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How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Florida

Most new boats must be registered through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHS&MV) before they can be sailed.


  1. Any powerboat using public waters
  2. Non-powered boats longer than sixteen feet


  1. Boats registered in another state and not being used in Florida for more than 90 days
  2. Boats registered in another country temporarily plying in Florida waters (with a temporary permit and for not more than 90 days)
  3. A sailboat without a motor
  4. A ship's lifeboat
  5. Any boat less than sixteen feet long that is propelled only by oars or paddles
  6. Boats owned by the US government
  7. Boats owned by the state
  8. Boats sailed on private waters



Boat registration fees range from $7.25 to $126.25, depending on the size of the boat. See here for a more detailed breakdown of the registration fees, and see here for information on the classes of vessels based on size. In addition, sales tax may be applicable at the time of purchase and a surcharge may apply in some counties.


  • The vessel registration number, hull identification number and current decals must be clearly displayed on the vessel, according to Florida requirements.
  • For additional information, see the Florida State Boating Law Summary

Reviews of How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Florida

We live in a state that does not require state registration for boats registered with US Coast Guard. If we travel to Florida for less than 60 days, are there any registration requirements?

I have a lifeboat. This vessel has never been registered, as it does not require any registration as a lifeboat. However, I wish to convert it to a personal pleasure vessel. I have the bill of sale only, as it was purchased from a ship scrap yard. How do I go about registering this vessel?

The Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory has a new 65' Research Vessel that has a CERTIFICATE OF DOCUMENTATION from the Department of Homeland Security United States Coast Guard. Is it required to be registered thru the State of Florida and do we need to have FL numbers & a Registration decal? If YES, what documents does the State of Florida require so the the vessel can be registered? The CERTIFICATE OF DOCUMENTATION is in a frame posted in the wheelhouse. Where it is supposed to remain. Please advise. We want to be in compliance.

I am a boat manfacture and would like to know how to apply for a VIN number for a new hull that I am selling

I built a skiff 11' 4" and would like to put an outboard motor on it . What must I do to register it


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