Yes, boat registration numbers stay with the boat when it is sold, and that includes Michigan MC numbers. The proper process for selling and buying a boat in Michigan is to have the boat’s bill of sale with the new owner, along with any titles. If you do not have a title, you can present the bill of sale and any documentation about the boat (Hull ID, MC number) at any Secretary of State office (make an appointment online at michigan.gov/sos) to transfer from the previous owner to you. They will issue a provisional title and give you a copy of this.
To start the process of transferring from the previous owner to you, or from you to a new owner, go to michigan.gov/sos and have the new owner log in to their account.
When you log in, you’ll go to vehicle then watercraft registration. If you have a Michigan’ Driver’s license or pay business taxes in Michigan, you’ll already have an account, so log in with that. You can initiate a TRANSFER from the previous owner to you. ONLY if your boat was purchased out of state do you need to get new MC numbers – because, well, they’re not MC numbers if they’re out of state!
Remember, we are NOT the Secretary of State. We just make stickers. But we’ve had a lot of boats over the years, and we own several right now (some that require a registration, such as those over 20′ in length, or that have an engine of any size, and some that don’t, that are human or wind powered and under 20′ in length.) So we’ve done a lot of the processes you ask us about all the time!
And yes, we do have nice MC numbers on our own boat (see, right.)