Register a boat
Boat registration requirements
In New York, boats (watercraft) without a motor do not need to be registered. If you use a motor (electric or fuel-driven), regardless of the size of your boat or the motor, you must register your boat.
Your boat is exempt from New York State registration if it is
- a lifeboat
- registered in another state and not kept in New York for more than 90 consecutive days
- a commercial boat with either U.S. or foreign documentation
- a boat racing in competition
There is no age requirement to own or register a boat in New York. However, there are restrictions according to age for legal operation. These restrictions are outlined in the pamphlet, "New York State Boater's Guide", issued by the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Boat registrations are issued for 3 years.
How to register
Follow the instructions for how to register a vehicle in the County you live in. You can use the DMV Registration Guide to determine what documents you need to apply.
When you use your boat, be sure to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and treat the boat stewards with courtesy and respect.
There are a registration fee and a surcharge for boating safety. The fees and surcharges are calculated based on the length of the boat.
|Less than 16 feet||$22.50||$3.75||$26.25|
|16 feet to less than 26 feet||$45.00||$12.50||$57.50|
|26 feet or longer||$75.00||$18.75||$93.75|
You may also need to pay a $50 title fee depending on your boat's age, size and if it was registered in New York before (see below).
The DMV issues title certificates for boats that are all of the following
- model year 1987 and newer
- at least 14 feet long
- registered in New York State
The title certificate is used for proof of ownership for these boats instead of the registration. Title certificates aren’t issued for boats that don’t match the description above or for boats registered with the Coast Guard. For a boat that doesn’t receive a title certificate, the transferable registration is proof of ownership, unless the boat is documented by the US Coast Guard.
Boat operators must take a boat education course
You must take an approved course in boater education and safety and receive a boating safety certificate in order to operate a motorboat in New York.
|Born||Date by which you need a certificate|
|On or after May 1, 1996||Before you can operate a boat in New York|
|On or after January 1, 1993||January 1, 2020|
|On or after January 1, 1988||January 1, 2022|
|On or after January 1, 1983||January 1, 2023|
|On or after January 1, 1978||January , 2024|
All motorboat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.
For more information, go to the NYS PARKS website.
Where to put registration stickers on your boat
Put your registration stickers 18 inches from the bow on both sides of the boat. This is approximately the same position that the stickers are located when a boat is also required to have registration numbers on the hull.
- 1. If your boat was documented by US Coast Guard, you do not receive an NYS registration number. You received NYS registration stickers only. Attach the stickers in the position where the registration numbers are normally located.