A Colorado boat registration is used as proof of ownership and legal operation of the watercraft. A boat bill of sale, invoice, or certificate or origin will need to be presented at a state park office when completing a registration application. Boaters can register a boat online, in person or by mail. Learn more about vessel registration in Colorado through the following sections:
- Requirements for boater registration in Colorado.
- Exemptions from registration and titling in Colorado.
- Colorado boat insurance.
- Colorado boat registration fees.
- Renewing your Colorado boat registration.
- Replacing your Colorado boat registration.
- Boater safety course in Colorado.
- Colorado boater licenses.
Requirements for Boater Registration in Colorado
After purchasing a vessel in Colorado, a boat decal and vessel registration are the next documents to acquire. Registering a boat requires the boat owner to present the original bill of sale or documentation showing ownerships, an application for registration and any applicable fees. Colorado will conduct a boat VIN lookup to verify any information provided by the current owner. Boaters will also be required to study Colorado boating regulations. All boat registration requirements must be met to be able to enjoy operating a watercraft on state waterways. Once boat registration decals have been assigned, they will need to be displayed on each bow of the vessel.
Exemptions From Registration and Titling in Colorado
Boat registration numbers are not required for watercrafts documented with the U.S Bureau of Customs. Boaters have a grace period for boat registration stickers where he or she can have a bill of sale onboard for 30 days while obtaining an official registration. Foreign vessels and out-of-state boats that do not exceed 60 days of consecutive operation will not need to be registered in Colorado. Examples of watercrafts that do not require a vessel registration but will need the owner's name and address visible on the watercraft include:
- Non-motorized rafts
Colorado Boat Insurance
Colorado boat registration does not require boaters to have boat insurance but it is advised. Similar to a motor vehicle, liability, personal injury and property damage insurance is available for boats. When involved in an accident on the waterways documented vessel registration needs to up to date and watercraft insurance will be able to cover any damages caused by the accident.
Colorado Boat Registration Fees
Boat registration fees are used by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife to sustain natural resources and ensure the safety of all boaters. CO boat registration fees cannot be refunded or issued for a partial time period. Colorado boat registration fees are contingent upon the length of the boat and are as follows:
- Up to 20 feet in length - $35.25
- Between 20 and 30 feet - $45.25
- Any vessel over 30 feet - $75.25
Renewing your Colorado Boat Registration
Boat registration decals are valid for one year at a time and will need to be renewed each year before December 31st. All documented vessel registration is valid from January 1st until December 31st of the same year regardless of when the boat was originally registered. Vessel registration renewal can be completed in person or online. The boat registration renewal card is mailed each November.
Replacing your Colorado Boat Registration
Boat registration replacement will be necessary when the original has been lost, stolen or damaged. Watercraft owners will need to notify Colorado Parks and Wildlife within 15 days. This time period also applies to a boat decal replacement where one has been lost or destroyed for any reason. Prior to a Colorado boat registration replacement, owners who have a change of address will also need to notify Parks and Wildlife of the change. Boaters will need to provide an explanation as to the reason need for a replacement as well as a $5 fee.
Boater Safety Courses in Colorado
A primary requirement of a new boat registration in Colorado is for resident boat owners to attend a boater safety course. Documented vessel registrations require boaters to be knowledgeable of all laws and regulations. The boat registration course will also cover topics like navigation aids, boat capacity, safety equipment and personal floatation devices. Students will also learn through the Colorado State Parks course how to properly maintain and operate the boat. Prior to registering a boat, students will need to pass his or her exam with a 70% or higher to be issued a license in Colorado. The course is for any operator 14 years of age and older.
Colorado Boater Licenses
Even though registering a boat requires a boater safety course, Colorado does not have mandatory boat operating licenses. The boat registration safety course will issue a certificate that will allow boaters the authority to operate a water vessel. Colorado state parks provide the course and no one under the age of 14 can operate a watercraft.