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  • Boat Registration and Licenses in South Carolina

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    Boat Registration and Licenses in South Carolina

    To get your boat legally registered and titled in South Carolina, you're going to have to submit your request to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

    For complete instructions on how to register your boat in South Carolina, apply for a duplicate boat registration card, or renew your SC boat registration, continue scrolling down this page.

    Boats You Must Register in South Carolina

    • All motorized boats and watercraft.
    • All sailboats and outboard motors with 5 horsepower or more must be titled.

    Exemptions

    • Any boat documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
    • Boats registered in another state and only in South Carolina on a temporary basis.

    What Not to Register

    • Windsurfers.
    • Non-motorized rowboats.
    • Non-motorized canoes.
    • Non-motorized kayaks.

    Boat Requirements and Procedures

    To register and title your boat in South Carolina, you must submit the following:

    1. Current title, if the boat is used; or the manufacturer's certificate of origin, if the watercraft is new.
    2. A notarized bill of sale.
    3. A completed Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application (Form FM-015).
    4. Payment of all fees and taxes. See "SC Boat Registration/Title Fees" below.

    There may other factors involved in the registration process for your boat. You can visit the DNR's website for title and registration transfer information for all other scenarios (estates, boats purchased in other states, etc.).

    SC Boat Registration/Title Fees

    • Title and registration for new boats: $40.
    • Title and registration for transferred boats: $16.
    • Title and registration for sailboats with motorized propulsion: $40.
    • Title for sailboats without motorized propulsion: $10.
    • Boat registration renewal: $30.

    Boat Registration Renewals and Replacements

    Boat registrations can be renewed:

    • Online.
    • By mail.
    • In person.

    Renew Online

    One of the easiest ways to renew your SC boat registration is online via the South Carolina DNR website.

    Renew by Mail

    You can also mail your renewal form to the address on your renewal notice. If you did not receive a renewal notification, complete a Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application (Form FM-015).

    Renew in Person

    You can also renew your boat registration in person by dropping off your renewal notice at any South Carolina DNR location.

    Replace Lost Registration

    If you need to apply for a duplicate copy of your boat registration in South Carolina, you'll need to complete a Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application (Form FM-015) and mail it to the address at the top of the form.

    The fee for your duplicate boat registrations is $5.

    Boater License in South Carolina

    Boaters younger than 16 years old can operate a boat with 15 hp or more if they complete a state-approved boating safety class, or are accompanied by an adult. See below for more information.

    Boater Safety Courses

    • Online: Take a state-approved online course.
    • Classroom: The DNR offers courses throughout the state.
    • Home study: Call (800) 277-4301 for more information.

    By taking a boater safety course in South Carolina, you could end up saving on your boat insurance. If you are not covered in South Carolina, you should consider reading our page about boat insurance to find out more. Having an insurance policy for your boat will protect you if you're ever involved in a boat collision.