Outdoor recreation can play a vital role in protecting our natural resources. When you register your boat, you do your part in sustaining resources that promote safe and responsible use of our nation's waters. Your registration dollars also help pay for marinas, boat ramps, lake clean up and much more.
The PFBC is responsible for regulating the state boating laws in Pennsylvania.
All vessels propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric motors, and principally operated on Pennsylvania waters must be registered and issued a Pennsylvania Boat Registration Card by the PFBC. Documented recreational vessels such as yachts also need to be registered as well as sailboats that use gasoline, diesel or electric motors for auxiliary power.
Unpowered boats are not required to be registered - unless used at a Fish & Boat Commission access area or lake, or at Pennsylvania state park lakes; or required by the owner (one example is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).
Also note that the boat owner is required to obtain their boat title before they can obtain their Certificate of Boat Registration. This requirement applies to the following:
A certificate of title is a legal document proving ownership.
To obtain a boat title the boat owner must contact the PFBC. The fee for issuance of title is $15 and an additional encumbrance fee of $5 may apply if there is a lien against boat. The cost of a duplicate title is $5.
Titling your vessel also offers certain advantages. Having your boat titled may make it easier for you to secure a loan and may act as a deterrent to boat theft. Similarly, in the event you were ever to sell your vessel, a title assures potential buyers that you are the clear owner.
Boat Owners must keep their Certificate of Ownership in a safe place.
Note - On the reverse of the Certificate of Ownership there is an application for the transfer of ownership.
Boat owners must have at least a 60 day temporary Certificate of Boat Registration before they can operate in state waters. Upon receipt of the Certificate of Boat Registration please note the following:
Vessels that are properly registered in another state do not require a Pennsylvania registration as long as they are operating on Pennsylvania waters for no more than 60 consecutive days.
The Certificate of Boat Registration, validation decals and title are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to an authorized boat registration agent or to:
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Licensing and Registration Division P.O. Box 67000 Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000
Successful registration results in a Certificate of Boat Registration, physical boat numbers and a decal. Boat numbers must:
For example: PA 1234 BX. This is a federal and state requirement.
Color coded validation decals issued to you by the PFBC and must be displayed within 6 inches of the boat number on the same level (before or following the number).
Please note that canoes are in fact required to display the boat registration numbers as well as the validation decals, where as kayaks, sculls and sailboards are only required to display the decal itself. In the case of inflatable vessels, they are permitted to display their boat registration number and validation decals on planks which must be securely attached to both its sides.
Lack of the correct documentation may result in delays and fines.
Make sure all boats are properly marked and documented. It is important to keep your papers with the boat - be particularly aware when transferring ownership of your vessel.
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