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Chapter 20 - Vessels

01/10/2014
10:20 AM

Section A. Vessels - General Information
Section B. Boat Excise Tax
Section C. Titling and Registering a New Boat
Section D. Titling and Registering a Used Boat
Section E. Registration Only - Motorboats
Section F. Assignment of NM Registration Number and Hull Identification Number (HIN)
Section G. Titling a Vessel in the Names of Two or More Owners
Section H. Homemade/Shop-built or Kit Vessels


Section A. Vessels - General Information 

Revised November 30, 2017
 

The Boat Act (§§ 66-12-1 through 66-12-24)

The statutes that deal with vessels are found in Chapter 66, Article 12 - the “Boat Act.”

The Boat Act assigns very specific meanings to three categories of what most of us would think of as "boats." They are vesselsmotorboats and boats, and they are defined as follows:

  • “Vessel” (§66-12-3(A))
    Every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.  
    (Note: If it floats on water, can be used as transportation, and is not a seaplane, it's a vessel.)
     
  • “Motorboat” (§66-12-3(B))
    Any vessel propelled by machinery, whether or not machinery is the principal source of propulsion, but does not include a vessel that has a valid marine document issued by the bureau of customs of the United States government or any federal agency successor thereto; "motorboat" includes any vessel propelled or designed to be propelled by sail and that does not have a valid document issued by a federal agency, but does not include a sailboard or windsurf board.  (Note: A sailboat, other that a sailboard or windsurfer, is by this definition a motorboat.)
     
  • “Boat” (§66-12-3(A))
    A motorboat that is 10 feet in length or longer 
    (Note: If it's less than 10 feet long, or if it's not propelled by motor/engine or sail, it may look like a boat to you, but as boat is defined by the Boat Act, it is not.)
     

Title and Registration (§66-12-4)

  • Every motorboat operating on the waters of New Mexico must be numbered (registered), with the number displayed on each side of the bow of the motorboat. A motorboat need not be registered in New Mexico if it is numbered in accordance with federal law or another state's numbering system.
     
  • Every boat operating on the waters of New Mexico and owned by a New Mexico resident must be titled.
    • Exception: A United States Coast Guard (USGC) boat title is a “national title” (Certificate of Ownership, form CG-1330) provided by the Coast Guard that supersedes state titles. The USCG-issued title is a legal title for operation in New Mexico waters and does not require process to a New Mexico title.
       
  • A non-resident who operates a boat on the waters of  New Mexico may elect to register the boat in New Mexico.

(Note: a motorboat must be registered and numbered, but only a boat is required to be titled.)
 

Registration and Numbering of Motorboats (18.17.2.8 NMAC)

The Motor Vehicle Division registers motorboats for a three-year period, to expire December 31 of the third calendar year. Example: registered anytime in 2017 - registration expires December 31, 2019.

Refunds shall not be made for any unused period of a certificate of number due to non-use of a vessel or change in ownership.

A motorboat's registration number shall be painted on or permanently affixed to each side of the motorboat’s forward half, and no other number shall be displayed on that part of the motorboat. Numbers shall:

  • read from left to right;
  • be in plain vertical block characters;
  • be of a color contrasting with the background;
  • be distinctly visible and legible;
  • be not less than three inches in height; and
  • have spaces or hyphens that are equal to the width of a letter between the letter and number groupings. Example: NM 0000 AA or NM--0000--AA.

No person shall transfer or authorize the transfer of a registration validation decal from one vessel to another. The motorboat's certificate of number shall be available for inspection at all times when the motorboat is in operation.


Section B. Boat Excise Tax 

Revised December 1, 2017

Boat Excise Tax (§66-12-6.1(A-C))

An excise tax is imposed upon the sale of every boat required to be registered in the state.

To prevent evasion of the excise tax …, it is presumed that the issuance of every original and subsequent Certificate of Title, other than a duplicate, for boats of a type required to be registered under the provisions of the Boat Act constitutes a sale for tax purposes unless specifically exempted by this section or unless there is shown satisfactory proof that the boat for which the Certificate of Title is sought came into the possession of the applicant as a voluntary transfer without consideration or as a transfer by operation of law.

The division shall collect the tax from the applicant at the time application is made for issuance of a Certificate of Title.

The boat excise tax is five percent (5%) of the sale price of the boat.

  • If the sale price does not represent the value of the boat in the condition that existed at the time it was acquired, the excise tax shall then be imposed at the rate of five percent of the reasonable value of the boat purchased.
  • However, allowances granted for trade-ins may be deducted from the sale price or the reasonable value of the boat purchased.
  • If a boat was acquired through an out-of-state transaction upon which a gross receipts, sales, compensating or similar tax was levied, the amount of that tax paid (if documented) may be credited against the New Mexico excise tax due on the same boat.

Enter the amount paid in the "Credit of Taxes" space of the application; compute the amount due under New Mexico law; and collect the difference if the tax paid in another state is less than the New Mexico tax.

A penalty of 50 percent of the tax due on the issuance of a Certificate of Title is imposed, effectively increasing the tax rate to seven and a half percent (7.5%), on any person:

  • who, domiciled in this state and accepting transfer in this state, fails to apply for a certificate within 90 days of the date on which ownership was transferred to him; or
  • who is domiciled in this state but accepts transfer outside this state and who fails to apply for a certificate within 90 days of the date on which the boat is brought into this state.

Boat Excise Tax Exemptions

  • Persons domiciled outside this state and on active duty in the military service of the United States or on active duty as officers of the Public Health Service detailed for duty with any branch of the military service are exempt from the boat excise tax.
  • Persons who acquire a boat out of state 30 or more days before establishing a domicile in this state are exempt from the tax imposed by this section if the boat was acquired for personal use.
  • Persons applying for a certificate of title for a boat registered in another state are exempt from the tax imposed by this section if they have previously registered and titled the boat in New Mexico and have owned the boat continuously since that time.
  • Certificates of title for boats owned by the State of New Mexico or any political subdivision of the state are exempt from the tax imposed by this section.

Section C. Titling and Registering a New Boat 

Revised December 1, 2017

Requirements for Titling and Registering a New Boat

  • Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
    Must be the original; photocopies are not accepted.
     
  • Dealer’s Invoice
    Must be an original or a certified copy.
     
  • Lien Holder Information (if applicable)
     
  • Proof of Trade-in Vessel
     
  • Power of Attorney (POA) (as needed) 
    Must be an original or a certified copy.
     
  • Notice of Additional Requirements (as needed)
     
  • Identification
     
  • Application for Vessel Title and Registration (MVD-10003)
     

Assignment of New Mexico Registration Number

Please refer to Section F - Assignment of New Mexico Registration Number and Hull Identification Number (HIN).


Section D. Titling and Registering a Used Boat 

Revised December 1, 2017

Requirements for Titling and Registering a Used Boat

  • Previous Outstanding Title
    The current outstanding Certificate of Title is the primary document when transferring ownership of a used vessel. Photocopies are not acceptable for executing transfers, lien filings or releases, title changes etc. In the absence of an ownership document from out of state, where title and registration may not be required, the official document shall be the “Affirmation Certifying Ownership” (ACO) (MVD-10010) with (as proof of ownership) an invoice, contract, or registration certificate. The person reflected on the invoice, contract, or registration certificate document must sign the Affidavit Certifying Ownership.
     
  • Surety Bond (if applicable)
    In the absence of ownership documents for purchases made after 1987 or for newer model vessels a surety bond will be required.
     
  • Bill of Sale
    Assignment of Title completed or Bill of Sale (MVD-10009) for purchases made from individuals - must include sales price. Reassignment of Title by dealer or Bill of Sale for purchases made from dealers.
     
  • Dealer Invoice
    Must be an original or a certified copy.
     
  • Hull Identification Number (HIN) Inspection
    A Certified VIN Inspector, certified law enforcement officer or New Mexico Park Ranger must conduct inspection of the vessel. The Hull Identification Number (HIN) of a vessel can be found on the outboard starboard (right) side of a vessel’s transom and is usually 12-14 characters. Those characters may be preceded by the letters US. Do not include the US when entering a HIN.
     
  • Release of Lien (as needed) 
     
  • Lien Holder Information (if applicable)
     
  • Proof of Trade-in Vessel
     
  • Power of Attorney (POA) (as needed) 
    Must be an original or a certified copy.
     
  • Notice of Additional Requirements (as needed)
     
  • Identification
     
  • Registered owner on Title Application
    Must appear as shown on assignment.
     
  • Application for Vessel Title and Registration (MVD-10003)

Assignment of New Mexico Registration Number

Please refer to Section F - Assignment of New Mexico Registration Number and Hull Identification Number (HIN).


Section E. Registration Only - Motorboats 

Revised December 1, 2017

A Motorboat under 10 Feet is Not a “Boat”

motorboat that is less than 10 feet in length must be registered, but does not meet the statutory definition of boat and is therefore not required to be titled.

If the applicant wants to title a motorboat that is less than 10 feet in length, he may do so. However, he should be informed that:

  • there is no requirement to title, and
  • if he chooses to title the vessel, all fees and excise tax will apply. 

Liens on registered-but-not-titled motorboats

Jet skis and other motorboats that are less than 10 feet in length must be registered but are not required to be titled. Without issuing a title, MVD cannot perfect a lien.

A person with a lien on a non-titled vehicle or vessel should be referred to the Secretary of State’s office at (505) 827-3600 to file the lien in accordance with procedures set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).


Section F. Assignment of NM Registration Number and Hull Identification Number (HIN) 

Revised November 30, 2017

Assignment of New Mexico Registration Number (§66-12-5)

  • The New Mexico registration number remains the same for the life of the vessel in New Mexico. The registration number must be printed on or permanently affixed to each side of the forward half of the vessel. Numbers are to be read from left to right, be in plain vertical block characters, be of a color contrasting with the background, be not less than three inches in height, and have spaces equal to the width of a letter between the letters and number grouping.
  • A registration number consists of two alpha, four numeric and two alpha characters.
  • A vessel with a registration number from another state will be assigned a New Mexico registration number upon titling and registering in New Mexico.

Assignment of a Hull Identification Number (HIN)

All vessels manufactured before 1972 and homemade vessels must have a Hull Identification Number assigned by the Motor Vehicle Division upon registration, if one has not previously been assigned.

The CSR can initiate the appropriate registration and title activity, capture the required information and documentation, and a Hull Identification number will be assigned by Tapestry. However, the applicant will be required to have the New Mexico Assigned number machined, stamped, die punched or otherwise inscribed onto the vessel, and return for a final visual inspection, prior to issuance of the New Mexico Certificate of Title and registration.

The newly assigned New Mexico Assigned Number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise inscribed onto the outboard side of the transom. If there is no transom, the New Mexico Assigned Number should be inscribed onto the outermost starboard side, at the end of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism, above the vessel’s waterline.

Hull Identification Numbers (HIN) should be inscribed in such a way that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and evident.


Section G. Titling a Vessel in the Names of Two or More Owners

Revised November 30, 2017

When an applicant for a vessel title wishes to title the vessel in the names of two or more owners:

  1. The owners' names must appear on the Original Title exactly as they do on the Assignment.

    The names listed in the assignment on the MCO, Title or Bill of Sale MUST be the same names listed when issuing the original New Mexico Certificate of Title. AND the words used to connect two or more names on the MCO assignment must be those used when issuing the Title. Exception: As noted below, substitute “and” for “and/or.”
     
  2. An individual may add his or her spouse’s name with Bill of Sale.

    If an owner to whom the dealer’s assignment is made on the MCO or Certificate of Title wants to add the name of a spouse, they may do so at the time of the original title transaction. A bill of sale must be completed from the purchaser to the name of the purchaser and the other person. The bill of sale should state “adding another name to title.” The lien holder, if any, must give written permission. There is no additional charge to add the name of the other person, so long it is done before the title is issued in only one name.
     
  3. Adding a name other than a spouse.

    If a purchaser to whom the dealer’s assignment is made on the MCO or Certificate of Title wants to add another person’s name, thry may do so at the time of the original title transaction. A bill of sale must be completed from the purchaser to the name of the purchaser and the other person. The bill of sale should state “adding another name to title.” The lien holder, if any, must give written permission. There is no additional charge to add the name of the other person, so long it is done before the title is issued in only one name.
     
  4. A lien holder’s permission is required to add names to Title.

    If a vessel is encumbered, the owner must obtain the written permission of the lien holder to add any names to the Certificate of Title or to change the words used to connect the names of owners on the Title.
     
  5. Owners' names joined by the word “or”

    When the owners’ names on the Title are joined by the word “or,” only one signature is required to apply for, assign or encumber the vessel.
     
  6. Owners’ names joined by the word “and” or by “and/or”

    When the owners’ names shown on the Certificate of Title are joined by the word “and” or by “and/or,” BOTH owners must sign the Application for Title, to assign the title or to encumber the vessel.
     
  7. Do not use “and/or.”

    Never use “and/or” in combination when preparing a Certificate of Title, even if the names are connected that way on the MCO assignment or on an out-of-state title. Use the word “and.” Do not use any other form to connect the names of two or more registered owners.

    Note: If the names of the registered owners shown on the assignment on the MCO are not joined by the word “and” or the word “or,” indicate joint ownership with the word “and” on the Title Application.
     
  8. Changing the Connective

    A bill of sale indicating the change is required to change the connective of registered owners.

    When changing the connective from “and” to “or” all signatures joined by the word “and” are required. Indicate on the bill of sale “changing connective.”

    To change the connective from “or” to “and” only one of the registered owners must sign the bill of sale; however, all signatures of owners to be joined by “and” are required on the Title Application.

Section H. Homemade/Shop-built or Kit Vessels

Revised December 1, 2017

Homemade, shop-built or kit vessels may be titled and/or registered if the applicant has all the required documents. New Mexico Assigned Numbers will be system-generated. A New Mexico title and/or registration will not be issued until the applicant(s) have permanently inscribed the Assigned Number onto the vessel in accordance with instructions provided by the Division.
 

Requirements

1.  Affirmation Certifying Ownership

The “Affirmation Certifying Ownership” (ACO) (MVD-10010) must be completed and signed by the applicant attesting to the fact that they are the legal owner of the vessel.

2.  Invoices and Bills of Sale

Must be provided for any parts purchased to build the vessel.

3.  Hull Inspection

The overall length, width, and transom depth must be measured by MVD or MVD agent.

4.    Assign Hull Identification Number

The CSR can initiate the appropriate registration and title activity and capture the required information and documentation. However, the applicant will be required to have the New Mexico Assigned Number machined, stamped, die punched or otherwise inscribed onto the vessel, and return for a final visual inspection prior to issuance of the New Mexico Certificate of Title and registration.

For home-made vessels, the newly assigned New Mexico Assigned Number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise inscribed onto the outboard side of the transom. If there is no transom, the New Mexico Assigned Number should be inscribed onto the outermost starboard side, at the end of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism, above the vessel’s waterline.

The Hull Identification Number (HIN) should be inscribed in such a way that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and evident.

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