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Boat Registration and Licenses in Hawaii

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The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) is responsible for handling the registration and titling of all vessels in Hawaii.

This page outlines all the steps you need to take to request original, renewal, AND replacement boat registrations; we'll also go over the qualifications needed to operate a boat in the state of Hawaii.

What Boats to Register in Hawaii

All commercial and recreational vessels in Hawaii must be registered, with few exemptions.

The following types of vessels DO NOT require registration:

  • Recreational vessels that are manually propelled.
  • Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Lifeboats used strictly for that purpose.
  • Recreational vessels 8 feet long or less that are propelled only by sail.
  • Vessels owned by the U.S. government.
  • Boats from out-of-state operating in HI waters for 60 days or fewer.
  • Certain public vessels.

If you aren't sure if you need to register your boat, call the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's vessel registration number: (808) 587-1970.

Boat Registration Procedures

To obtain your Hawaii boat registration certificate, boat decal, and certificate of number in Hawaii, you will need to visit any Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) office and provide the following items:

You'll then receive a registration certificate, boat decal, and certificate of number, which is valid for 1 year. Be sure to refer the DOBOR's guidelines when displaying your registration number on your boat.

Hawaii Boat Registration Fees

The HI Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's boat registration fees are as follows:

  • Initial registration fees, based on the length of your vessel:
    • Shorter than 20 ft: $13.
    • Longer than 20 ft: $30.
  • Renewal fees, determined by the length of your boat:
    • Shorter than 20 ft: $10.
    • Longer than 20 ft: $15.
  • Amphibious vehicle:
    • Initial registration fee: $15.
    • Renewal fee: $10.
  • Registration transfer fee: $5.
  • Duplicate/replacement registration fee: $5.
  • Modified registration fee: $5.
  • Late registration penalties: 1/10 of the initial registration or renewal fee (whichever's applicable) for every 1 month (or fraction thereof) of tardiness in addition to the fees above.

Boat Registration Renewals & Replacements

Before the expiration date of your boat registration, you should receive a renewal card reminder in the mail. You can renew your Hawaii DOBOR boat registration by submitting the necessary information AND necessary fees:

If your HI boat registration is lost or damaged, you can request a replacement by providing the required information AND duplicate registration fees:

If you need further assistance, call the Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation's boat registration line at (808) 587-1970.

HI Boater Qualifications

Due to a new law passed in 2012, after November 10th 2014 all boaters are required to show proof that they have completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and state-approved course. Head over to the DOBOR's boating safety page for approved course providers and more information about this new law.

After completing the course you'll be given a certificate that you are required to have with you when operating a boat.

ADDITIONALLY, anyone under 16 years old must not only have their own certificate but can only operate a boat while under the supervision of someone over 21 years old who also has a certificate.

Boater Insurance in Hawaii

Accidents can happen on the open water. If you're ever involved in a boat collision or any other type of mishap, you're going to want to be properly insured to avoid paying hefty costs for boat repairs or injuries.

In Hawaii, vessels docked in DOBOR harbors are required to carry boat insurance.

To learn more about Hawaii's boat insurance requirements, check out the DOBOR's information sheet on minimum coverage for vessels.

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