Register a boat

Important:  All motor boat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025. For more information, go to the NYS PARKS website.

 This page was updated for COVID-19.


Do I need to register my boat?

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

How do I register my boat?

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. 

Find your proofs for registration


Summary of what you need



Office procedures have changed due to COVID-19.

We recommend you conduct your DMV business at the office or by mail in the County where you are a resident.

See instructions and reservation information for your county

When you use your boat, be sure to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and treat the boat stewards with courtesy and respect.


What are the registration fees?

There is a registration fee and a surcharge for boating safety.  The fees and surcharges are calculated based on the length of the boat.

Boat Registration Fees
LengthRegistration feeSurchargeTotal
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 boats age, size and if it was registered in New York before (see below). 


Will I be issued a title for my boat?

It depends.  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. 2


How long are boat registrations?

Boat registrations are issued for 3 years. 


Do I need to take a motor boat education course?

Yes. You must take an approved course in boater education and safety and receive a boating safety certificate in order to operate a motor boat in New York. 

Boating Safety Certificate Requirements
BornDate by which you need a certificate
On or after May 1, 1996Before you can operate a a boat in New York
On or after Janaruary 1, 1993January 1, 2020
On or after January 1, 1988January 1, 2022
On or after January 1, 1983January 1, 2023
On or after January 1, 1978January , 2024


All motor boat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.

For more information, go to the NYS PARKS website.


Is there an age requirement to register a boat?

No. 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. 


Where do I put the registration stickers on my 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: 
  • 2. If your boat was documented by US Coast Guard, you do not receive a NYS registration number. You received NYS registration stickers only. Attach the stickers in the position where the registration numbers are normally located.