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Boat Registration and Licenses in Maryland

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What to Register

  • Recreational vessels with any type of mechanical propulsion system (primary or auxiliary), to be used mostly in Maryland waterways during the calendar year.
  • Commercial vessels with any type of mechanical propulsion system (primary or auxiliary), to be used mostly in Maryland waterways during the calendar year.

Exemptions

Unlike many states, Maryland does not exempt vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard, if the vessels will be used mostly in Maryland waters during the year.

MD Boat Registration Requirements and Procedures

You may register your boat in person or through the regular mail. Here's how:

In Person

  1. Complete the boat registration (Form DNR B-240) application.
  2. Locate your original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin. When registering a new boat, you may use a notarized bill of sale only if the original certificate didn't include the necessary purchaser, date, and price information.
  3. When registering a used boat, have a notarized bill of sale ready. You may need additional documentation for certain types of used boats.
  4. Bring your 5% vessel excise fee, $24 registration fee (most boats), and other required fees. These fees may vary according to your situation.
  5. Failing to pay your vessel excise fee within 30 days of your boat purchase will result in an excise penalty plus monthly interest charges.
  6. Travel to any Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) center with the necessary fees and paperwork.

By Mail

To register your vessel by mail, simply mail the required documentation and fees to any DNR center.

Maryland Boat Registration Fees

  • Most boats: $24

Although there is no registration fee for vessels under 16 ft and less than a 7.6 HP motor, they do need a registration decal.

Renewals and Replacements

Registrations expire on December 31 of every second year. You may renew in person or by mail. Here's how:

Renew in Person

  1. Complete the Application for Vessel Registration (Renewal Only) (Form DNR B 201A).
  2. Have your registration fee ready (listed on application form).
  3. Go to any DNR location and renew.

Renew by Mail

Send your official renewal application or completed renewal application along with your registration fee (listed on form) to your nearest DNR location.

Make your check payable to the DNR.

Replace a Lost Registration

Receive a duplicate registration by taking your completed replacement form and $2 fee to any DNR location.

You may also mail the replacement form and payment to your nearest DNR office.

Boater License

If you were born after June 30, 1972, you must have a certificate of boating safety education in order to operate any motorized vessel.

Obtain your certificate by completing a state-approved safety course, or by passing an equivalency exam.

Boater Safety Courses

Approved boating safety courses are offered through a classroom setting. Prices and times vary with the provider. The classes are a minimum of 8 hours and require a passing grade of at least 80%.

Even if you're not required to take the class, it does provide a chance to improve your boater education, while possibly reducing your insurance rates. BOATERexam.com (see link below) offers a convenient online course, allowing you to study from home.

Boat Insurance

Although boat insurance is not required in Maryland, you should consider purchasing a boat insurance policy to help protect you against the risks of owning and operating a boat.

Read our Boat Insurance page to learn more. 

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