Application for Numbering; Placement of Numbers (O.C.G.A § 52-7-5)

Legal Commentary. This statute is especially interesting, because there are several rules which dictate how to affix identification numbers on a boat. The numbers must be firmly affixed to both sides of the bow, whether they are painted on or otherwise attached. Numbers should be in block letters at least three inches high that read from left to right, and the letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen. It is important to remember that the number should be legible, in a color the contrasts the color of the boat. No other numbers should be placed on the bow. Also, the decal must be attached on both sides of the bow, placed just before the number. In the case of a Georgia boating accident, this will assist the authorities and other parties involved in identifying the boat. Additionally, a boat's number may be considered void if ownership is transferred to another party, if the vessel is abandoned or destroyed, or lost in a legal proceeding.

Charles Scholle a handles serious boat accident cases, and will provide a free initial confidential consultation to accident injury victims. To set up your free consultation, send the firm a message online or call toll-free at 1-866-972-5287 or in Atlanta at 770-717-5100.

See the full text of the statute below:

Application for Numbering; Placement of Numbers (O.C.G.A § 52-7-5)

(a) The owner of each vessel required to be numbered by this article shall file an application for number with the department on forms approved by it. Upon receipt of the application in approved form, the department shall enter the application upon its records and issue to the applicant a certificate of number stating the number assigned to the vessel, the name and address of the owner, and such additional information as may be prescribed by the department.

(b) (1) The identification number assigned to all registered vessels, except those documented by the United States Coast Guard, must be permanently painted or attached to each side of the forward half of the vessel, and no other number may be displayed thereon. Numbers must read from left to right, be in block characters, be of a color contrasting with the background, and be not less than three inches in height nor more than one inch apart. There shall be a hyphen or space between the prefix letters and numerals and between the numerals and the suffix letters. The hyphen or space shall be equal to the width of any letter except I.

(2) On vessels so configured that a number on the hull or superstructure would not be easily visible, the number must be painted on or attached to a backing plate that is attached to the forward half of the vessel so that the number will be clearly visible under normal operating conditions.

(3) The numbers shall be maintained in a legible condition.

(4) Vessels owned by manufacturers or dealers and being used as demonstrators or for testing may use the dealer's tag supplied with his or her registration in lieu of a permanently attached number.

(5) The decals assigned to all registered vessels must be displayed one on each side of the bow preceding the prefix letters. There shall be a hyphen or space separating each decal and the prefix letters. The hyphen or space shall be equal to the width of any letter except I.

(c) Applications shall be signed by the owner or owners of the vessel and shall be accompanied by the proper fee. Fees for numbering vessels for a registration period of three years shall be as follows:

(1) Vessels up to 16 feet in length...............................$ 15.00
(2) Vessels 16 to 26 feet in length.................................36.00
(3) Vessels 26 to 40 feet in length.................................90.00
(4) Vessels 40 feet in length or longer............................150.00
(d) Change of ownership.

(1) Should the ownership of a numbered vessel change while the registration is in effect, a new application form with a transfer fee of $3.00 shall be filed with the department, and a new certificate of number shall be issued to the new owner in the same manner as provided for in the original assignment of number. The number assigned shall be identical with the previous one. The year of expiration shall remain the same and the date of expiration shall be determined by the date of birth of the new owner.

(2) Should the transfer occur in the year of expiration after the month of the new owner's birth, the prescribed fee for the three-year registration must accompany the application form and the $3.00 transfer fee.

(3) Should the ownership of a numbered vessel change after the registration has lapsed, a new application form with the prescribed fee for the three-year registration shall be filed with the department. A new certificate shall be issued to the new owner. Upon receipt by the department of a specific request from the new owner and payment of a fee of $3.00, the number assigned shall be identical with the previous one unless it has been reassigned during the lapsed period. If the number has been reassigned during the lapsed period, the new owner's fee shall be returned with the new certificate of registration.

(e) In the event that an agency of the United States government shall have in force an overall system of identification (numbering) for vessels within the United States, the numbering system employed pursuant to this article by the department shall be in conformity therewith.

(f) The department may issue any certificate of number directly or may authorize any person to act as agent for the issuing thereof. In the event that a person accepts such authorization, he may be allotted a block of numbers and certificates therefor which, upon assignment and issue in conformity with this article and with any rules and regulations of the department, shall be valid as if assigned and issued directly by the department. Any person acting as agent for the department may charge a fee for his or her services in an amount approved by the department not to exceed $10.00 per transaction.

(g) All records of the department made or kept pursuant to this Code section shall be public records.

(h) After March 3, 1981, every certificate of number issued to previously unregistered vessels pursuant to this article shall continue in full force and effect for a period of three years unless sooner terminated or discontinued in accordance with this article. Certificates of number may be renewed by the owner in the same manner provided for in the initial securing of the certificates.

(i) (1) Beginning in 1974, the certificate of number of all vessels owned by individuals shall expire on the last day of the month of the owner's birth in the last year of the registration period and after that date shall lapse and no longer be of any force and effect unless renewed pursuant to this article.

(2) The certificate of number of all vessels owned by other than individuals shall expire on December 31 of the last year of the registration period and after that date shall lapse and no longer be of any force and effect unless renewed pursuant to this article.

(3) Registrations may be renewed 60 days prior to the last day of the month of the owner's birth in the year of expiration.

(j) The owner shall furnish the department written notice of the transfer of all or of any part of his or her interest, other than the creation of a security interest, in a vessel numbered in this state pursuant to this Code section, the theft or recovery of the vessel, or the destruction or abandonment of the vessel within 15 days thereof.

(k) Any holder of a certificate of number shall notify the department in writing within 15 days if his or her address no longer conforms to the address appearing on the certificate and shall, as a part of such notification, furnish the department with his or her new address.

(l) No number other than the number validly assigned to a vessel shall be painted, attached, or otherwise displayed on either side of the forward half of the vessel.

(m) (1) A certificate of number once issued pursuant to this Code section shall be considered void upon the happening of any one of the following events:

(A) The owner transfers all his or her interest in said vessel to another person or involuntarily loses his or her interest through legal process;

(B) The vessel is destroyed or abandoned;

(C) It is discovered by the department that the application submitted by the owner contains false or fraudulent information;

(D) The fees for issuance are not paid by the applicant; or

(E) The state of principal use is changed.

(2) A void certificate must be surrendered to the department within 15 days from the date that it becomes or is declared to be void.

(n) The number placed on the forward half of the vessel by the owner must be removed by the owner if:

(1) The vessel is documented under the laws of the United States;
(2) The certificate or number becomes invalid because it is determined that a false or fraudulent statement was made in the application or the fees have not been paid; or

(3) The vessel is no longer used in this state.
(o) The board shall be authorized to establish, by rule or regulation, a procedure to refund fees collected pursuant to this chapter which were collected in error or overpayment or to which the department or state is otherwise not entitled.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1960, p. 235, §§ 6, 7; Ga. L. 1965, p. 251, § 1; Ga. L. 1968, p. 487, §§ 3-6; Ga. L. 1973, p. 1427, § 6; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1632, §§ 5-7; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1182, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 1980, p. 738, §§ 2-4; Ga. L. 1981, p. 147, §§ 1-3; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 52; Ga. L. 1987, p. 567, §§ 3, 4; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 52; Ga. L. 1992, p. 470, § 3; Ga. L. 1992, p. 998, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 351, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1276, § 1; Ga. L. 2011, p. 558, § 5/SB 121.