A Little Background on Boat Registration in the United States

It is essential to have a solid understanding of the boat registration procedure and the responsibilities that come with it if you own a boat in the United States. Most individuals in the United States who own boats don’t give boat registration much thought until they are stopped by law enforcement for not having one. In this piece, we’ll provide some background information on boat registration and discuss the steps you need to take to ensure that your time on the water complies with the law. It doesn’t matter whether you just bought your first boat or if you’ve been sailing for years—crucially it’s to have a basic understanding of how boat registration works! Have fun, and don’t forget to keep safe while you’re out on the lake this summer! The following is information that is important to you:

Boat Registration is Required In Most States

In the majority of states, you must register your boat. It’s obligatory, but it’s not a compelling rationale to go out and purchase a boat. We’ve all heard horror stories about the DMV, and it’s true that registering a yacht there may be a frustrating experience. If you don’t know in which state you now reside, there are many of them. 

How long a boat may go unregistered and under what circumstances varies by jurisdiction. Even though not all boat owners know it, most jurisdictions require boat owners to register their vessels with the appropriate authorities. To legally use your boat on public waterways, whether on land or sea, you must register it with the Maritime Documentation Center and pay a fee.

There Are Different Types of Boat Registrations

State and federal registration are the two primary varieties of boat registration available in the United States. This is another crucial fact regarding boat registration in the United States that you need to be aware of. If you want to use your boat mostly on lakes or rivers in Wisconsin, for instance, you should consider registering it with the state so that it is legal for you to operate it inside the confines of that state. 

When you register your boat with the federal government, it is protected across the United States. This is useful if, for instance, you plan to take frequent voyages from Wisconsin down to the Mississippi River. If you don’t want to register your boat with either of these authorities (which is not against the law), you can still use it for recreational purposes as long as you keep your speed reasonable and stick to inland waters. However, if you want to go out on the open seas, you must register your boat.

You Can Register Your Boat Online or By Mail

To register your yacht, you may do it online or by mail. You’ll need to fill out a form with details about yourself, your boat, and the state where you now reside (name, address, etc.) Administratively speaking, the registration of a boat is not unlike the registration of a car. The state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Maritime Documentation Center (MDC) receives your papers, runs your name through their database to verify that you are a legal citizen, and sends you the boat’s title and other documentation. The only time this isn’t the case is if you want to use your boat for commercial reasons (like charter fishing or whale watching), in which case a separate license called a Certificate of Documentation might be required. Barring any exceptional circumstances, registering a boat is the same as writing a car.

Boat Registration

The Fees for Registering a Boat Vary Depending on The State

The state assigns boat registration numbers for several purposes, the most important of which is to aid in times of crisis. Not only may the police use them to find you in the event of an accident or other emergency, but they can also be used to help locate a missing boat. Boat owners, like car owners, are required by law to register and insure their watercraft. 

How, then, does one go about having a yacht officially registered? Anyone who lives near the water can relate to the fact that buying a boat is a significant life decision that requires careful consideration of many factors. Most individuals are curious about the registration fee for their ship right away. While expenses are likely to be expensive regardless of where you reside, they vary by state. You may pay different prices to recognize your boat depending on the form. To haul your new bike, you’ll need a trailer, which you probably won’t have unless you already own one.

You need a valid boat registration to operate your boat in U.S. waters legally. For further details on this subject, contact the Maritime Documentation Center at 800-535-8570. We’ll walk you through every process step and tell you where to mail your application. After completing your application, you will get a Certificate of Documentation that may be used to verify your boats’ registrations and prove that you are the rightful owner.