Boat registration in Florida is a requirement for various types of vessels. In fact, failure to complete the registration in the state after 30 days of ownership is a second-degree misdemeanor. It is important to register any boat that is going to be out in Florida waters so the state can ensure vessels are being operated safely and legally. To learn how to register a boat in FL and to become familiar with the various requirements and exemptions, review the details provided below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Florida

The process for registering a boat has numerous requirements. Boaters must complete a new boat registration application and submit it to a license plate office or a local county tax collector. During the vessel registration process, applicants must also submit proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale, a manufacturer’s statement of origin, a contract from the builder or a federal marine document.

Additionally, decals and the registration certificate are only available after a vessel is titled. Boat owners must title and register all vessels within 30 days, with proof of purchase onboard throughout this period.

Exemptions From Registration and Titling in Florida

Florida boat registration is not a requirement for all vessels. Registration is dependent on the type of vessel, its use and its owner. For instance, is not necessary to register a canoe in Florida. The other types of vessels exempt from registration in FL include:

  • Vessels with boat registration numbers from other states, so long as these boats are not operated/stored in Florida waters for a period longer than 90 days.
  • Vessels used solely as lifeboats for a ship.
  • Boats owned by the United States government.
  • Vessels used only on private ponds and lakes.
  • Vessels that are not motor-powered and are less than 16’ long.
  • All kayaks, canoes, rowing sculls and racing shells that are not motor-powered.

Florida Boat Insurance

While there are various requirements for registering a boat in Florida, obtaining insurance for the vessel is not a state requirement. When registering a boat in Florida, it is crucial that all boaters consider the advantages of a comprehensive boating insurance policy. Immediately after obtaining a new boat registration, boat owners can protect their vessels with a policy that covers property damage, personal injury and more.

Florida Boat Registration Fees

It is a requirement for boaters to submit payment for the applicable fees. Boat registration fees in Florida vary based on the size of the vessel and are provided below:

  • Class A-1 (with a length of less than 12’): $5.50
  • Class A-2 (from 12’ to less than 16’): $16.25
  • Class 1 (from 16’ to less than 26’): $28.75
  • Class 2 (from 26’ to less than 40’): $78.25
  • Class 3 (from 40’ to less than 65’): $127.75
  • Class 4 (from 65’ to less than 110’): $152.75
  • Class 5 (with a length of 110’ or more): $189.75

However, reduced vessel registration fees are available for certain vessels in certain instances. Namely, lower fees are available for vessels with Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and for vessel owners who have Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs).

Renewing Your Florida Boat Registration

Florida boat registration renewal is possible online through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) website, by mail or in person at a local county tax collector’s office. Registration renewal is available up to three months in advance of the document’s expiration date, and boaters can request either a one-year or a two-year registration document.

The owner of the vessel must complete boat registration renewal on his or her birth month every year or every two years, based on the length of the document’s validity. If multiple individuals own the boat, the first-named owner’s birth month will determine when renewal is necessary.

Replacing Your Florida Boat Registration

Boat registration replacement is compulsory if a boater loses his or her documentation. Replacement is also necessary if damage happens to the original boat stickers, rendering them unusable.

To replace decals and registration documentation, vessel owners must complete Form HSMV 87015 and submit it to their local license plate office or county tax collector. Owners can replace lost or destroyed titles by filling out Form HSMV 82101 and submitting it to a local license plate office or county tax collector with payment for the $6 fee.

Boater Safety Courses in Florida

After obtaining documented vessel registration in Florida, operators must focus on safely using their boats at all times. Boaters with valid boat registrations who are convicted of two non-criminal vessel safety violations within a one-year period are required to complete a boater education course that is approved by the state of Florida and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Courses are available online and in person, and proof of course completion must be sent to the FL Commission’s Boating and Waterways Section. Additionally, vessel operators convicted of a criminal boating infraction or a violation that caused a boating accident must complete the standard boater education class along with a four-hour violator course.

Note: Boating safety education courses and exams are also required for first-time boaters who wish to obtain licensure.

Florida Boater License

Boat registration decals are just one requirement for boaters in Florida. Boat registration requirements demand that vessel operators born on January 1, 1988 or after obtain a boating safety education ID card from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) if they operate a boat with 10 or more horsepower. Vessel owners interested in obtaining Florida boat registrations can gain the necessary ID card by sending in a letter with their mailing address, birth date, full name, phone number and proof of safety course completion to the FWC at:

Division of Law Enforcement
Boating Safety Section
620 S. Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.