Register a Boat in Alabama

Alabama has abundant waterways and beautiful weather for boating. Before visiting one of the state’s top spots, be sure you know the requirements for boating registration and regulation.

Register Your Boat
Boat Registration


All boat operators need to know the safe boating basics and must abide by the boating rules of the road set forth by the state. Boaters can learn more about safe boating basics, filing a float plan, what to do during times of inclement weather, environmental considerations and personal flotation devices by taking a boating education or safe boating class.


When you apply for your boat registration, you will have to pay a registration fee. The amount of the registration fee depends on the length of the boat you are registering. Registration fees are collected to help contribute to the maintenance and conservation of state waterways.

In Alabama, you must be at least 14 years old and have a vessel license to operate a vessel or personal watercraft alone. Children ages 12-13 can operate a vessel of personal watercraft with a vessel operator’s license and adult 21 years of age or older on board. Children under the age of 12 are prohibited from operating vessels and personal watercraft.

Nonresidents 12 and older can operate on Alabama waters for 45 days per year. If operating for more than 45 days per year, nonresidents must get an Alabama Nonresident Vessel Operator’s License. Operators 12 and 13 must still have an adult 21 and older on board.

Boat Operator’s Certification and Licenses can be obtained at any Department of Public Safety License Examination office in your county. A written or oral exam, a boating course certificate of completion or an age exemption is required. Minors must also bring a copy of their birth certificate, social security card, and a certified statement from their school’s superintendent. The application fee for a license is $5 and the license issuance fee is $36.25.

Registration Requirements

All mechanically propelled boats, sailboats, and boats for hire, (except for canoes) must be registered in Alabama. Boat owners can register, renew, or transfer boat ownership at any County License office. Dealers and liveries must register with the Alabama Marine Patrol Office in Montgomery, Alabama and must call to make an appointment at 800-272-7930.

Boat registration fees are based on the length of the vessel. Registration fees are not prorated and all registrations expire at the end of the calendar year.

When registering a vessel for the first time, any applicable sales tax will be due in addition to registration fees. Transfer fees are $5 plus sales tax for vessels with a valid Alabama registration decal and $5 plus the registration fee and applicable sales tax for transfers with an expired registration.

For vessels less than 16 feet long, registration costs $20. For vessels 16 feet to 26 feet, the cost is $25. Vessels 26 feet to 40 feet cost $75 and longer than 40 feet costs $100. For a replacement or duplicate registration is $5.

When purchasing a used boat without a valid Alabama registration, the boat must be registered before being placed in water. For new boat purchases with a valid Alabama registration, applications for transfer must be made within 15 days of the purchase.

Boat registration renewals can be made online at