Boat Registration and Licenses in Virginia

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Boat Registration and Licenses in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) administers boat and personal watercraft registration.

If you just purchased a new or used boat, one of the first things you'll need to accomplish is completing the registration and titling process.

This page outlines all the instructions you will need to get your vessel ready for summer!

What to Register

All motorized boats.

What Not to Register

  • Non-motorized canoe.
  • Non-motorized rowboat.
  • Non-motorized kayak.


  • Boats only used on private waters.
  • A boat registered in another state that's not kept in Virginia for more than 90 consecutive days.

Boat Requirements and Procedures

The procedure for registering a boat in Virginia depends on whether it is new or used.

Registering a New Boat

  1. Complete an for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration).
  2. Collect an Original Manufacturer's or Importer's Certificate of Origin, with the "First Assignment" section completed by the dealer.
  3. Collect a sales invoice showing gross purchase price of the boat and motor separate from the trailer, and any sales tax paid.
  4. Mail to the address on the application.

Registering a Used Boat

Detailed instructions for every situation (registered in another state, titled in Virginia, titled by someone else in another state, etc.) can be found on the application for Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration).

Virginia Boat Registration Fees

Registration fees are based on the length of your boat.

  • Less than 16 ft: $27.
  • 16 to 20 ft: $31.
  • 20 ft to 40 ft: $37.
  • 40 ft and longer: $45.
  • Livery of up to 10 boats: $27.
  • Livery of over 10 boats: $21.
  • Duplicate registration certificate: $9.
  • Duplicate decal: $9.

Renewals & Replacements

Boat registrations are valid for 3 years.

Renew Online

You can renew your boat registration online using your VISA or MasterCard.

Renew by Mail

To renew by mail, you'll need to send payment along with your renewal notice to the address on your renewal notice. Or, if you did not receive a renewal notice, complete a Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration), write "RENEWAL" in large letters at the top, and mail it to the address on the form.

Renew in Person

You can also drop off your renewal notice at any DGIF location.

Replace Lost Registration

In order to apply for a replacement registration card, you'll need to complete a Duplicate Certificate of Number form and mail to the address on the application. The total cost will be $9.

Boater Safety

Virginia began phasing in new requirements for boat operators in 2007. In July 2013 the new law required all Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators 14 years old or older to have a NASBLA approved boat safety certificate. It also required all motorboat operators 45 years old and younger to take a boat safety course.

Beginning on July 1, 2015 all motorboat operators under 50 years old will be required to take a NASBLA approved boat safety course.

No one under the age of 14 years old is permitted to operate a PWC. If you are 14 or 15 years old you will be required to show proof of a completed NASBLA approved boating safety course if you wish to operate a PWC.

The phasing in of the new requirements will be completed in 2016. At that time ALL PWC and motorboat operators, piloting a vessel of 10 HP or greater, will be required to have proof of a completed boat safety course onboard at all times.

Boater Safety Courses

  • Online: Obtain a state-approved boating safety certificate through Click its link below for immediate course information.
  • Classroom: Courses are offered throughout the state.

Boat Insurance in Virginia

Boat insurance isn't a requirement to register and title your boat in Virginia. However, it could come in handy if you're ever involved in a boating accident.

If you haven't considered carrying boat insurance, you may want to read our page about Boat Insurance in Virginia.

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