Outdoor recreation can play a vital role in protecting our natural resources. When you register your boat, you do your part in sustaining resources that promote safe and responsible use of our nation's waters. Your registration dollars also help pay for marinas, boat ramps, lake clean up and much more.


Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Police Division (AMPD):

The Marine Police Division of the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for regulating the state boating laws of Alabama.


All vessels propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric motors, and principally operated on Alabama waters must be registered and issued an Alabama Certificate of Number(Registration) by the state, which can be obtained through the office of the Judge of Probate or License Commissioner in the boat owner's county. Exceptions for the boat registration requirements include:

  • Non-motorized vessels, not including sailboats and vessels for rental.
  • Vessels that are currently registered and kept in another state(after more than 90 days of use, Alabama should be considered the state of principal use)
  • Vessels holding a valid temporary Certificate of Number.
  • Vessels that are registered in a country other than the U.S.and using Alabama waters on a temporary basis.
  • A ship's lifeboat.
  • Vessels owned by either federal, state, county or municipal governments within the U.S.


Boat owners must keep their Certificate of Ownership in a safe place,

Note - On the reverse of the Certificate of Ownership there is an application for the transfer of ownership.


Boat owners must have at least a temporary Certificate of Number before they can operate in state waters. Upon receipt of the Certificate of Number please note the following:

  • It must be signed and carried on board when operating the vessel.
  • The AMPD must be notified within 15 days if the boater changes residences.
  • The AMPD must also be notified within 15 days if the vessel is:lost, stolen, destroyed or abandoned.

The Certificate of Number is valid for one year and the date for the required renewal is dependent on the first letter of the vessel owner's last name.

Successful registration results in a Registration Certificate, a decal for each side of the vessel. Physical boat numbers must be purchased separately. Boat numbers must:

  • Be affixed on both sides of the bow;
  • Be block letters, three inches high and contrasting with the color of your boat;
  • Letters and numbers must be separated by a space or a hyphen;
  • Read from left to right.

For example: AL 1234 BX or AL-1234-BX. This is a federal and state requirement.

The decal which is provided to you by the AMPD should be displayed within 6 inches of the registration numbers on both sides of the boat.

Lack of the correct documentation will result in delays and fines.

Make sure all boats are properly marked and documented. It's important to keep your papers with the boat - be particularly aware when transferring ownership of your vessel.

*Content provided by www.BoaterExam.com