Register a boat
Important: All motorboat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025. For more information, go to the NYS PARKS website.
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
Before visiting a DMV office to register your boat, please read the instructions, Registering / Titling a Boat in New York State (PDF) (MV-82.1B), and complete the Document Guide to make sure you bring the correct documents with you.
Summary of what you need
- a completed Boat Registration / Title Application (PDF) (MV-82B)
- proof of ownership (see the list of acceptable proof in New York State DMV – Boat / Vessel Registration Information)
- the bill of sale if purchased from a licensed New York State boat dealer (this can also serve as proof of sales tax payment)
- cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card for payment of fees and sales tax (or proof of sales tax payment or exemption)
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. A New York State Driver License, Learner Permit, or Non-Driver ID card that is current or not expired for more than 2 years can serve as proof. If you don’t have one of these documents, you must provide other kinds of proof.
Note: If you were born in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, or Queens, you can order a copy of your birth certificate from the New York City website: http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1209/birth-certificate
- 2. 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.