Delaware law requires all motorboats, including those powered by electric motors, to be registered. A valid boat registration card must be carried on the vessel any time it is in operation, and you can receive a ticket from the DE Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police if you cannot present one when asked.

The vessel’s operator bears responsibility for making sure the boat is registered and operated in a safe manner. To learn more about boater registration requirements in Delaware, including exemptions, renewals and licenses, review the information outlined below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Delaware

To get your boat registered, you must first complete a boat registration form, available from the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. Certain documents are also needed in order to register a boat in the state, including:

  • A boat title, if the vessel was titled in another state.
  • The current registration, if the boat was registered in another state.
  • A notarized bill of sale including a description of the boat.
  • If new, a manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO).
  • Photo ID card.

Delaware boat registration instructions state that a notarized bill of sale is not necessary if both the buyer and the seller appear in person at the Fish & Wildlife licensing office with photo identification.

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in Delaware

Common boat registration exemptions in Delaware include all non-motorized vessels. Other exempted boats and watercraft include those that are documented with the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, vessels registered in other states that use DE waters for 60 days or less annually fit into the category.

Delaware Boat Insurance

Multiple boat insurance rates in Delaware are available through various policies to cover all types of boats used on the state’s waterways, but the law does not require boat owners to have insurance. However, if there is a loan or a lien against your vessel, the lending institution may require you to purchase boat insurance programs in DE that are enough to pay off the loan in the event of a loss. Furthermore, insurance quotes are readily available to those who feel that purchasing insurance on their boat is a wise investment.

Delaware Boat Registration Fees

The answer depends on two main factors, because boat registration fees in DE are determined by the vessel’s size and whether you purchase a registration that is good for one or three years. The current boat registration cost in Delaware is as follows:

  • Class A (less than 16’): $20 annually or $60 for three years
  • Class I (16’ or over and less than 26’): $40 annually or $120 for three years
  • Class II (26’ or over and less than 40’): $60 annually or $180 for three years
  • Class III (40’ or over and less than 65’): $100 annually or $300 for three years
  • Class IV (65’ or over not required to be documented): $120 annually or $360 for three years

Other boat related fees include $2.30 for a duplicate or replacement registration, $3.45 to transfer a registration with a current DE registration card, and $35 to obtain a tidal ramp certificate.

Renewing Your Delaware Boat Registration

You may renew boat registration online in Delaware through the Fish and Wildlife Division’s online renewal portal by entering your vessel’s hull identification number (HIN), boat number, and the last name or company name of the owner. You can also obtain a boat registration renewal in DE by bringing your current registration card to an authorized boat registration sales outlet or the Fish and Wildlife licensing office. If you want to renew your registration by mail, simply send your renewal fee payment to the address listed on your renewal notice.

How to Replace your Boat Registration in Delaware

You must replace a boat registration in Delaware whenever you notice that your registration card or decal is lost or damaged. You can replace your registration online through the Fish and Wildlife Division’s online system. You can request duplicates at the Fish and Wildlife licensing office or at an authorized boat registration sales outlet.

Boater Safety Course in Delaware

If you were born after December 31, 1977, you must have completed a valid Delaware boating safety course to legally operate any motorized watercraft in the state. If you are older than this, you are not required to take an official boater safety course in DE, although you may choose to do so to learn more about boat safety and Delaware boating laws. One of the easiest to take a course is online. To obtain a valid certificate, you must take a course that is approved by the Fish and Wildlife Division.

Delaware Boater License

Delaware does not require a boater license, but vessel operators are expected to have a valid boater safety education certificate onboard whenever the boat is in operation. Although a boating certificate is often referred to as a Delaware boating license, it is not the same thing as a license. There are two types of licenses that are recognized as such. These are licenses issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or the Canadian government and the Delaware River and Bay Pilot’s License.

Last updated on Monday, March 11 2019.

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