Boat Registration and Licenses in New Jersey

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Boat Registration and Licenses in New Jersey

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) handles the registration and titling of all boats.

This page covers all the information you need about registering your boat in New Jersey, renewing your boat registration, and applying for a duplicate copy of your boat registration in case you recently misplaced it.

Boat You Must Register in NJ

Any boat that longer than 12 feet and all motor-powered vessels, regardless of length, MUST be registered in New Jersey.

If your boat is 12 feet or shorter, you do not need to title it. You will also have slightly different instructions to register it in New Jersey. See "Boat Registration Requirements and Procedures" below.


  • U.S. public vessels.
  • Foreign vessels.
  • Ship lifeboats.
  • Non-motorized vessels restricted to small lakes and ponds on private property.
  • Any racing vessel holding a New Jersey State Marine Police permit.
  • Any vessel registered in another state or operating on New Jersey waters for fewer than 180 days consecutively.

What Not to Register

  • Non-motorized inflatable devices.
  • Non-motorized surfboards.
  • Non-motorized dinghies.
  • Non-motorized racing shells.
  • Non-motorized canoes and kayaks.

Boat Registration Requirements and Procedures

To register and title your boat (longer than 12 feet) in New Jersey, you will need to:

  • Visit any Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) office with proof of age and identification.
  • Complete a boat registration application (Form BA-51), available at the NJ MVC office.
  • Pay all applicable fees. See "Fees to Register a Boat in NJ" below.

If your boat is 12 feet long or shorter, a jet-ski, or a non-titled watercraft, you must visit your local NJ MVC agency and bring:

  • Proof of age and identification, Social Security number, and your NJ driver's license number.
  • At least 1 document to prove ownership.
    • Plus, an out-of-state certificate of ownership and registration certificate, if applicable.
  • A notarized bill of sale and statement of receipt from the seller.
  • Payment for your registration fee.

Fees to Register a Boat in NJ

The cost to register your boat in New Jersey will vary depending on the length of your boat.

  • Less than 16 feet: $12.
  • 16 ft to 26 ft:$28.
  • 26 ft to 40 ft: $52.
  • 40 ft to 65 ft: $80.
  • 65 ftor longer: $250.

Renewal Online

You can renew your NJ boat registration online using VISA, Discover, MasterCard, or American Express credit/debit card.

Renew in Person

To renew your boat registration in person, you can visit any New Jersey MVC office.

Replace Lost Registration

If you need a replacement boat registration certificate, you will need to visit any MVC office with valid identification. The cost to apply for a duplicate copy of your boat registration is $5.

Boater License & Safety Courses

A motorboat license is required in New Jersey for operation on non-tidal water.

Keep in mind, a boat license is different than a boat safety certificate.

Boat Safety Certificate

All power vessel operators, regardless of age, must hold a boating safety certificate from a state-approved program. State-approved classes are offered throughout New Jersey. For more information contact any MVC office.

You can also complete a state-approved boat safety class online—check with the MVC for approved third-party providers.

New Jersey Boat Insurance

Even though the New Jersey MVC does not require you to buy an insurance policy for your boat, having adequate boat insurance coverage could protect you from a boatload of costs for repairs or medical bills. For more information, you can read our page about boat insurance.

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