A New Hampshire boat registration is required for most types of vessels operating on the state’s waters. While boating laws and regulations are managed by the New Hampshire Department of Safety (NHDS), boat registrations are processed through the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles, or DMV. To learn how to register a boat in NH and familiarize yourself with the state’s renewal and replacement policies, review the sections detailed below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in New Hampshire

The requirements to register a boat in New Hampshire begin with finding out which types of vessels require registration. The vessel’s owner must complete the registration form numbered DSMV 157A and submit it to the NH DMV.

New Hampshire boat registration instructions state that all motorized vessels must be registered, even those using motors as a secondary mode of propulsion, regardless of length. Sailboats and sailboards longer than 12’ must also conform to NH boat registration guidelines to be legally operated on state waters.

When applying for a boat registration make sure to bring the following documents:

  • Proof of ownership, usually via a bill of sale or dealer’s receipt.
  • Your NH driver license or state-issued photo ID card.
  • Verification of Vessel Identity (Form RDMV 690) completed by a law enforcement officer, if your hull identification number (HIN) needs an inspection.
  • Payment for your NH registration fees.

You may present your NH boat registration form and other documents in person at certain DMV offices or at authorized boat agents located throughout the state. If it is more convenient, you may submit your NH boat registration application by mailing to the Concord DMV:

NH Department of Safety
DMV – Boat Registrations
23 Hazen Dr.
Concord, NH 03305

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in New Hampshire

You should know whether your boat meets the exemption guidelines in the state in order to save you time and money. Common boat registration exemptions in NH include sailboats less than 12’ in length and any boat less than 10’ long. The list of which boats are exempt from registration in New Hampshire also includes:

  • Vessels propelled exclusively by oars or paddles.
  • Rowboats and canoes powered by sail or human power
  • Watercraft registered in another state or country using NH waters for 30 consecutive days or less.
  • Vessels owned or operated by the U.S. government.

New Hampshire Boat Insurance

Although researching boat insurance rates in NH can help give boaters peace of mind, carrying it is not mandated by the state. However, lien holders may require boaters to obtain boat insurance quotes in New Hampshire and buy coverage to protect their investment.

Marinas and other boat docking facilities often protect their interests by requiring boaters to have comprehensive boat insurance coverage. Insurance coverage can help protect boaters from serious financial impact in the event of a boating accident causing personal property loss and bodily injuries.

New Hampshire Boat Registration Fees

Boat registration fees in New Hampshire start at $10 and increase depending upon the vessel’s age, size and type. The boat registration cost in New Hampshire can be over $1,000 when obtained for a new, diesel-powered vessel that is 52 feet or longer. You may obtain a complete boat registration fee chart online or at your local DMV office.

Renewing Your New Hampshire Boat Registration

If you are wondering how to renew a boat registration in New Hampshire, note that all NH registrations expire on December 31 of every year, regardless of when you first obtained the registration. Therefore, it is recommended that you obtain your initial registration early in the year so that you are not paying a full year of fees for just a few months of registration.

You can obtain a boat registration renewal in New Hampshire by completing and returning the renewal notice along with a check payment for the renewal fee. You can deliver this in person at any DMV office, authorized boat agent or certified marina, or submit it by mail to the Hazen Drive address provided above.

Replacing Your New Hampshire Boat Registration

The steps to replace a boat registration in New Hampshire are similar to those for registration renewal, except you must complete and submit an Application for Replacement Boat Decals form. It is important to know how to replace your registration in New Hampshire, so you can replace it if it is lost or too damaged to use. Carrying proper registration verification is required by law any time a watercraft is in operation.

Note: You cannot replace a boat registration online at this time, but you may mail your form to the address listed above or submit it at a DMV office.

Boater Safety Courses in New Hampshire

Every boater aged 16 or older must take a boater safety course in New Hampshire if they are operating a motorboat over 25 horsepower on state waters. You can take a safety course online from the comfort of your home. After taking an official boater safety course in NH with an NHDS-approved class, boaters receive a boating education certificate.

New Hampshire Boater License

A New Hampshire online boating license or one obtained in person is what some people call the document that is actually a boating education certificate. Although the terms “boater license” and “boating certificate” are used interchangeably, only the certificate is required in NH in order to legally operate a boat in the state.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.