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Boat Registration and Licenses in Florida

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Introduction

Navigating a vessel on Florida's public waters requires more than a boat and sailor's cap. Depending on your type of vessel, you may first need to title register it with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

Below you'll find information on Florida boat title and registration laws, as well details on the state's boater education requirements.

Boats Requiring Title & Registration

If the type of boat you own is not included in the exemption lists below, you must title and/or register it with the FLHSMV.

The types of boats that are exempt from having a title include vessels:

  • Used only on private lakes and ponds.
  • Owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
  • Not powered by a motor AND less than 16 feet in length.
  • With federal documentation.
  • Not used on Florida waters for more than 90 consecutive days.
  • That are amphibious.
  • Documented with the U.S. Coast Guard OR in another state (with a federally-approved numbering system) being used on FL waters for 90 days or less.

The vessels exempt from Florida registration include:

  • Boats less than 16 feet in length AND not powered by a motor.
  • Regardless of length, all non-motor-powered:
    • Canoes.
    • Kayaks.
    • Racing shells.
    • Rowing sculls.
  • Vessels used only on private ponds and lakes.
  • Boats owned by the U.S. government.
  • Lifeboats used solely for that purpose.
  • Non-resident vessels used on Florida waters for no more than 90 consecutive days.

If you're not sure whether your boat requires titling and registration, call the FLHSMV at (850) 617-2000.

Florida Boat Titling Procedures

The process for titling your boat with the FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles differs depending on if you bought the boat new OR used. However, in both instances, you must title the boat within 30 days of the purchase date.

Titling New Boats

After buying a new boat, you can acquire a title by providing the following at your county tax collector or license plate agent office:

  • A proof of ownership document such as:
    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
    • Official statement of the vessel's builder.
    • Dealer's bill of sale.
  • A completed application for a boat title.
    • Only available in person at the tax collector/license plate agent office.
  • Payment for the necessary boat titling fees.

Titling Used Boats

To title a used boat, you'll need to present the following to your FL county tax collector or license plate agent's office:

  • The vessel's title signed by the buyer AND seller.
    • If the boat is from a state that doesn't issue vessel titles, provide:
      • The current out-of-state registration.
      • A completed bill of sale.
  • A completed application for a vessel title.
    • Can only be obtained in person at the tax collector/license plate agent office.
  • All applicable boat titling fees.

FL Boat Registration Requirements

To register your boat, head to the license plate agent or county tax collector's office nearest to you with the following:

  • Completed boat registration application.
    • Not offered online; can only be obtained in person at from the license plate agent/tax collector office.
  • A proof of ownership document, like:
    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
    • Bill of sale.
    • Builder's contract.
    • Federal marine document.
  • Your vessel's title (if applicable).
  • Payment for the applicable FLHSMV boat registration fees.

Vessels can be registered for 1 year or 2 years; make sure to always keep the vessel registration on board when operating the boat.

Florida Boat Registration Fees

The fees associated with titling and registering your vessel with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles include:

  • Title fees:
    • Electronic copy: $5.25.
    • Paper copy: $7.75.
    • Expedited title: $11.
    • Replacement: $6.
  • Per lien recorded on a title: $1 in addition to original title fee.
  • Fee for titling previously out-of-state vessel: $4 in addition to initial titling fee.
  • Original/renewal registration fees (based on the length of your boat):
    • Class A-1 (vessels less than 12 ft and all motorized canoes): $5.50.
    • Class A-2 (12 ft to 16 ft): $16.25.
    • Class 1 (16 ft to 26 ft): $28.75.
    • Class 2 (26 ft to 40 ft: $78.25.
    • Class 3 (40 ft to 65 ft): $127.75.
    • Class 4 (65 ft to 110 ft): $152.75.
    • Class 5 (110 ft or longer): $189.75.
  • Registration service fee: $2.25.
  • Florida's Real-Time Vehicle Information System (FRVIS) fee: $0.50.

Please note that some counties may tack on additional fees.

FL Boat Registration Renewals and Replacements

The registration renewal period for your boat depends on its type of ownership:

  • Privately owned vessel: During the birth month of the owner.
  • Vessels owned by a corporation or dealer: From June 1 to June 30.

You can renew your boat registration with the FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for either 1 year OR 2 years by submitting the necessary information about your vessel AND renewal fees:

Replace Lost Registration or Title

If your vessel registration and/or title is lost or damaged, you can apply for a replacement by visiting your county tax collector's office and submitting:

For more information about replacing your boat's title and registration, call the FLHSMV at (850) 617-2000.

Florida Boater Qualifications

If you were born after January 1, 1988 and want to operate a boat (including personal watercraft) with 10 HP or greater you'll need to have a:

You can fulfill Florida's boater education requirements by completing a course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Check out the FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) list of approved courses, available in the classroom and online.

Non-residents who don't have the equivalent of a safety ID from their home state may apply for a temporary certificate at a FWC-approved vendor. For details on this and other safety course matters, call (850) 488-5600.

Forms

HSMV 87015

Request a replacement boat registration or decal for a boat OR to change a boat's registration classification with the DHSMV.

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