All motorboats in the state are now required to register and title with the Department of Motor Vehicles

Alaska is now requiring all motorboats in the state to register and title with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as a way of preventing abandoned and derelict boats, but not a lot of boat owners are aware of the new law which took effect in January.

While Alaska, like all other states, required boat registration, the new law “expands registration to include documented boats and barges that are in the water for more than 90 days a year,” the legislations sponsor State Senator Peter Micciche told KTUU-TV.

Recreational boaters with vessels of more than 24ft will also need to apply for a certificate of title.

According to Rachel Lord, executive secretary for the Alaska Association of Harbor Masters and Port Administrators, this registration helps solve a big issue.

“Tracking ownership in the state of Alaska was one of the biggest problems and highest priorities of something we need to fix in order to prevent derelict vessels and hold people personally accountable for their boat,” Lord said.

The trade group United Fishermen of Alaska are not pleased with the new regulation, in part, because they did not know it was enacted until recently.

“We saw this was poorly executed, there really wasn’t any public notice that went out to advise the vessel owners,” said executive director Frances Leach.

Both Lord and Micciche agree the state has done a poor job executing the rollout.

“You have this large newly regulated community who has gotten no notification at all that they are now required to be registered with the state,” Lord said.

“This year, to my understanding, this is going to be an educational year without enforcement,” Micciche said. “The summer of 2020 would be when the enforcement will begin and I think that’s the recognition of the rollout being less effective than it could’ve been.”