Does my documented vessel have to be registered in Texas?

Yes, it does.
USCG documented vessels are required to have current boat registration in Texas. Other vessels include: all non-motorized vessels that are 14 feet in length or longer and all motorized vessels regardless of length. This is true whether the vessel in question is a sailboat with an auxiliary engine, or if the vessel is docked/moored.

Vessels that are exempt from boat registration in Texas include USCG documented commercial vessels used for coastal shipping, vessels longer than 115 feet in length, and all non-motorized canoes, kayaks, rowboats, punts, rubber rafts, and others.

To renew your vessel registration with Texas, use this form:

To apply for initial vessel documentation through our site, click here.

To renew your vessel documentation through our site, click here.

To read the words of Texas Parks and Wildlife, follow below:

The following vessels (when on Texas public water) are required by law to have current registration. This includes vessels that are docked or moored:

  • All motorized vessels, regardless of length, including any sailboat with an auxiliary engine (motorized boats include boats propelled by a trolling motor); and
  • All non-motorized vessels (including sailboats) 14 feet in length or longer; and
  • USCG documented vessels.

Vessels Exempted from Registration— All non-motorized canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, or rubber rafts (regardless of length), or other vessels under 14 feet in length when paddled, poled, oared, or windblown; USCG documented commercial vessels used in coastal shipping; and vessels exceeding 115 feet in length.

Registration may be renewed as early as 90 days prior to the expiration date.

The owner on TPWD record may renew registration by one of the following methods:

  • Renew Registration Online through the Texas Parks & Wildlife or Texas Online website. Prior to delivery of the decals, the owner may legally operate the vessel for a period not to exceed 45 days from the date stated on the receipt. The owner must print and carry the receipt during the time period prior to receiving the registration decals. (United States Coast Guard (USCG) documented vessels are not eligible for online registration renewal due to the requirement for a copy of the current USCG documentation as stated under the Texas Administrative Code 31, Section 53.91. Submit a copy of the vessel owner’s current USCG documentation using one of the methods listed below); or
  • Mail the required fee in the form of a check or money order with the renewal notice in the envelope provided; or
  • Mail the required fee in the form of a check or money order with the renewal notice, or completed Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance form PWD 143M (PDF 206.8 KB), or signed written request to TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; or
  • Renew in person by presenting either the renewal notice or a complete PWD 143M (PDF 206.8 KB) at a TPWD Law Enforcement field office or a participating Tax Assessor-Collector office in your area. Only the owner of record can renew the registration. The owner of record may authorize someone to renew their registration for them, by completing a Letter of Authorization form PWD 581 (PDF 314.1 KB). Valid government issued photo identification must be presented at the office by the person submitting the renewal request. Credit and debit cards are not accepted at TPWD locations. Acceptance of credit and debit cards at Tax Assessor-Collector locations is up to the discretion of each individual location.

Fees for boat and outboard motor registration are available in the Outdoor Annual regulations.