  18. How do I contact my boat manufacturer to get a hull identification number (HIN)?
  19. Hull Identification Number Inspection
  20. How do I permanently affix my hull identification number (HIN) to my boat?
  21. Does Georgia register or title outboard motors?
  22. How do I register my boat trailer?
  23. I built a homemade boat. How do I register it?
  24. Do I have to keep my boat registered?
  25. I am absolutely unable to get proof of ownership documents to support my Georgia boat registration. What are my options? 
  26. Information for lien holders, lenders and others regarding original titles and original Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO)/Uniform Commercial Code Georgia

Do I need to notify DNR if I sell or no longer have my boat?

By law, owners of Georgia registered boats must notify DNR of the sale or transfer, theft or recovery, or destruction or abandonment of a boat within 15 days. This may be done three ways:

  1. Online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. Press “Vessel Registration & Renewal,” log into your account, select the boat, and Press “Sold Your Boat?” and follow the steps; OR 
  2. Call (706) 664-0037 for interactive voice response; OR
  3. In writing. The signed notification form may be returned to DNR by:
    • The email address for documents is: documents@GaBoat.com
    • The fax number for documents is: 678-515-9470 (fax)
    • The mailing address for documents is:
      Georgia Department of Natural Resources
      P.O. Box 934943
      Atlanta, GA 31193-4943

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Do I need to notify DNR if I change address?

By law, wners of Georgia registered boats must notify the Department of a change in address from that shown on their boat registration card within 15 days. This notification must be sent to the address below. Or owners may log onto their online account or call the Service Center at 1-800-366-2661 to notify the Department of their change of address.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 934943
Atlanta, GA 31193-4943

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Does a boat using just a trolling motor have to be registered?

Yes, any boat with mechanical propulsion must be registered if it is being operated in waters of the State of Georgia. If the boat is used exclusively on private ponds, then it does not need to be registered.

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I have a sailboat without a motor. Does it have to be registered?

All sailboats with mechanical propulsion must be registered regardless of length. Sailboats less than 12 feet in length without mechanical prolusion do not require registration. Sailboats 12 feet or longer must be registered whether or not they have mechanical propulsion. Boats operated exclusively on private ponds or lakes do not have to be registered.

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How long does a boat registration last?

Vessel registrations extend for a period of three calendar years and expire the last day of the vessel owner's month of birth in the last year of registration.

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How long does it take to receive a boat registration?

Customers will receive their decals and registration card within two weeks of completing registration (full payment and after all required documents are received).

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How do I obtain a duplicate boat registration (registration card or decals)?

A duplicate registration card with duplicate decals can be requested ONLINE following the procedures for boat registration, by MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at 1-800-366-2661. Duplicate Registration cards and decals are purchased / printed together. The registration cannot be expired. The cost is $1.00 plus an $8.00 service charge if done online, $10.00 service charge by phone, or $10 service change by mail using the boat registration application. If you choose to do this online, go through the screens as if you are registering your boat, and you will get to a choice to purchase a duplicate registration.

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I received a letter asking for additional documents. Can I fax or email these documents?

If you receive a notification stating additional documents are needed to process your boat registration, the documents may be uploaded using your online account, or sent by fax or email. Make sure to send only copies and keep the original for your records.

The email address for documents is:
documents@gaboat.com

The fax number for documents is:
678-515-9470 (fax)

The mailing address for documents is:
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 934943
Atlanta, GA 31193-4943

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How do I get a refund for my boat registration?

Refund requests are processed by DNR. Only under very limited conditions are fees paid to WRD refundable or reversible. Customers may receive a refund for charges related to electronic system errors or for payment where they do not receive any privilege or other consideration. Download the Refund Request Form.

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Can I keep my existing boat registration numbers if they expire?

Once a boat registration has expired, the numbers may be reassigned. Generally if the boat registration expired within the last calendar year, it is likely that the numbers have not been reassigned. The longer a boat goes unregistered, the more likely it is that the numbers will be reassigned and no longer available for the previous customer’s use.

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My boat is registered in another state. Can I use it in Georgia?

If a boat is fully registered and valid in another state, the boat may be used in Georgia. However, after 60 days of continuous use in Georgia, the boat must have Georgia registration.

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Why does DNR require the use of the owner’s social security number for boat registration?

Federal Coast Guard regulations (CFR Title 33, Section 187.101) require that SSN or individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN) be reported for each owner or owners of a vessel, if the person has one of these numbers. If an owner does not have a SSN or ITIN number, other information can be collected and reported.

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Why do I have to pay a transaction fee to register my boat?

In December 2007, DNR first entered into a contract with an outside vendor to design and manage an automated hunting and fishing license and boat registration system. The new license system was required to replace a failing automated licensing system that was not going to be licensed and available to DNR after December 2008. In short, the system was failing and had to be replaced. Absent of a significant funding source to develop and manage a new system “in-house”, DNR explored contractual options for obtaining a “no cost to state” contract like those adopted in many other states. Funding for this type of system would be recovered by the addition of a service charge paid by the buyer at the time of the purchase. The current contract includes: boat registration and renewal online, by telephone, and by mail, and requires mailing registration cards and decals to vessel owners. A Service Center operated by the vendor receives about 200,000 calls per year and registers boat, sells licenses and answers questions about boat registration and recreational hunting and fishing licenses.

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My registration expired and now I’m told the registration numbers on my boat aren’t available and must be changed. Why?

When boat registration numbers expire, they become available to be reused. We do this because of the limited quantity of numbers available. While the odds favor that an expired registration number won’t be quickly selected by the computer once it expires, it is available upon expiration and if reassigned is no longer available to the previous registrant. We suggest maintaining boat registrations rather than letting them expire. An expired registration incurs an additional $10 late fee at renewal.

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My out-of-state boat title is held by lien holder; what action, if any, should I take?

In Georgia, in order for a lien holder to record your outstanding debt against the vessel, the lien holder may file a UCC-1 form. A checklist and procedures can be found at https://www.gsccca.org/filesandforms/uccforms.asp. This is done at the Georgia county level through the county's Clerk of Superior Court where the boat owner resides and is not available through the License and Boat Registration Unit. Lien holders are often aware of this procedure, and will take the necessary steps to ensure their lien is secure against a Georgia registered boat.

Once the lien holder releases the lien against the out-of-state title, they may provide the title to the boat owner. Georgia will accept the original title or a legible copy for registration purposes.

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A boat has been left on my property. How do I take control of the boat (abandoned vessel)?

Georgia’s Abandoned Vessel Code, O.C.G.A 52-7-70 through O.C.G.A. 52-7-77, details the steps required in order to declare a vessel abandoned by the State of Georgia. An Abandoned Vessel Package put together by WRD Law Enforcement Section is a helpful guide that contains required forms and outlines processes that may be used to declare a vessel abandoned under Georgia law.

The two key forms to initiate the process, the Abandoned Vessel Notice and Information Request directed to both Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Bureau of Investigation can be found in the Abandoned Vessel Package. These must be completed with as much information as is known and submitted to the Agency and addresses noted at the top of each form.

If the vessel was abandoned at a storage facility and you have a copy of a contract with the individual that stored the vessel indicating that the vessel was "Specified collateral" and the individual defaulted on that contract, then all you have to do is complete the Default of Security Interest/Transfer Statement to transfer the vessel into your name. It will not be necessary to go through the "Abandoned Vessel" process whenever self-storage facilities contract with individuals and the property stored is "Specified Collateral" and the customer defaults on that security interest.

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Why did you cash my check for boat registration before sending my registration decals?

Our mail-in boat registration procedures were established to meet our fiduciary responsibility to both the State of Georgia and to our customers. The first objective for mail-in payments is to ensure that customer’s fees are processed and recorded in such a manner to prevent mishandling of payments, in part accomplished by keeping the number of individuals handling your payment to the lowest level possible. The P.O. Box that receives your boat registration application and payment are physically located at a bank processing center used by the State of Georgia so that your payment is deposited immediately upon receipt. A scanned image of your check or money order is generated as a reference, and your boat registration application is sent from the bank to our license vendor for processing and fulfillment. If the application is complete and all necessary documents are present, the application is typically processed within 48 hours. Decals are created each night and mailed 5 days a week. It typically takes about two weeks from the time we receive your application at the P.O. Box until you receive your decals, or receive a letter or email stating that the application is not complete or documents are missing.

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How do I contact my boat manufacturer to get a hull identification number (HIN)?

A HIN is required for boats manufactured after November 1, 1972. If the HIN is unavailable and unknown, the boat owner must first contact the boat manufacturer to obtain a replacement HIN. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a list of boat manufacturers and contact information at http://uscgboating.org/content/manufacturers-identification.php.

If the manufacturer is out of business or will not assist the boat owner, a DNR HIN Inspection is necessary. DNR will assign a HIN number during the inspection process and the boat owner is responsible for permanently affixing the HIN to the boat.

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Hull Identification Number Inspection

A Hull Identification Number (HIN) Inspection is necessary when boat owners do not have a Hull Identification Number from the Manufacturer on any vessel built after 1972. HIN Inspections are also required for any Homemade vessel. HIN Inspections are handled through the Law Enforcement Division.

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How do I permanently affix my hull identification number (HIN) to my boat?

A HIN is required for recreational boats manufactured after November 1, 1972. If the HIN is assigned by DNR, or if the HIN is known but the plate is missing or the HIN not inscribed on the boat, the boat owner is responsible for permanently affixing the HIN to the boat.

Each hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, molded, bonded, or otherwise permanently affixed to the boat so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious. If the number is on a separate plate, the plate must be fastened in such a manner that its removal would normally cause some scarring of or damage to the surrounding hull area. A hull identification number must not be attached to parts of the boat that are removable. The characters of each hull identification number must be no less than one-fourth of an inch high.

Two identical hull identification numbers are required to be displayed on each boat hull.

  1. Primary Location. If the hull identification number would not be visible, because of rails, fittings, or other accessories, the number must be affixed as near as possible to the location specified below.
    1. On boats with transoms, to the starboard outboard side of the transom within two inches of the top of the transom, gunwale, or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.
    2. On boats without transoms or on boats on which it would be impractical to use the transom, to the starboard outboard side of the hull, aft, within one foot of the stern and within two inches of the top of the hull side, gunwale or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.
    3. On catamarans and pontoon boats which have readily replaceable hulls, to the aft crossbeam within one foot of the starboard hull attachment.
  2. Duplicate Location. The hull identification number must be affixed in an unexposed location on the interior of the boat or beneath a fitting or item of hardware.

O.C.G.A. § 52-7-7.1. Hull identification numbers required; penalty for violations

(a) No person shall operate on the waters of this state a vessel manufactured after November 1, 1972, unless the vessel displays an assigned hull identification number as required by the United States Coast Guard or by the issuing authority, except any of those vessels exempted by Code Section 52-7-7.6. The hull identification number shall be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise permanently affixed to the outboard side of the transom or the starboard side within two feet of the transom above the waterline in accordance with federal law or as directed by the issuing authority.

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Does Georgia register or title outboard motors?

The State of Georgia does not and has never titled or registered outboard motors. The National Vessel Numbering & Titling Manual, Third Edition, published by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2011 gives information on each state’s vessel numbering and titling practices including which states title and/or register outboard motors.

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How do I register my boat trailer?

All boat trailers must be registered with the Georgia Motor Vehicle Division. Registration is done through your local County Tax Commissioners Office (Tag Office). Tax Office locations: https://mvd.dor.ga.gov/motor/tagoffices/SelectTagOffice.aspx.

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I built a homemade boat. How do I register it?

 

Homemade boats must be assigned a hull identification number (HIN). To get a HIN, persons should initiate the boat registration process and pay for registration using the normal process (online, mail or phone) so that a record of the boat is in our system. Only the person either building the boat or furnishing materials under a contract for another to build a boat may apply for a HIN and register a homemade boat.  Such boat may not be sold.  

HIN Inspections are conducted through the DNR Law Enforcement Division at the boat location. List of game warden offices by county.

Inspections will not be performed if customers have not paid for a registration in advance of the inspection. Boat owners should bring receipts for materials used to construct the homemade boat if done themselves or bring the contract they used to provide materials and have another person build the boat, and should bring any other documents and correspondence that relate to the boat, boat construction, or registration process that may be helpful during the HIN Inspection to support registration.

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Do I have to keep my boat registered?

There is no requirement that the boat remain registered. However, there is a possibility that the registration number on the boat may be reassigned if the registration is allowed to lapse. Registrations allowed to lapse will incur a $10 late fee at renewal.

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I am absolutely unable to get proof of ownership documents to support my Georgia boat registration. What are my options?

Boat owners should use every effort to obtain the required supporting documents for boat registration to avoid costs to themselves and the state. If all options have been exhausted, an Affidavit of Vessel Ownership may be provided by the applicant. Completing the affidavit requires procedures and documents to show attempted contact with the owner of record for the vessel, and depending on the value of the vessel, may require a bond. If required, the affidavit process should be initiated immediately upon vessel registration.

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Information for persons holding a security interest, and for lien holders, lenders and others regarding original titles and original Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO)/Uniform Commercial Code Georgia

Georgia is a title state for vessels. Once the registration is finalized, registered vessels have a Georgia eTitle in the vessel registration system. Outboard motors over 25 hp are included on the title. There are two methods for recording a security interest or lien in a Georgia registered vessel.

  1. A lender may use the Security Interest or Lien form to record (perfect) a security interest in a Georgia registered vessel. The cost to record the lien is $10. The lien will be recorded on the electronic record (eTitle) in the Georgia vessel registration system. The lienholder will receive an Owner of Record letter to show the lien was filed on the eTitle. A paper copy of the title showing the lien may be requested by the lienholder for an additional $10. When the lien is satisfied the lienholder will send the  Security Interest or Lien form to release the lien, or if a paper title was purchased the lien is released by returning the paper title. The vessel returns to an eTitle in the vessel owner’s name(s). Address and directions for releasing the lien appear on the form and on the title.
  2. A lender with a security interest may record outstanding debt against a vessel and an individual by filing a Georgia UCC-1 form through the Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Cooperative Authority. Refer to the following site for information and a checklist: http://www.gsccca.org/learn/projects-programs/ucc-system

A direct link to UCC forms is:
https://www.gsccca.org/filesandforms/uccforms.asp

This process is done at the Georgia county level through the resident's county Clerk of Superior Court. The original manufacturer's statement of origin (MSO) or vessel title (if coming from another state) is not needed for the UCC process. After filing a Georgia UCC-1 form, the lender may give the original MSO or original title to the vessel owner.

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