5 Ways to Speed Up The Boat Registration Process

There aren't many things that can beat the sight of an excited youngster reeling in a first catch or a stunning summer sunset view — some of the best benefits of boat ownership are these types of magical moments that happen on the water. These are the experiences that make you want to become an official boat owner, and it only makes sense that you'll want to get your boat registration taken care of so you can start making boating memories right away.

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Therefore, you might ask yourself: Is it possible to make the boat registration process go a little faster and smoother? Chances are pretty good that the process will go much smoother if you do the below five things.

  1. Some states, such as Wisconsin, offer the option of online boat registration or renewal. Check the boat registration information for your state to see if online registration or renewal is available and save yourself time by not having to drive or wait in line.

  2. Check the vessel registration fee schedule for your state to find out how much your boat registration fee will be. Most states determine boat registration fees based on the length of the vessel, so check the applicable fees for your vessel in advance and save time by having your payment ready.
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  3. Make sure that you have proof of ownership for your boat handy. Proof of ownership may be an out-of-state title in your name or a bill of sale. Be sure to check the specific proof of ownership requirements for your state.

  4. If you plan to register your boat in person with your local DNR or registration agent, call in advance to confirm business hours before you go.

  5. If you have a large recreational boat, check to see if you need to document your boat federally with the U.S. Coast Guard. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard website for more information or call the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center at (800) 799-8362.

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Once you have your boat registration paperwork, it's a good idea to read through a glossary of boating terms in order to refresh your knowledge of nautical terminology. Certain states also require boat operators to take a safe boating course and get a boating license, so be sure that you know the boating laws in your state before you get behind the helm.

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.