An Alabama boat registration is required on most types of machinery-propelled water vessels operated within the state. This is to ensure that boats are being operated legally and responsibly in Alabama’s waters. Requirements to register a boat in Alabama mandate that new boats must be registered in Alabama within 72 hours of purchase, while used boats currently registered in the state have 15 days to obtain registration after a change in ownership. Review the details provided below to familiarize yourself with Alabama boater registration rules, requirements and fees, and also learn how to replace or renew your AL boater registration.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Alabama

There are several requirements to register a boat in Alabama and all must be met before the boat is used. If you are wondering what you need to complete the registration, note that the process is simple and requires minimal paperwork. You may obtain instructions on how to complete your boat registration at your local county Judge of Probate or your License Commissioner’s office.

You may also obtain an AL boat registration form at the Marine Patrol Division office in Montgomery. The application must include a bill of sale, previous registration, and proof of sales tax payment. If you have not yet paid sales tax, you must register at your License Commissioner’s or Judge of Probate’s office.

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in Alabama

Boats that do not require registration and titling in Alabama vary according to the type of boat and its use. No title is required for any boat owned in Alabama, and some vessels are also exempt from registration. If you are wondering which boats are exempt from registration in Alabama, consult the following list. Common exemptions include:

  • Vessels operating under a valid temporary certificate of number.
  • A vessel bearing a legally-issued number from another state, as long as it has not been in Alabama for more than 90 consecutive days.
  • Vessels under registration from another country that are temporarily using Alabama waters.
  • Vessels owned by the United States, or a state, county or municipality.
  • A ship’s lifeboat.

In addition, all vehicles not propelled by machinery, such as sailboats, are exempt from boat registration in Alabama as long as they are for private use and not for rent or hire.

Alabama Boat Insurance

While there are many boat insurance programs in Alabama, boaters are not required by law to have insurance on their vessels. However, there are solid reasons for obtaining boat insurance quotes in AL and purchasing a policy, especially if you spend a lot of time on the water. You will find that insurance rates are reasonable compared to the enormous expense following a boating accident, which can include paying out of pocket for property damage or personal injury.

Alabama Boat Registration Fees

Boat registration costs varies because it depends on the size and type of vessel. Typically, smaller boats cost less to register than larger boats. However, the costs are pretty affordable Boat registration fees in AL are broken down into four length classifications, as follows:

  • Class I – Less than 4.9 meters (16ft) – $18
  • Class II – 4.9 meters (16ft) to less than 7.9 meters (26ft) – $23
  • Class III – 7.9 meters (26ft) to less than 12.2 meters (40ft) – $73
  • Class IV – 12.2 meters (40ft) and above – $98

The boat registration cost in AL at each class level will also have a $2 issuance fee attached at the time of registration. Boat dealers will pay $25 for each dealer tag they request.

Renewing Your Alabama Boat Registration

You may obtain an Alabama boat registration renewal by mail, in person or online. Before it’s time to renew your registration, you should receive a printed notice that tells you when you need to renew your registration well before the current registration expiration date. This written notice will include instructions and additional information needed to complete the renewal process, such as the mailing address for renewals.

When renewing in person, bring your renewal notice, previous registration receipt and a valid AL driver license or other photo ID to your local probate judge’s office. To renew boat registration online, follow the link provided on your renewal notice.

Replacing Your Alabama Boat Registration

If you are wondering how to get a boat registration replacement due to your original document being lost, stolen or destroyed, complete the Application for Boat Registration, Transfer and Replacement.  You cannot replace a boat registration online; rather, you must file it with your probate judge or license commissioner. A replacement costs $3, plus a $2 issuance fee.

Boater Safety Courses in Alabama

Taking a boater safety course in Alabama is an important part of responsible boat ownership. The state requires an Alabama boating safety course for any boat operator aged 12 or older. There are many choices available for taking a safety course, including online and in-person options.

Alabama Boater License

There is no online boating license option in Alabama, there are ways to take a boating safety course online. You must apply for a boater license in person at the Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Examining Office in your county of residence. To obtain a boating license in AL, you must show proof of age via a state-issued driver’s license or photo ID card. If these documents are unavailable, the clerk will accept a certified statement of the student’s school superintendent verifying his or her name, date of birth and address.

To obtain your boating license, pass the written or oral exam, answer the medical questions and pay the $5 fee. If you have an Alabama driver’s license, you must then take the form to the probate or license commissioner’s office to have the V class placed on your license. There is an additional $36.25 issuance fee for the license.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.