Register a Boat in Texas

Before you head out on the water in Texas, make sure you properly register your boat. Find out everything you need to know about Texas boat registration.

Register Your Boat
Boat Registration

Which Boats Need to be Registered in Texas?

If you’re planning to take your boat on Texas public water, you’ll likely need to have a current registration with Texas Parks and Wildlife first. That’s because the following motorized and non-motorized vessels are required to be registered, even if you’re just docked or moored:

  • All motorized vessels regardless of length, including any sailboard with an auxiliary engine
  • All non-motorized vessels 14 feet in length or longer
  • US Coast Guard documented vessels

There are a few exceptions to the boat registration requirement. The following vessels don’t need to be registered in Texas:

  • All non-motorized canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats or rubber rafts or other vessels under 14 feet in length when paddled, poled, oared or windblown
  • US Coast Guard documented commercial vessels used in coasting shipping
  • Vessels exceeding 115 feet in length

If you’re registering an out-of-state boat in Texas, you may also be able to operate it without registration. Specifically, if your boat is registered or titled in your name in another state, you can use it for up to 90 consecutive days with your current out-of-state registration.

It’s important to note that Texas Parks and Wildlife can’t process a Texas boat trailer registration so you’ll need to contact your local tax collector’s office for help if you have a trailer to register.

How to Register a Boat in Texas

You have several options when it comes to registering a boat in Texas with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Currently, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the department of Texas Parks and Wildlife recommends alternatives to in-person visits. These include:

  • Online
  • By mail (be sure to track your package and keep original copies of all documentation)

If you prefer to schedule an in-person visit, you can make an appointment at one of the Texas Parks and Wildlife law enforcement offices or try your local tax collector’s office to see if you can process your transaction there.

No matter what option you choose, to apply for your registration, you’ll need to complete certain forms. For example, when you’re applying for new registration, you’ll have to submit a PWD 143 - Vessel/Boat Application. If you have a motorboat, you may need to complete PWD 144 – Outboard Motor Application. The Texas Parks and Wildlife site has a complete list of forms you may need.

Once you complete your forms, you’ll need to submit them together with any required fees, taxes due and other documents such as the title. If you’re registering a boat in Texas with no title, you’ll have to first complete the appropriate form on the Texas Parks and Wildlife site to replace a lost of destroyed Texas title.

How Much Does Texas Boat Registration Cost?

The cost to register a boat in Texas depends on the length of your boat:

  • Less than 16 feet in length (Class A): $32
  • 16 feet but less than 26 feet in length (Class 1): $53
  • 26 feet but less than 40 feet in length (Class 2): $110
  • 40 feet or more in length (Class 3): $150
  • Livery Boat less than 16 feet in length (Class A): $32