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How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Texas

Most new boats must be registered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) before they can be sailed. Vessels in this category need to be registered to use Texas waters even for docking, mooring or storing.

VESSELS THAT REQUIRE REGISTRATION

  1. Any motorboat (including those using motors as secondary propelling source, like sailboats).
  2. Sailboats longer than 14 feet.
  3. Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.

VESSELS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION

  1. Commercial vessels registered with the U.S. Coast Guard for the purpose of shipping on the coasts.
  2. Vessels that are documented and longer than 115 feet.
  3. Any boat (including canoes, kayaks, etc) that is propelled only by oars or paddles.
  4. Any sailboat that is propelled only by sails and less than 14 feet long.
  5. Boats registered in another country/state and not being used in Texas for more than 90 days.

TO REGISTER IN PERSON

  • You can register a boat in person only by visiting any TPWD office or any tax collection office that deals with boat registrations. This can be confirmed by calling the local tax office.
  • You must bring a completed boat registration application (PWD 143 form) and proof of ownership such as a bill of sale, invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin, previous title and registration, or out-of-state title; and sales tax receipt (if applicable). For boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, the documentation or its copy is also required for registration.

FEES

Boat registration fees range from $30 to $90, depending on the size of the vessel. See here for a more detailed breakdown of the registration fees.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Both the vessel registration number and current decals must be clearly displayed on the vessel, according to Texas requirements.
  • The vessel's registration papers must be carried on the vessel while sailing.
  • For additional information, contact the Boat Information Hotline at (800) 262-8755.
 

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