A new boat registration procedure must be performed at the state department of motor vehicles before operating a water vessel. Residents need to obtain a vessel registration and decals or stickers if they have recently purchased either a new boat, or a used one from a private seller. The procedure for obtaining documented vessel registration will require eligible boaters to satisfy certain requirements set by the state. The methods for registering a boat may vary based on the state where you plan to operate your watercraft. In addition, boat registration requirements will also differ between states; therefore boaters are encouraged to conduct research online or to contact a local natural resources and/or recreation department in order to find out the exact procedure. Generally, when registering a boat in your state, you will be required you to complete specific steps, pay applicable fees and submit a set of documents. Learn more about how to register a boat in your state by visiting your state-specific page:

  • Methods for getting new boat registration.
  • New boating registration requirements.
  • New boating registration fees.
Select a state to begin:
Select a state to begin:

Methods for Getting New Boat Registration

Vessel owners must complete a boat registration procedure in addition to obtaining a boater’s license. Boat registration can either in person at the designated recreation department office in their state or online and by mail. The methods for registering a boat may vary depending on the state where you live, because each department has its own regulations and procedures. For instance, California offers boaters the option to complete a vessel registration procedure either by submitting the needed documents via mail or bringing them in person to a nearby office. Moreover, boaters are encouraged to check the list of required documents for a boat registration and title in order to avoid any inconvenience when present at the office. Therefore, contact the appropriate state department prior to registering a boat in your state in order to find out the available methods and the necessary requirements.

New Boating Registration Requirements

Boaters need to complete a boat registration procedure and title the newly purchased vessels, regardless of whether they are new or used boats from a third party. The procedures for obtaining a vessel registration or title are similar in all states and require applicants to complete an application form when submitting other documents. Both the vessel title and boat registration requirements may also vary based on the state where you live and on whether the vehicle you have purchased is new or old. For instance, when registering a boat in Florida, boaters are required to do the following:

  • Submit a completed boat registration application form.
  • Provide proof of ownership of the vessel, such as: manufacturer’s certificate of origin, boat bill of sale, contract with the vessel builder or a federal marine document.
  • Provide proof of boat title.
  • Submit payment for the applicable boat registration fees.

Note that boaters who are registering boats purchased from another person are also expected to provide signatures from both the buyer and the seller on their boat titles. Without those signatures, the boat title will be considered invalid. Also, bear in mind that these boat registration requirements do not apply in all states. Therefore, be sure to contact your state department of natural resources to find out how to register a boat in your state of residence.

New Boating Registration Fees

When registering boats in your state, a few procedures must be satisfied. Boat registration requirements may differ from one state to another, as well as the fees needed for registering boats and watercrafts. The cost of boat registration fees will also depend on other factors, such as the type and class of vessel you own and your state of residence. For instance, boaters who wonder how to register boats in Florida may be required to pay some or all of the following types of fees, depending on their specific situation:

  • Title fees.
  • The original title fee per lien recorded.
  • Fees for previous vessels located out of the state.
  • Original boat registration fees, which vary based on the length and class of the vessel.
  • Boat registration service fees.

Note that these fees will also vary based on your residential state and specific situation. Therefore, boaters who want to find out specific boat registration fees are encouraged to contact their state recreational department.

Last updated on Monday, March 11 2019.