When filing liens on boats, motors and trailers use the following guidelines:

A boat is titled property - file on a title lien statement.

A trailer is titled property - file on a title lien statement.

An inboard motor is filed as part of the boat - no additional filing is needed.

An outboard motor is filed on a UCC-1 - to be filed at the Secretary of State's office.

Inboard/Outboard Motor - File on UCC-1 - If a separate filing is made by the secured party on the inboard/outboard motor only, that filing goes to the Secretary of State. In some boats the inboard/outboard motor is an integral part of the boat and is covered by the filing on the boat.

Boat - always file the lien on a title lien statement unless the vessel is a "documented vessel". (See information on documented vessels)


To register as a documented boat, the customer has to contact:

National Vessel Documentation Center
2039 Stonewall Jackson Dr
Falling Waters, WV 25419

1-304-271-2405 Fax

All filings and information associated with a documented vessel are handled at this office.

A documented vessel has two requirements

  1. It must be at least 5 net tons (vessel would probably be at least 25 feet long).
  2. The owner must be a US citizen.

If the vessel is used for recreational purposes and meets the above requirements the owner has the option of documenting the vessel.

If the vessel is used for commercial purposes and meets the above requirements the owner must operate under a certificate of documentation issued by the U. S. Coast Guard.

Taxes are billed through local PVA office as tangible taxes and will be collected by the sheriff's office.

The customer must file a return with the PVA office.

Registration on a documented boat is surrendered in the AVIS system.

Vessels holding a United States certificate of documentation are exempt from the application process normally associated with registration or renewal. KRS 235.070(2)(f).

Preferred Ship Mortgages or related instruments associated with a documented vessel must be filed with the U. S. Coast Guard, National Vessel Documentation Center (address shown above).

Recording requirements include at least the following:

A mortgage or related instrument must be submitted in one original and one copy and cannot bear any material alterations.
Must be signed by, or on behalf of, the vessel owner(s) and acknowledged by a Notary Public.
Must cite the addresses of both the mortgagor and mortgagee.
Must cover the "whole: of the vessel; cite a definite amount and identify the vessel by name, official number and/or hull number.
Be accompanied by a recording fee of $4.00 per page. A page printed on both sides is considered two pages. The fee is based on the original only.
A mortgage cannot be accepted for filing unless the vessel has a valid Certificate of Document or an Application for Initial Issue, Exchange or Replacement filed.
The filing of a mortgage may be terminated, or if recorded, removed from record by the submission of a satisfaction or release instrument, a court order, affidavit, or Declaration of Forfeiture.


Any person may request a file search on a UCC or a Title Lien. The County Clerk shall issue his certificate showing whether there is on file on the date and hour stated within, any presently effective financing statement naming a particular debtor and any assignment thereof and if there is, furnish the date and hour of filing and the names and addresses of the secured parties therein. The fee for such is $5.00 per name searched.  Click here for lien fee information.


Other than Fixture Filings, Timber to be Cut and As Extracted Mineral all new UCC Filings are to be filed with the Secretary of State.

A UCC filing is effective for a period of five years after the date of filing. (KRS 355.9-515). The filing lapses on the expiration of the period of its effectiveness (five years after the file date). KRS 355.9-515(3). A continuation must be filed with the Secretary of State to prevent a lapsed filing.