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What Do I Need To Bring To Register My Boat?

All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required by federal law to have a hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer.  This 12 digit number is normally located on the outside stern of the vessel on the right side, below the gunwale.  This number must be included on the registration certificate and application for registration.

When registering a boat for the first time in your name, sales tax applies to the purchase price at the same local rates as applies to vehicles.  Sales tax must be paid in your county of residence or the county in which your boat is domiciled (ie: lake house).  A marina or storage facility is not an acceptable address for registration purposes.

What do I need to bring to register a new vessel?

  • Bill of Sale from a licensed dealership; with the complete description of the vessel including the HIN, year, make and model serial number of the motor, horse power of the motor. It must include the amount paid for the vehicle, the date of sale, the name, address and signature of both buyer and seller. Sales tax must be itemized
  • Completed application for boat registration.

What do I need to bring to register a vessel purchased from an individual in Alabama?

  • Bill of Sale that includes: (with seller's signature notarized; and complete description of the vessel including the HIN, year, make and model, serial number of the motor and horse power of the motor. It must include the amount paid for the vessel, the date of sale, the name, address and signature of both buyer and seller). Any sale for less than $50 must be written as a "gift" and a gift affidavit must be filled out.
    Additionally, the person(s) seeking to register the boat will be required to prove ownership by providing supporting documents such as a registration in the previous owner's name, a previously issued proof of insurance for the vessel in the previous owner's name or other supporting documents of ownership by the previous owner.
  • Completed application for boat registration, transfer and replacement.
  • The most recent registration certificate from the individual from whom you are purchasing the vessel.

What do I need to bring to register a homemade vessel? 

  • Homemade boats are required to have a hull serial number.  Boat owners registering a homemade vessel shall apply with the Marine Police Division for a hull serial number to affix to the transom of their boat. It is necessary to give the date construction was completed.  There will be a $25.00 inspection fee for any homemade vessel requiring a hull identification number. 
  • Document showing that your vessel has been inspected by the Marine Police, including the state-assigned hull identification number that was assigned to your vessel.
  • Statement prepared by owner stating that the vessel is homemade, the amount that was spent to build the vessel, the approximate date of completion, and the owner's signature and current address.
  • Completed application for boat registration, transfer and replacement.
 Download a printable checklist here Adobe Reader

This information provided by the Shelby County License Department is the most current and thorough information available to help expedite your transaction. The license department regards every transaction as unique however we have only addressed the most common types of transactions and provided you the basic information to assist you with the documents needed before your visit to our license offices. Since every situation cannot be foreseen we encourage you to include any additional documentation you may deem pertinent to your transaction. For your convenience we also encourage you to use the printable checklists that are available within the text.

Shelby County, Alabama
200 West College St.
Columbiana, AL 35051
Ph: (205) 670-6550