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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) oversees all vessel registrations and titles.

This page covers the steps to registering and titling your boat AND the minimum requirements needed to use watercraft on NJ waters.

Vessels to Title & Register in NJ

All vessels (regardless of having a motor) over 12 feet in length MUST be titled with the New Jersey MVC. Watercraft exempt from this rule include:

  • Ship lifeboats.
  • Canoes and kayaks.
  • Inflatable boats.
  • Surfboards.
  • Rowing sculls and racing shells.
  • Dinghies used as transportation between boats and the beach.
  • Boats that are 12 feet or shorter.

The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission requires a majority of vessels to be registered, with the following exceptions:

  • U.S. public vessels.
  • Foreign vessels.
  • Ship lifeboats.
  • Non-motorized watercraft restricted to small lakes and ponds on private property.
  • Any racing vessel with a permit from he New Jersey State Police's Marine Services Bureau.
  • Any vessel registered in another state operating on New Jersey waters for fewer than 180 days.
  • Non-motorized:
    • Watercraft under 12 feet long.
    • Inflatable devices.
    • Surfboards.
    • Dinghies.
    • Racing shells.
    • Canoes and kayaks.

If you aren't sure whether your vessel requires a title and/or registration, contact the MVC at (609) 292-6500.

Title Your Vessel in NJ

BEFORE turning in a title application, make sure your vessel has a valid hull identification number (HIN). If your boat is missing a HIN, head to a New Jersey Marine Services Bureau office location to have it inspected AND assigned a hull identification number, which you will need to fill in on your title application.

Keep in mind, you have 10 business days from the purchase date to title your boat by providing the following items at your local MVC office:

Boat Registration Procedures

The steps to registering your boat with the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission will differ depending on the length.

To register a boat longer than 12 feet, you'll need to visit your local MVC office branch and submit:

To register a vessel that's 12 feet long or shorter (including jet-skis and vessels not requiring a title), you must present the following items at your local NJ MVC agency:

  • The MVC-approved documents to prove your identity, age, and Social Security number.
  • A filled-out Application for Boat Registration (Form BA-51), which you can only obtain at the MVC office.
  • At least 1 document to prove ownership, such as:
    • A notarized receipt statement from the vessel's seller.
    • A notarized bill of sale.
    • An out-of-state registration card AND certificate of ownership.
    • A sworn affidavit for certificate of ownership (signed before a notary public).
  • Payment for the appropriate boat registration fees.

New Jersey boat registrations are valid for 1 year.

NJ Vessel Title & Registration Fees

The costs to title and register your boat with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission are as follows:

  • Original/renewed boat registration (depends 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.
  • Title for a vessel:
    • Without a lien: $60.
    • With a lien: $85.
  • Duplicate:
    • Boat registration: $5.
    • Vessel title: $60.
  • Boat license: $18.

Renew Your NJ Boat Registration

The NJ MVC will send you a registration renewal notice about 3 months before your boat's expiration date.

You can renew your vessel registration by providing information about your watercraft AND the necessary renewal fees:

Replacement Boat Title & Registration

If your boat's title or registration is lost of destroyed, you'll need to request a duplicate from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.

Duplicate Boat Title

To apply for a duplicate vessel title, submit the following at any MVC office:

  • A completed Application for Duplicate Certificate of Ownership (Form OS/SS-52).
  • Your boat's registration card (valid or expired) OR registration record.
  • If your vessel has a lien, a letter from the lien holder that includes:
    • The lien holder's name.
    • The boat's hull identification number.
    • A statement verifying they are not in possession of the title.
  • The $60 duplicate title fee.

Duplicate Boat Registration

To request a duplicate vessel registration, provide the following at any MVC office branch:

  • The required documentation to prove your age and identity (such as your NJ driver's license).
  • A completed Form BA-49, available only at the MVC office.
  • A receipt from a past registration OR title transaction.
  • If you're leasing the boat, a power of attorney statement that includes:
    • The leaser's name.
    • Authorization for you to sign the duplicate registration application.
    • The vessel's HIN.
  • The $5 boat registration replacement fee.

NJ Boater License & Safety Courses

To operate certain vessels (unsupervised) on New Jersey waters, you may need to have a boat license AND/OR Boat Safety Certificate.

You can get your Boat Safety Certificate by completing a boater education course AND passing an exam:

  • In the classroom—check your local listings for approved education providers.
  • Online—make sure the provider you choose offers an in-person final exam in your area.

You'll need to have a boat license to operate motorboats and jet skis on NJ's fresh non-tidal waters. To apply for a boat license, you must be at least 16 years old and submit the following items at your local MVC agency:

  • Your Boat Safety Certificate.
  • The acceptable documentation to fulfill the MVC's ID criteria of 6 points.
  • Payment for the $18 boat license fee.

Boater Age Restrictions

In addition to having the correct certifications above, you'll need to abide by the following age restrictions listed below.

If you are:

  • Younger than 13 years old, you CANNOT operate motorized vessels of any kind.
  • 13 years old to 15 years old, you're RESTRICTED to operating the following types of vessels AND must hold a Boat Safety Certificate:
    • Boats powered by trolling motors.
    • Watercraft 12 feet in length or more with less than 10 horsepower.
  • At least 16 years old, you can operate ANY motorized watercraft as long as you have a boat license (if operating on non-tidal waters) AND a Boat Safety Certificate.

For more information on boater education and licensing requirements, call the number applicable to your inquiries:

  • Boating safety certificates: (609) 882-2000 ext. 6173.
  • Boater safety courses: (800) 336-2628.
  • Boat licenses: (888) 486-3339.

Remember, completing a boater safety course won't only make NJ waters safer, but could also qualify you for a discount on boat insurance!

Forms

BA-51

Apply to register your boat with the Motor Vehicle Commission. Form available at NJ MVC offices only. Not available online.

Contact your local MVC

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