Ever Wondered How to Register a Boat without a Title

By Andy Whitcomb

Feb 05, 2019

Sometimes the title for a boat cannot be located. To register your boat, follow these steps.

So, you’ve found a boat. A yar, pre-owned skiff that is perfect for your current fishing and boating needs. And the price is right. However, the owner can’t find the title. How are you going to be able to register a boat without a title?

First of all, boat registration is an important component of learning how to boat. It not only keeps your boat operation legal and within regulations but it helps generate funds that contribute to natural resource protection. Requirements for boat registration and titles vary by state. For example, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, any vessel with a motor must be registered as well as “non-motorized boats used on waters governed by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA State Parks waters, PA State Forests, or if required by property owner.” Additionally, any watercraft over 14 feet with an outboard motor and boats with inboard motors, newer than 1996, require a title in Pennsylvania.

So back to the original question, “how to register boat without title?”  Check with your state’s boating website to learn the exact paperwork to register a boat without a title. There are will be replacement title forms to fill out and submit along with some form of proof of ownership. You’ll need to provide information such as vessel type, hull material, engine and fuel type, prop type, and use as well as all seller contact information. Often this can be accomplished online.  Additionally, there is a title fee, and if necessary a replacement fee.  Then you can follow up with an application for registration, the fee of which will vary by length and type of boat.

Another good source of information regarding how to register boat without title is your insurance agent. Once titled, store it in a safe place. This may be on your boat if it is large enough. Then, once the registration paperwork also is completed, you are set for a long time of water fun.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.