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Boat Registration and Licenses in Montana

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Boat Registration and Licenses in Montana

If you want to use a boat on Montana waters, you may need to register and title it with the Title and Registration Bureau (TRB) of the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ). All boating laws are enforced by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).

Continue reading this page for information on titling and registering your boat, as well as the qualifications needed to operate vessels on the waters of Big Sky Country.

Boats You Must Title & Register in MT

In Montana, you're required to title and register the following types of vessels:

  • Motorized vessels (including motorized canoes, rubber rafts, and personal watercraft).
  • Sailboats 12 ft and longer.

Boats exempt from Montana's titling and registration requirements include:

  • All non-motorized:
    • Canoes.
    • Kayaks.
    • Rowboats.
  • Non-motorized sailboats less than12 ft in length.
  • Documented vessels.
  • Boats owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
  • Lifeboats.
  • Registered boats from another state or country, not kept in Montana for more than 90 consecutive days.

If you're still not sure if you'll need to title and register your boat, call the Montana FWP at (406) 444-2535.

How to Title & Register Your Boat

If your vessel doesn't have a hull identification number (HIN), PRIOR to submitting a title and registration application you'll need to:

Then, you can make an application to register and title your boat with the Montana Title and Registration Bureau, by visiting your local county treasurer's office with:

To complete the title and registration process, you'll need to obtain your free validation decals:

All Montana boat registrations are permanent; you'll only need to renew your validation decals, which expire every 3 years.

Montana Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees associated with titling and registering your boat with the MT Title and Registration Bureau are as follows:

  • Certificate of Ownership (boat title): $10.
    • Per lien added: $8.
  • Permanent boat registration (depends on your vessel's length):
    • Less than 16 ft: $65.50.
    • 16 ft to 19 ft: $125.50.
    • 19 ft and longer: $295.50.
  • Replacement title: $10.
  • Application fee for a hull identification number: $5.

MT Vessel Renewals & Replacements

All boat registrations are permanent in Montana. You must, however, renew your boat's free validation decals every 3 years by:

  • Visiting any Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks office.
    OR
  • By ordering online.

Replace Lost Title & Registration

If you need a replacement copy of your MT boat title, you'll need:

Mail the above items to:

  • Title and Registration Bureau
  • P.O. Box 201431
  • 302 N. Roberts
  • Helena, MT 59620

If you need to request a duplicate boat registration, please contact your local county treasurer's office for instructions.

Montana Boater Requirements

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks imposes the following age restrictions when it comes to boating on state waters:

  • Children who are 12 years old or under CANNOT drive motorboats or personal watercraft with more than 10 horsepower UNLESS accompanied by a supervisor who's at least 18 years old.
  • Teenagers 13 to 14 years old need a valid Montana motorboat operator's safety certificate OR proof of boater safety course completion to operate boats or personal watercraft with more than 10 horsepower WITHOUT adult supervision.

You can fulfill the FWP's boater education requirement:

Taking a boater safety course will not only make you a safer operator but could also save you money on boat insurance (which is optional in MT).

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