Pennsylvania boat registration is handled by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. Pennsylvania boat registration instructions dictate that certain types of boats must be registered before being operated on the state’s waters. You must obtain a registration on any boat with a gasoline, diesel, or electric powered motor.

Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard for purposes of recreation, such as yachts and other large pleasure boats, must also obtain registration before setting sail. Registration is also required for sailboats and other vessels that get auxiliary power from fuel or electric engines. Learn more about boat registrations, exemptions and fees in Pennsylvania by reading the sections below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Pennsylvania

“What do you need to register a boat in Pennsylvania?” is a common question many boaters may ask themselves. The registration requirements are summarized below and are based on the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s policies. The PA boat registration form is a basic document used throughout the state to obtain boat registration.

The Pennsylvania boat registration instructions including providing some of the following documents:

  • Completed Form REV 336, Application for Pennsylvania Boat Registration and/or Boat Title
  • Previous owner’s registration card
  • Signed Bill of Sale (or purchaser’s signature on Form REV 336)
  • A Certificate of Title, if previously titled in another state
  • Affidavit of Ownership (if never before registered)
  • Capacity plate (if there is no capacity plate, apply for one via Form PFBC-702)

Note: If the boat does not have a title, the new owner must apply for one. Also, make sure to fill in Form REV 336 using all capital letters.

Once the PA boat registration form is completed, mail the application and supporting documents along with a check or money order for your fee payment made out to the Fish and Boat Commission. After processing, the Commission will issue your registration documents and the decals to display on the exterior of your vessel.

Exemptions From Boat Registration and Titling in Pennsylvania

The Commission determines common boat registration exemptions in Pennsylvania because not all boats have to be registered and tilted. If you are asked, “Is your boat exempt from registration in Pennsylvania?” you should know that registration exemptions mostly involve non-powered vessels. The list of exemptions in Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Non-powered watercraft such as surfboards and items used primarily as swimming aids.
  • Unpowered kayaks, canoes, sailboats, inflatable boats, rowboats and rafts.

Pennsylvania Boat Insurance

Boat insurance rates in PA are competitive and offered with a variety of coverage options and price points. Obtaining boat insurance quotes in Pennsylvania is not a requirement to operate and own a boat in the state.

Many boaters get coverage to protect their property and cover personal injury for themselves and others who ride in their boats.  Boaters can check with their home or auto insurance providers to see if they can bundle their boat insurance policy with other coverage options for better prices, if these types of policies are available.

Registration Fees

Boat registration fees in Pennsylvania cover a registration period of two years. If you are asking, “How much does it cost to register a boat in Pennsylvania?” you should review the fee table below:

  • Boats 16’ long or shorter – $26
  • Boats 16’ to 20’ – $39
  • Boats 20’ and longer – $52
  • Boats with no power/no motor – $18
  • Commercial Passenger – $50
  • Duplicate Registration Certificate – $3

The cost for registration is the same across the state, no matter which county applicants reside in.

Renewing Your Pennsylvania Boat Registration

You can renew boat registration online in Pennsylvania via the Commission’s secure e-commerce site, called the Outdoor Shop. To learn how to renew registration, log on to the Outdoor Shop and follow the prompts that guide you through the steps. Alternatively, you may apply for boat registration renewal in Pennsylvania through the mail by returning your renewal card along with the associated payment to the address provided on the renewal notice.

Replacing Your Pennsylvania Boat Registration

To replace registration, use Form PFBC-732, “Change of Address, Status or Request for Duplicate Certificate of Registration.” The process of how to replace your boat registration in Pennsylvania can only be accomplished obtained from the Commission Licensing and Registration Section. Boat owners are unable to replace a boat registration online at this time, and if registration documentation is lost or damaged, the fee is $3 for a duplicate registration card, while replacement of decals is free.

Boater Safety Courses in Pennsylvania

Taking a boater safety course in Pennsylvania is required to operate a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a jet ski, and are required for the operation of motor-powered boats with 25 horsepower or more if the operator was born after January 1, 1982. Only an official Pennsylvania boating safety course and accompanying exam will meet this requirement.

Pennsylvania Boater License

Similar to an online boating license, the Boating Safety Education Certificate Card serves as proof that a boater has passed the proper boater safety course in PA and therefore has permission to operate certain watercraft in Pennsylvania waters. It is important for boaters to carry this boater license on them whenever operating a boat. The boating license in Pennsylvania is a Commission-issued, waterproof plastic card with a punched hole for easy attachment to a boat key, lifejacket or PWC lanyard.

To obtain this card, mail the “Application for a Permanent Boating Safety Education Certificate Card” form to the address on the form. This form can also be used to obtain a replacement card. The initial card is $10, while a replacement is $5.

Note: Processing and delivery of permanent license certification can take anywhere from 30 to 40 days. Temporary certification will be provided at the time of course completion, but will expire after 60 days, so plan ahead and file for a permanent card in a timely fashion.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.