Register a Boat in South Carolina

South Carolina offers some of the best boating opportunities in the US. But before you take your boat out on the state’s waterways, you’ll need to make sure it’s registered. Learn how to complete this essential action for your vessel.

Register Your Boat
Boat Registration

How do I Register a Boat in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, any watercraft propelled by any mechanized means on navigable waters must be registered with the state. To register your boat, you’ll need to complete a Watercraft/Outboard Motor Titling and Registration Application. You may need to complete other forms as well depending on your situation.

Once you have all necessary documents completed and signed, you can submit them at any of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regional offices. All of the office locations are listed on the department’s website.

The good news is that while you’re waiting for your registration to be processed, you can use your boat in South Carolina with your temporary certificate of number.

What do I Need to Know about Registering an Out of State Boat in South Carolina

If you buy a boat from another state, you can use it in South Carolina for 60 days from the date of purchase, even with its expired decals. However, you’ll need to make sure your boat is registered in South Carolina to use it after that point.

To do that, you’ll need the following:

  • Title in your name if you’re moving from a titling-state
  • Your current registration card or registration number
  • Pencil tracing or printed photo of the Hull Identification Number
  • Completed and signed application
  • Registration fee

How do I Register a Boat in South Carolina without a Title?

If you’re planning on registering a boat in South Carolina with no title, South Carolina law requires all motorized boats and watercraft except exempted vessels and sailboats to be titled.

To register a boat that has never been titled in South Carolina, you’ll need to first pay your property taxes on the boat in your name with your county. You’ll need to submit a receipt of the paid tax along with your Watercraft/Outboard Motor Titling and Registration Application and other supporting documents.

How Much Does South Carolina Boat Registration Cost?

The cost to register a boat in South Carolina depends on whether your boat has been registered previously in South Carolina. The fees are as follows:

  • South Carolina Boat Registration and Title (never been registered/titled before in South Carolina): $20
  • In-state Change of Ownership - South Carolina boat registration and title: $20
  • South Carolina Sailboats Registration and Title with Propulsion: $10
  • Renew Boat Registration: $10

Keep in mind that you can be charged late fees on top of these costs if you don’t submit your application promptly. For example, the late fee for a registration renewalthat is not received within 30 days after your registration expires is $15 but that increases to $30 if you don’t submit your application within 60 days after your registration expires.