Register a Boat in New Jersey

With so many opportunities to enjoy your boat on New Jersey’s waters, be sure you follow the rules for registering your vessel so you can enjoy all of them. Learn how.

Register Your Boat
Boat Registration

How to Register a Boat in New Jersey

In New Jersey, most vessels must be registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission before they can be used on the state’s waterways. However, there are several exceptions to this New Jersey boat registration rule. Specifically, the following boats don’t need to be registered:

  • US public vessels
  • Foreign vessels
  • Ship lifeboats
  • Non-motorized watercraft used in small lakes and ponds on private property
  • Racing vessels with a permit from the New Jersey State Police’s Marine Services Bureau
  • Any vessel registered in another state that are operating in New Jersey water for less than 180 days (that means you won’t have to worry about registering an out-of-state boat in New Jersey if it won’t be based in the state for less than that amount of time)
  • Non-motorized watercraft that are less than 12 feet long, inflatable devices, surfboards, dinghies, racing shells, and canoes and kayaks

When registering a boat in New Jersey, the process is slightly different depending on the length of your boat, which we’ll discuss below.

  • Longer than 12 Feet: To register a boat that’s longer than 12 feet, you need to go to a local Motor Vehicle Commission branch and submit documentation that proves your age and identification as well as a completed Application for Boat Registration along with the applicable fees. It’s important to note that all vessels over 12 feet must also be titled with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission so you’ll need to take care of this step first if you’re registering a boat in New Jersey with no title.
  • 12 Feet or Shorter: For smaller boats, you’ll also need to go to the local Motor Vehicle Commission branch. But the documents you must submit are a little different. You’ll need documentation of your identity, age and Social Security Number, a completed Application for Boat Registration, and applicable fees, and at least one document that proves ownership. This could be a notarized receipt statement from the vessel’s seller, notarized bill of sale, out-of-state registration card and certificate of ownership, or an affidavit for the certificate of ownership.

Regardless of the length of your boat, all New Jersey boat registrations are good for one year. When it comes time to renew your registration, you’ll have the option to do it online, by mail or in person at a Motor Vehicle Commission branch.

Do I Need to Register a Boat Trailer in New Jersey?

New Jersey boat trailer registration is also governed by the Motor Vehicle Commission. Boat trailers are considered “other non-commercial motor vehicles” for registration purposes. To register a trailer, there are distinct steps you’ll need to follow depending on:

  • whether your trailer is used, new or homemade
  • if your trailer is titled
  • the trailer’s weight

All of the documentation you’ll need depending on your specific situation is listed on the Motor Vehicle Commission’s website.

New Jersey Boat Registration Costs

The cost to register boat in New Jersey depends on the length of your boat. When registering a boat in New Jersey, the current fees you’ll pay for an original boat registration are as follows:

  • Less than 16 feet: $12
  • 16 feet to under 26 feet: $28
  • 26 feet to under 40 feet: $52
  • 40 feet to under 65 feet: $80
  • 65 feet or longer: $250

If you lose your registration, a duplicate boat registration costs $5. You’ll have to get your duplicate at a Motor Vehicle Commission branch as well.