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How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Texas

Most new boats must be registered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) before they can be sailed. Vessels in this category need to be registered to use Texas waters even for docking, mooring or storing.


  1. Any motorboat (including those using motors as secondary propelling source, like sailboats).
  2. Sailboats longer than 14 feet.
  3. Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.


  1. Commercial vessels registered with the U.S. Coast Guard for the purpose of shipping on the coasts.
  2. USCG documented vessels exceeding 115 feet in length.
  3. Any boat (including canoes, kayaks, etc) that is propelled only by oars or paddles.
  4. Any sailboat that is propelled only by sails and less than 14 feet long.
  5. Boats registered in another country/state and not being used in Texas for more than 90 days.


  • You can register a boat in person only by visiting any TPWD office or any tax collection office that deals with boat registrations. This can be confirmed by calling the local tax office.
  • Only the owner of record can renew the registration. The owner of record may authorize someone to renew their registration for them, by completing a Letter of Authorization form PWD 581. Valid government issued photo identification must be presented at the office by the person submitting the renewal request. For boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, the documentation or its copy is also required for registration.

How much does it cost to renew my boat registration?

  • If your boat is less than 16 feet in length, your fee is $32.00
  • If 16 feet but less than 26 feet in length, your fee is $53.00
  • If 26 feet but less than 40 feet in length, your fee is $110.00
  • If 40 feet in length and over, your fee is $150.00
  • Livery boat less than 16 feet in length, your fee is $32.00


  • Both the vessel registration number and current decals must be clearly displayed on the vessel, according to Texas requirements.
  • The vessel's registration papers must be carried on the vessel while sailing.
  • For additional information, contact the Boat Information Hotline at (800) 262-8755.

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