Before you buy a watercraft from a private seller you should check that there are no existing security interests on it by searching the PPSR. If a security interest has been registered against the watercraft, it may not be debt-free and may be repossessed, even after you have bought it.
Make sure you search immediately before you make your purchase, to protect yourself against repossession. For more information on buyer protection, see searching and buyer protections.
There is no National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information System (NEVDIS) data available for watercraft. The PPSR does not link to state maritime authorities to verify watercraft details.
Before you start
To search, you need identification information for the watercraft:
- the official number, a six-digit serial number allocated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
- the hull identification number (HIN), a unique identifier of 14 characters and numbers for a boat allocated by a registration authority of a state or territory or other authorised persons or
An outboard motor requires a different search
The PPSR does not list outboard motors as watercraft. If you wish to search for security interests on an outboard motor, you need to search under the name of the person or by the organisation selling you the motor (the grantor). For more information see searching by grantor.
Start your search for watercraft
Go to search for watercraft.
Step 1: Search details
Select the type of serial number you are using.
Enter the watercraft serial number. Make sure you enter the serial number correctly, or you risk getting a result for the wrong watercraft.
If you have not entered the serial number as per the general guidance below, the page will display a message which reminds you to double check the details you have entered.
When searching on an Official number include any leading zeros to make the full 6 numbers (e.g 031111) but do not enter the "ON" prefix.
When searching on a HIN, enter the HIN in full (e.g. AU-TRX 48119 H765).
Note, a HIN search will search the PPSR whether you use upper or lower case, or include dashes and or spaces.
(e.g. AU-TRX 48119 H765 matches autrx48 119-H765)
Optional: Enter a Client billing reference, this reference will appear on the Tax invoice/Receipt.
The fee for the search is displayed on the screen.
Step 2: Payment
Enter your credit card details. The fee for the search is displayed on the screen.
If you would like your receipt emailed to you, enter your email address. Entering your email address here only emails your receipt. It does not email your search certificate.
The next page will allow you to email your search certificate.
Click Pay now.
Step 3: Search result summary
The result of your search is displayed, along with a unique search number, and a downloadable Tax invoice/Receipt..
For an explanation of your search result, go to understanding my search results.
Step 4: Email or view your search certificate
Make sure you email your search certificate to ensure you have an official and legal copy of your search. You will need it if anyone challenges your right to the watercraft.
Click the email icon
Enter your email address.
Confirm your email address.
Click the email icon.
Note: Confirmation that the search certificates(s) have been emailed will be displayed on screen.
If you do not have an email address ensure you view your search certificate to save your official and legal copy of your search.
Your search certificate will contain the details of all security interests contained in your search result.
For further details on your search result and search certificate see: Understanding watercraft search results.
For more information on buyer protection, see searching and buyer protections.