“What do you need to register a boat in New Jersey?” is a frequent question many boaters may ask. The registration requirements are regulated by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). The NJSP works together with the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) agency to provide NJ vessel registration and create a safe boating environment for all New Jersey boaters.

All power vessels, regardless of length, must obtain registration and keep it valid through regular renewal. Continue reading the information below to learn how to register a boat in New Jersey and learn which boaters must have a boater safety education certificate or boater license before sitting in the captain’s seat.

Requirements for Boater Registration in New Jersey

New Jersey boat registration instructions state that boaters must have a title and a certificate of number, or registration, before using state waterways. Instructions also specify that vessels over 12’ in length must obtain a boat title before receiving a certificate of number. A copy of the boat registration must be kept on board any time the vessel is operating.

The official New Jersey boat registration form is called the Application for Boat Registration (Form BA-51) and is only available at NJ MVC offices. Since your initial registration must happen at an MVC office, you can complete the form at your registration appointment. The requirements to register a boat in NJ differ based on the vessel’s size.

Note: If your boat is over 12’ long, you simply need to provide the MVC with your completed application, fee payment, boat title and a photo ID card.

“What do you need to register a boat in NJ that is under 12’ long?” is a question some boaters may ask themselves. You will need to appear in person at an MVC office with your fee payment, complete an application and provide the following documents:

  • At least one proof of ownership, such as a notarized bill of sale, a notarized statement of receipt from the seller, or an out-of-state certificate of ownership and registration card. If these are unavailable, provide a certificate of ownership by sworn affidavit, notarized.
  • Social Security card or proof of exemption
  • Valid NJ driver license

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in New Jersey

If you are asked “Is you’re your boat exempt from registration in New Jersey?” you should study the following list of vessels. The common boat registration exemptions in NJ include:

  • Canoes, kayaks, inflatable boats, or surfboards that are propelled by human power alone.
  • Non-powered rowing sculls and racing shells.
  • A ship’s lifeboat.
  • Tenders and dinghies used only to provide direct transportation between a vessel and the shore.
  • Non-powered boats measuring 12’ or less in length.

The list of which boats are exempt from registration in New Jersey also includes those based in neighboring states that are not used in NJ more than 180 days per year, government- and foreign-owned vessels, non-motorized watercraft used only in private lakes and ponds, and racing vessels that have a racing permit from the state marine police.

New Jersey Boat Insurance

Boat insurance rates in NJ vary according to the level of coverage purchased, much like auto insurance rates. Many lien holders and lending companies require you to obtain boat insurance quotes in New Jersey to protect themselves from a loss.

Boat insurance programs in NJ help to cover vessel damage and personal injuries in the event of an accident. Boat insurance companies provide insurance policies to boaters, although the state does not mandate boat insurance coverage.

New Jersey Boat Registration Fees

If you are asking, “How much does it cost to register a boat in New Jersey?” note that this is not a simple answer to obtain. Boat registration fees in New Jersey are divided into nine classes, arranged according to the vehicle’s size and its year of manufacture. Fees can range from approximately $35 to $84, but you can find out your specific costs by calling the MVC at (609) 292-6500.

Renewing Your New Jersey Boat Registration

You can easily renew boat registration online in NJ by using the MVC’s online portal. If you are wondering how to renew your boat registration in New Jersey online, simply create an account and enter information from your registration renewal notice, then pay the fees with a credit card. The fastest way to get a renewal is to visit your local MVC branch office and apply in person.

Some find the mail the most convenient way to obtain a boat registration renewal. You will know when to renew a boat registration in NJ when you receive a renewal notice approximately three months prior to the expiration date. Use the envelope included with the registration renewal notice when submitting your application.

Replacing Your New Jersey Boat Registration

You need to know how to replace your boat registration in New Jersey as soon as possible if your boat registration documents become lost or stolen. You can complete a boat registration replacement in NJ by completing Form OS/SS-52, Application for Duplicate Certificate of Ownership and submit it in person at an MVC office along with the $60 fee. This process is just as important as the car registration replacement process, as this maintains your boat operation privileges within the state.

Boater Safety Courses in New Jersey

A boater safety course in New Jersey is required of all persons wishing to operate a motorized watercraft in the state. One of the best ways to take a New Jersey boating safety course is to sign up for an online boater safety course. Official courses must be approved by the NJSP for boaters to receive an official boat safety certificate, which must be carried on board whenever a vessel is in operation.

New Jersey Boater License

New Jersey is one of the few U.S. states that issues an actual boater license in addition to boat safety certificates. The MVC issues a non-tidal NJ boating license to those who qualify to operate a boat on waterways where the tide does not change. Operating a motorized watercraft without the proper safety certificate license can result in a citation from the NJSP and fines up to $500.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.