The Boat and Recreation Vehicle Registration and Titling Bureau is responsible for managing boat registrations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Services are provided through a statewide network of registration offices, and the bureau works closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure a safe boating experience for MA residents and tourists, alike.

Massachusetts state law requires any motor-powered boat or any boat operated on a public waterway to be registered. Continue reading the sections below to learn detailed information about MA boater registration requirements, including renewing or replacing a boat registration.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Massachusetts

The requirements to register a boat in MA are broad: any motor-powered boat or vessel operated on public waterways must have an MA boat registration. This includes boats that do not use a motor as the primary means of propulsion, such as fishing boats, canoes or sailboats with trolling motors. MA boat registration instructions state that vessels used solely for city, county, state or federal governments must obtain a no-fee MA registration.

In addition to your ELE #1 Registration and Titling Application, submit the following documents:

  • Bill of sale bearing the name, address and signature of the seller.
  • If purchased new from a dealer or online, an original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO).
  • Proof of sales tax paid.
  • For boats 14’ and over, a title from the seller signed over to you.
  • If the vessel was documented by the U.S. Coast Guard, you need a deletion letter from them.
  • Check or money order made out to Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Before submitting your Massachusetts boat registration form and supporting documents, verify that your hull identification number (HIN) matches exactly the number recorded on your paperwork. Note that your sales tax payment is due on the twentieth day of the following month of your date of purchase. Deliver your documents to your closest registration office or mail your paperwork and payment to your appropriate office.

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in Massachusetts

Common boat registration exemptions in Massachusetts include non-motorized boats. Note that vessels with out-of-state registrations used in MA for no more than 60 days per year are exempt. When determining which boats are exempt from registration in Massachusetts, keep in mind that vessels with a documented U.S. Coast Guard registration are also exempt.

Massachusetts Boat Insurance

Researching boat insurance rates in MA and purchasing a boat insurance policy is something that the Recreation Vehicle Registration and Titling Bureau recommends boaters to do. Boat insurance quotes in Massachusetts are readily available to those who agree that having insurance is a wise investment.

If your vessel is financed by a bank loan, the lending institution may require you to purchase insurance that cover your loan amount in the event of a loss. Although state law does not mandate boat insurance coverage, multiple insurance companies provide coverage for all types of vessels.

Massachusetts Boat Registration Fees

You should know that the initial boat registration fees in Massachusetts and the renewal fees are the same and may be paid in the same manner. Boat registration costs in Massachusetts covers a 2-year registration period and is assigned as follows:

  • Boats under 16’ in length: $44
  • Boats 16’ to less than 26’ in length: $66
  • Boats 26’ to less than 40’ in length: $88
  • Boats 40’ and greater in length: $110
  • Duplicate: $11
  • Duplicate registration decal: $5.50
  • Online transaction fee: $1.50

Renewing Your Massachusetts Boat Registration

If you have a valid major credit card for payment, you can renew boat registration online in Massachusetts by using the MA Environmental Police Vessel/Off-Highway Vehicle Online Registration Renewal System. After obtaining a boat registration renewal online, you may print a temporary 15-day registration that will allow you to use your boat legally until you receive your permanent documents in the mail.

If you prefer to renew your registration by mail or in person, you may do so by following the directions on your registration renewal notice. Details on when to renew a boat registration in Massachusetts will also be included on this form, although you should keep in mind that you must renew your registration every two years. If you prefer to renew by mail, send your payment and renewal notice in the self-addressed envelope included with your renewal notification.

Replacing Your Massachusetts Boat Registration

To replace a boat registration in Massachusetts you must by submit a completed Registration and Titling Application and the $11 fee payment. If you prefer to replace your registration from the comfort of your home, you should know that you may also replace a boat registration online via the MA Environmental Police Vessel/Off-Highway Vehicle Online Registration Renewal System. Follow the prompts and pay your fee with a valid credit card as directed.

Boater Safety Courses in Massachusetts

Taking a boater safety course in Massachusetts is only required for youths between 12 and 15 years of age who wish to operate a motorboat without adult supervision. However, taking a Massachusetts boating safety course is a wise decision for any boater. You can save money on your boater insurance if you have earned a boating safety certificate in MA from any safety course approved by the Boat and Recreation Safety Bureau.

Note: One of the most efficient options for a boater safety course is an online option offered by many providers.

Massachusetts Boater License

Massachusetts does not require a boater license, but a boating certificate is often referred to as a boating license. The only type of MA boating license that the state recognizes as such are licenses issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.