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Boat Registration and Licenses in Maryland

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Before operating a boat on Maryland waters, you may need to title and register it with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Keep reading to learn more about MD vessel registration AND the qualifications needed to operate a boat on The Old Line State's waters.

MD Vessels Requiring Registration & Title

All commercial AND recreational vessels must be registered with the MD DNR if they:

  • Use any type of mechanical propulsion.
  • Are primarily used in Maryland waters throughout the year.

If you aren't sure whether your boat requires registration, contact the DNR via email or phone.

Title & Register Your Boat in MD

In general, you'll need to submit the following items in person OR by mail to your local DNR service center to register your boat with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

  • A completed Application for Maryland Registered Vessel or Documented Vessel (Form DNR B-240).
  • A proof of ownership document, such as a:
    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (new boats).
    • Properly assigned original title (used boats).
  • A certified/notarized bill of sale if the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or title doesn't include the boat owner's name, purchase price, date of sale, and signatures from the buyer and seller.
  • A lien release if the boat had lien prior to being sold.
  • Payment for all applicable title and registration fees.

Depending on how you purchased the boat and its status with the U.S. Coast Guard, you may need to provide additional documents to complete the title and registration for your vessel.

Maryland Boat Title & Registration Fees

Below, you'll find the DNR's fees and taxes for titling and registering boats in MD:

  • Boat registration for 2 years (depends on the length and/or power of your vessel):
    • 16 ft or less with 7.5 HP or under: Free.
    • Over 16 ft OR over 7.5 HP: $24.
  • Vessel title: $2.
  • Documented vessel decal (good for 2 years): $10.
  • Security interest filing fee (if recording a lien): $15.
  • Excise tax: 5% of the purchase price ($5 minimum).
  • Duplicate:
    • Title: $2.
    • Registration decals: $1.

Boat Registration Renewals & Replacements

Registrations expire on December 31 of every second year. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will mail you a renewal application about 30 days before your registration is set to expire.

If you lost the application or did not receive one, fill out an Application for Vessel Registration (Renewal Only) (Form DNR B 201A) instead.

Then, you can submit a renewal application along with the necessary renewal fees in person OR by mail to your local DNR service center.

Replace a Lost Registration or Title

You can request a replacement vessel registration and/or title by submitting the following (in person OR by mail) to a DNR service station:

Maryland Boater Qualifications

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

You can obtain your certificate by:

Additionally, if you're younger than 16 years old and wish to operate a vessel WITHOUT getting a valid boating safety certificate:

  • 11 ft in length or more, you must be accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old.
  • Less than 11 ft in length, you must be accompanied by a person of ANY age who holds a boating safety certificate.

For more information, visit the MD Department of Natural Resources' boating safety page.

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