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Register a Boat in North Carolina
With some of the best inland and coastal spots for boaters in the country, get out and enjoy them all! Learn how to get your North Carolina boat registration and start exploring the state’s waters today.
Register Your Boat
How to Register a Boat in North Carolina
To enjoy North Carolina’s public waters by boat, there’s a good chance you’ll need to register your boat before taking it out. That’s because there are several types of vessels must be registered in North Carolina, including:
- All vessels that are motorized, even jet skis
- US Coast Guard documented vessels that are operating in North Carolina for over 90 consecutive days
- All sailboats longer than 14 feet
- Vessels registered in another state and brought into North Carolina for over 90 consecutive days except if you’re active-duty military temporarily stationed in North Carolina
- Vessels that you choose to title
There are a few exceptions to the North Carolina boat registration rule so if you have one of the following, you’re exempt:
- Boats used and kept on dry land
- Rowboats, canoes, kayaks and rafts moved only by oars, paddles or the current
- Vessels used only on private ponds
- Ship’s lifeboats and dinghies if they’re used for emergency lifeboat purposes
If you determine your vessel is a type that must be registered, then you’ll need to get a North Carolina boat registration with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. When registering a boat in North Carolina, you have two options to process your application:
- In-person at one of over 400 Wildlife Service Agents statewide or the main North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission office,
- By mail
Whatever method you choose, you’ll need to complete a VL-1 Form NC Vessel Registration & Title Application. If you’re registering an out-of-state boat in North Carolina, you’ll also need to submit the original out-of-state title. When registering a boat in North Carolina with no title, you’ll instead need a copy of the out-of-state registration card.
Once our application is approved, you’ll receive a Registration Number to identify your boat, a Registration Decal, and a Registration Card. Your registration will be good for one or three years, depending on the term you selected when applying. You’ll receive a Renewal Notification two months before your current registration expires, and you can renew your registration in person, by mail, or online.
Do I Need to Register a Boat Trailer in North Carolina?
If you plan to use a boat trailer to transport your vessel, you must title and register it just like you would a car. To get a North Carolina boat trailer registration, you’d complete the transaction at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. Once you register your boat trailer, the registration will be good for one year.
North Carolina Boat Registration Costs
The cost to register boat in Texas varies depending on the size of your boat.
- Less than 26 feet with title: $70 for one year, $130 for three
- 26 feet or greater with title: $90 for one year; $190 for three
- Less than 14 feet without title: $35 for one year, $95 for three
- US Coast Guard documented vessel less than 26 feet without title: $35 for one year, $95 for three
- US Coast Guard documented vessel 26 feet or longer without title: $55 for one year, $155 for three