Boat registration in West Virginia is managed by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) while the WV Division of Natural Resources (DNR) enforces the state’s boating laws and regulations. The two organizations support registration as they work together toward the common goal of providing a safe boating experience for WV boaters. Keep reading to learn how to register a boat in West Virginia, and find out about renewal and replacement policies, boat registration fees and more.

Requirements for Boater Registration in West Virginia

“What do you need to register a boat in West Virginia?” is a question many boaters may ask themselves. One of the main requirements to register a boat in West Virginia is that all motor boats must be registered before being operated on WV waters. However, registration instructions indicate that fees are determined by the size of the motor.

Motor boats with at least 3hp/70lb thrust must pay a fee, while government boats and motorboats with under 3hp/70lb thrust can register with no fee. Complete the registration form, DMV-MB-6, Application for a Certificate of Title for a Motor Boat. You must also provide proof of ownership which can be a manufacturer’s statement of origin if the vessel is new, or a WV title or out-of-state title assigned in your name if the boat is used.

WV boat registration instructions state that an initial boat registration must be obtained in person at a local DMV office or submitted by mail. If mailing your registration, be sure to enclose payment by check or money order and send all documents to:

WV DMV
P.O. Box 17710
Charleston, WV 25317

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in West Virginia

Common boat registration exemptions in WV are similar to those in other states. If the vessel is non-motorized, it stands a good chance of being counted. Boaters wondering which boats are exempt from registration in WV can compare their vessel to this list:

  • Canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats and other non-motorized vessels.
  • S. Coast Guard documented vessels.
  • Boats with foreign or out-of-state registrations that are temporarily on West Virginia waters and will not use them for more than 60 consecutive days.
  • Racing boats used for racing purposes within the state.

If you still have questions about boats do not require registration and titling in West Virginia, call the DNR during normal business hours at (304) 558-2784.

West Virginia Boat Insurance

The DNR and DMV do not require boaters to research boat insurance rates in West Virginia or purchase boat insurance, but many insurance companies in the state regularly write policies for boat owners. Boat insurance programs in West Virginia are seen as a wise investment against boating risks.

Obtain boat insurance quotes in West Virginia to find an affordable policy that will replace or repair your vessel if it is ever wrecked or stolen. Like auto insurance, boater rates in West Virginia can vary greatly depending on the level of insurance protection desired.

West Virginia Boat Registration Fees

If you are wondering how much does it cost to register a boat in West Virginia, the state’s fee schedule is organized into classes based on the length of the watercraft, and all boat-related classes begin with the letter “Y.” Registration fees West Virginia cover a three-year license period and are prorated according to the amount of time left in the current registration period at the time that you apply.

The first cost given below is for the first year of registration, the second figure is how much you will pay for WV boat registration fees if you apply during the second year, and the last figure is the rate for applying during the third year.

  • Class Y1A: Boats under 16’ in length: $30 – $20 – $10
  • Class Y11: Boats 16’ to 25’ in length: $45 – $30 – $15
  • Class Y12: Boats 26’ to 39’ in length: $60 – $40 – $20
  • Class Y13: Boats 40’ in length and up: $75 – $50 – $25

Renewing Your West Virginia Boat Registration

Although you will receive a notice explaining how to replace your boat registration in WV, you are responsible for keeping up with the expiration date, which is printed on your registration card and decals. Before obtaining a registration renewal, you must pay any personal property tax due on your vessel and provide proof of payment at the DMV. If you are wondering when to renew a boat registration in West Virginia, take note of when you came into the current three-year registration cycle.

If you are unsure if you have met this boat registration requirement, contact your local county tax assessor’s office. After meeting this obligation, getting your renewal is an easy process. Simply bring the tax payment receipt, your completed renewal notice and fee payment to your local DMV office.

If you do not have a renewal notice, complete Form DMV-14-TR, Application for Boat Renewal, Duplicate Decal, Duplicate Registration and Change of Address. If you prefer, you may mail the items to the address provided above.

Replacing Your West Virginia Boat Registration

You must replace registration documents promptly if your registration documents are lost or damaged. The process for how to replace your boat registration in West Virginia includes completing form DMV-14-TR described above and pay the $5 replacement fee. You cannot replace a boat registration online, and all requests must be mailed to the WV DMV address above.

Boater Safety Courses in West Virginia

A boating safety course in West Virginia is required for all boaters born on or after December 31, 1986. If you are wondering about West Virginia boating safety course options, you may complete your safety education online or in the classroom by taking a DNR-approved class in person.

West Virginia Boater License

 An online boating license or one obtained in another manner is not a legal requirement to operate a boat in West Virginia. Instead of a boater license, a boating safety course completion card serves a similar purpose. Unlike a driver’s license, a recreational boating license does not exist in the state.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 12 2019.

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