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Help for Vessels


The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles provides an interactive tool to help answer your questions.

Am I required to register my vessel? Yes.  The law requires that all vessels operating in Florida waters be registered in Florida.  An official registration decal must be displayed in every vessel. 

Where do I get my vessel registered?
We have six Service Centers that can process your registration and/or title transactions. 

How soon do I need to have the boat I just purchased registered?
The law allows for 30 days. However, during the 30-day grace period you are required to keep the bill of sale and proof of the date of purchase in your vessel. 

What if I am here on vacation?
Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for 90 days. After 90 days the vessel must be officially registered in Florida. However the owner can also retain their out-of-state registration number.   Additional new resident information is available here.

What do I need in order to register my vessel?
Proof of ownership (certificate of title, bill of sale) is needed.  Please refer to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for additional requirements.

What is the cost to register my boat?
The cost is determined by several factors including the length of the hull, use, whether a certificate of title must be created and other factors.

A fee schedule is available online.

Why do I need a Certificate of Title?
A certificate of title is required by Florida law and is the officially recognized proof of ownership. Also, a valid Florida certificate of title is required in order to register a vessel in Florida.

I just purchased a used boat.  What do I do?
You need the transferred certificate of title showing the new owner’s name so we can issue you a new certificate of title. If the transfer of title is the result of a sale, Florida sales tax will be collected on the amount of the sale. 
*Federally documented vessels are excluded.

Are military personnel exempt from registering their vessels in Florida?
Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by active duty military personnel are valid up to the expiration date.  After the expiration date, the vessel must be registered and titled in Florida.

I only use a small trolling motor when I use my 12 foot boat in the canal behind my house. Do I have to register my boat?
How much will I have to pay in sales tax if the seller of a vessel entered the entire selling price of a boat, trailer and motor as the selling price on the transfer portion of the vessel title being transferred?
The entire 6 percent must be paid on the total sale amount entered on the title. 

However, if you submit an itemized bill of sale listing the price of each component of the rig with the application, you will only be required to pay sales tax on the boat and trailer.
How do I apply for an expedited duplicate vessel title?
Complete an application for duplicate title and bring it to a Constitutional Tax Collector Service Center. There is an additional fee for expedited service.   
Is a non-powered vessel required to be registered and titled?
Any non-powered vessel 16 feet or greater must be registered and titled.
What can the purchaser do if unable to contact the titled owner and obtain the Certificate of Title or an executed Bill of Sale?
Send written notice to the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, (DMV) Bureau of Titles and Registrations along with a Request to Release Personal Information. Don’t forget to include the Florida registration number in the letter. DMV will provide your name and address to the titled owner with necessary instructions for transferring the ownership of the vessel.
Who should I contact about safety equipment requirements?
For boating safety information contact:
*The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Boating and Waterways Section 620 South Meridian Street Tallahassee, Florida 32399 or any local FWC Office.

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