Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 25 of 38

Chapter 24: Vessels

24.015 California-Assigned Vessel Numbers (CF) (VC §9857)

A permanent registration number (CF number) is assigned upon registration of undocumented vessels in California. In accordance with the national vessel registration system, the registration number consists of the letters CF, four numbers, and a two-letter suffix (for example, CF 1234 AB).

The letters I, O, and Q will not be issued for any CF numbers.

Pleasure CF Numbers are:

  • Not reserved as special numbers.
  • Issued by field offices and vessel agents to pleasure and commercial vessels.

See the Original Vessel Registration and Nonresident Vessel Registration sections in this chapter for application procedures.

Special CF Numbers (CCR §190.08) are:

  • Reserved for issuance to Livery for hire (rental) boats, fee-exempt vessels, city/county-owned livery boats, dealers, manufacturers, and special use.
  • Issued only by the Vessel Section of Registration Processing Unit (RPU) II in DMV headquarters.
  • Available to vessel agents who call the Vessel Section in RPU II.
Alpha SuffixIs Reserved for Issuance to
DA–DZVessel dealers.
LA, LB, LD, LELivery (rental) boats and boats carrying paying passengers.
LCLivery boats owned by a city or county (fee exempt).
MA–MYVessel manufacturers.
MZSpecial use vessels other than dealers or manufacturers.
XCVessels owned by a city, county, district, or municipality (fee exempt).
XFVessels owned by the federal government (fee exempt).
XSVessels owned by the State (fee exempt).
YBVessels owned by certain youth groups (fee exempt).

Livery and For Hire (Rental) Boats—The following must be submitted:

Annual-Exempt Vessels and City/County-Owned Livery Boats—The following must be submitted:

  • A completed BOAT 101.
    • For youth group vessels, SECTION 8— SPECIAL USE CF NUMBERS on the BOAT 101 must be completed to verify the organization’s purpose and be signed by the person in charge of the group.

Refer to Quagga/Zebra Mussel Fee section in this chapter for additional/ exemption information.

Dealers and Manufacturers—Boat dealers and manufacturers may secure a special number for the purpose of demonstrating or testing unregistered vessels. The number must not be permanently-affixed to any vessel and is not transferable. The following must be submitted:

  • A completed Application for Boat Registration Number Dealer-Manufacturer (BOAT 101A) form.
    • “Dealer” or “Manufacturer” must be checked.
    • The applicant’s Board of Equalization (BE) account (permit) number must be shown.
  • The original registration fee (December applications must include the renewal fee).

Dealers and Manufacturers Vessel Number Renewals—A new application and registration fee must be submitted for any dealer or manufacturer vessel number not renewed prior to midnight of the expiration date. A Certificate of Non-Operation (REG 102) form is not acceptable.

Special Use Vessels—Special use vessel applications are handled the same as dealer/manufacturer applications. An example of “special use” would be a marina borrowing vessels from vessel manufacturers throughout the United States for use in movie productions and returning the vessels to the manufacturers at the end of filming.

The following must be submitted:

  • A completed BOAT 101.
  • A REG 256 from the applicant stating where the vessel was obtained, the purpose and location of operation, approximately how long the vessel will be operated, and disposition of the vessel when the special use ends.
  • The fee due.

Transfer of Special CF Numbers

Livery and fee-exempt special numbers cannot be transferred unless the new owner qualifies for the same kind of special number. The LC series cannot be transferred to a nongovernmental livery operator. The qualified buyer must submit:

  • A REG 256 explaining the qualifications of the business, agency, or youth group for the special number.
  • A REG 256 for a vessel used “for hire” (passengers or property) when a use tax exemption is claimed.

Exempt vessels transferred between federal agencies or between state agencies are not subject to use tax.

Transfer from Special to Pleasure CF Number—A pleasure number must be issued when a livery or fee-exempt vessel is transferred to an owner not qualified for the special number. In addition to other transfer requirements, the following must be submitted:

  • A REG 256 stating the vessel will be used for pleasure only.
  • The renewal fee if the former owner was fee exempt.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Change the type license (TL) code to V1.
  • Issue a pleasure CF number.
  • Issue the BOAT 3 booklet.
  • Instruct the owner to remove the old number from the vessel and apply the new number as shown in the BOAT 3.
  • For Motorized Vessels, issue one set of Vessel Carbon Monoxide Warning Stickers and companion brochure and advise the applicant to affix the stickers as explained in the BOAT 3.

Vessel Fees—Refer to Appendix 1F.

Use Tax—Refer to Chapter 4.