A Colorado boat registration is used as proof of ownership and legal operation of the watercraft. Furthermore, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife is responsible for ensuring all boats meet proper safety standards and are legally operating in Colorado’s waterways. 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 online, in person or by mail. Learn more about vessel registration in Colorado below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Colorado

After purchasing a vessel in Colorado, a boater registration sticker is the first document you need to get. Registering a boat requires the boat owner to present an original documentation showing ownership, an application for registration and any applicable fees. Colorado will verify any information provided by the current owner in order to complete the registration.

Boaters will also be required to study Colorado boating regulations. All requirements must be met to be able to enjoy operating a watercraft on state waterways. Once a registration decal has been distributed, 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 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 boater registration but will need the owner’s name and address visible on the watercraft include:

  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Sailboards
  • Non-motorized rafts

Colorado Boat Insurance

Colorado boat registration does not require boaters to have 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, boat registration documents need to be 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. These costs 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 31. All registration documents are valid from January 1 until December 31 of the same year regardless of when the boat was originally registered. Boater registration renewal can be completed in person or online. The 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 registration replacement where one has been lost or destroyed for any reason.

Prior to obtaining a 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. Colorado Parks and Wildlife 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.

Last updated on Monday, March 11 2019.

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