The issuing of NM vessel registrations, administration of safety and education, and enforcement of state boating laws falls under the jurisdiction of New Mexico State Boating Program, a division of the NM State Parks Division and is responsible for. Operating a boat in NM with an expired registration or no registration is considered a no-excuse violation that will result in fines up to $500, so it is imperative to stay on top of registration due dates and renewal notices. Review the information outlined below to learn New Mexico boat registration instructions, fees and policies to help you take care of this important duty.

Requirements for Boater Registration in New Mexico

“What do you need to register a boat in New Mexico?” is a question many boaters may ask themselves. Though most boaters view the requirements to register a boat in New Mexico as a singular process, there are actually three steps to vessel registration: titling, numbering and paying the excise tax. The dealer usually files the registration form and taxes for you if you purchase your vessel from a dealership.

Note: If the dealer does not complete this process for you, you are responsible for meeting all the requirements within 30 days of the date of purchase.

The NM Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) handles all requirements to register a boat in NM and you must obtain your initial boat registration in person at your local MVD office. Call ahead and request an appointment with someone familiar with registration requirements, as those agents may only work during certain hours each week. The phone agent can tell you which boat registration documents you need, which may include a manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO), boat title, bill of sale, previous registration or certificate of title and a photo ID card.

Requirements to register a boat in NM include having it numbered, which basically means obtaining a registration card and decal numbers to apply to the vessel’s hull. Registration is required for all boats powered by machinery, even as a secondary type of propulsion, and all motorboats or sailboats 10’ long or longer.

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in New Mexico

“Is your boat exempt from registration in New Mexico?” is a question you should ask, especially when purchasing a used boat directly from the previous owner. Common boat registration exemptions in New Mexico apply to the following boats:

  • Canoes, kayaks or rafts powered by paddles or oars.
  • Sailboards and windsurfing boards.
  • U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels.
  • Boats registered out of state and not kept on NM waters more than 90 consecutive days.

New Mexico Boat Insurance

Boat insurance rates in NM are competitive and boaters generally find the expense worth the peace of mind provided by insurance protection, although this coverage is not required by the state. You may be required to obtain boat insurance quotes in New Mexico and purchase a certain level of insurance if you have a lien or loan with a lending company. Coverage policies protect your financial investment in your vessel if you were to suffer an accident on the water or another type of boat-related loss or damage.

New Mexico Boat Registration Fees

If you are asking, “How much does it cost to register a boat in New Mexico?” you should know that the state of New Mexico tries to keep its registration fees reasonable. Your boat registration fees in New Mexico are determined by the length of your vessel. Once you have paid the fees and the state has processed your application, the registration will be valid for three years.

Rates are outlined below according to class number, motorboat length and rate:

  • Class A: Less Than 16 feet — $28.50
  • Class 1: 16’ to less than 26’ — $36
  • Class 2: 26’ to less than 40’ — $43.50
  • Class 3: 40’ to less than 65’ — $5 1
  • 65 feet and over — $66
  • Duplicate registration — $5

Renewing Your New Mexico Boat Registration

You may renew boat registration online in New Mexico through the MVD online portal. If you are wondering how to renew your boat registration in New Mexico, note that you may not receive a renewal notice for vessel registration but that it is always due within 60 days of December 31 of the year shown on your registration decal. You also can apply for boat registration renewal at your local MVD office by bringing your current registration card, photo ID and a form of fee payment.

Replacing Your New Mexico Boat Registration

You must replace a boat registration in New Mexico in person at your local MVD office if your boat registration documents or decals are missing or damaged. If you are wondering how to replace your boat registration in New Mexico online, you should be aware that you currently cannot replace this document via the internet and must visit an MVD office in person to do so.

Boater Safety Courses in New Mexico

Taking an official boater safety course in New Mexico became mandatory in 2007. A boating safety class is required for operators of all vessels who are 28 years of age or younger in 2017, 29 or younger in 2018 and 30 years old or younger in 2019. A safety course teaches the laws of operation, safety rules, how to meet mandatory equipment requirements for your vessel and the differences between boating under the influence (BUI) and boating while intoxicated (BWI).

One of the best options for boating safety education is to take a course online. You may also take a course in person by contacting the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) for more information at (866) 764-2628.

New Mexico Boater License

New Mexico boaters do not need an online boating license or a boating license obtained in any other method in order to legally operate a boat in the state. Instead of a boater license, boaters need to have a boater education card awarded at the end of a boater safety course.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.