About Boat Registration Fees

The boat registration process, including the payment of boat registration fees, is an important part of boat ownership. Learn about the costs to register a boat in this section.

Much like your vehicle registration, your boat registration helps to identify your boat and allows you to operate your boat legally on public waterways. When you register your boat, the registration fees you pay help keep our waterways safe by providing necessary funding for aquatic conservation projects. These projects may include public boat ramp repairs, upgrades to boating facilities, and safe boating programs.

Cost To Register A Boat

If you are interested in buying a boat, or if you are a new boat owner, you may have a few questions about boat registration costs. One of the first questions you might ask is, "how much does it cost to register a boat?" While the cost of registering a boat varies by state depending on the length and type of boat, the average cost is usually in the range of $25 to $250.

Where To Pay Boat Registration Fees

In most states, these boat registration costs are paid to either the state fish and wildlife agency or the department of motor vehicles. You can check the state pages to get specific boat registration costs and registration information that applies to your state. Many states make the registration process convenient by giving you the opportunity to pay your registration fees either online or by phone.

Certificate Of Registration

When you pay your boat registration fees, you will receive a certificate of registration and a validation decal. Your certificate of registration should be kept in a safe place on board your boat, while the validation decal and your vessel registration numbers must be displayed on the outside of your boat where they can be clearly identified (be sure to check your state's boating laws for specifics on placement).