Boat Registration and Licenses in Maine
If you want to operate watercraft on Maine waters, you may need to register it with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW). Keep reading to learn about registering your boat AND the qualifications needed to operate a vessel on ME waters.
ME Vessels Requiring Registration
The Maine IFW requires all motorized boats, including personal watercraft, used on state waters to be registered, with the following exemptions:
- Vessels currently registered in another state OR country with a properly displayed decal, not operating on Maine waters for more than 60 consecutive days.
- Ship lifeboats.
- Vessels displaying a current boat number from a recognized racing association that are strictly used for racing.
- Vessels owned by federal, state, or local governments and used only for official purposes.
- Military or public watercraft, except recreational watercraft.
If you're not sure if your vessel qualifies for registration, call the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at (207) 287-8000.
Boat Registration in Maine
PRIOR to submitting a registration application, you'll need to pay excise tax on your boat unless your vessel is:
- A lifeboat or raft carried by another vessel.
- 20 ft or under AND isn't motorized.
- Exempt from property tax.
The amount of excise tax you'll owe will depend on your vessel's length and your ME county of residence. You can submit your payment and direct any additional questions about excise tax to your
municipal tax collector.
Complete the registration process by presenting the following items at the IFW's main office OR at a participating municipal/town clerk's office (call ahead to confirm they process vessel registrations):
- A completed:
- Proof of use tax paid, such as:
- The applicable boat registration fees and taxes.
Maine boat registrations are valid for 1 calendar year and are valid through December 31 of the year the registration was issued.
ME Boat Registration Fees & Taxes
The fees associated with registering your boat with the ME Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are as follows:
- Boat registration/renewal fees (depend on the horsepower of your boat AND if you have a lake and river protection sticker, also known as a "Milfoil" sticker):
- 0 to 10 horsepower: $16 ($31 with Milfoil).
- 11 to 50 horsepower: $21 ($31 with Milfoil).
- 51 to 115 horsepower: $27 ($27 with Milfoil).
- More than 116 horsepower: $35 ($50 with Milfoil).
- Personal watercraft registration/renewal fee: $35 ($50 with Milfoil).
- Excise tax: Varies according to your county of residence.
NOTE: All fees (not taxes) include a $1 agent fee. Agents may also charge an additional $2 fee for new, transfer and rollover registrations.
Maine Boat Registration Renewals & Replacements
Maine vessel registrations are valid for 1 calendar year and expire on December 31 of the year the registration was issued. Like applying for an original boat registration, you'll need to pay excise tax on your vessel BEFORE renewing its registration. See our section on initial boat registrations for details.
Once you've paid the excise tax (if applicable), finish renewing your boat registration by submitting information about your vessel AND payment for the appropriate renewal fees:
- Online using the IFW's boat registration renewal portal (in participating counties).
- By mail to the address listed on your renewal notice.
Replace a Lost RegistrationDuplicate registrations can be purchased by submitting a ATV, Boat, and Snowmobile Registration (REV 2019) AND the duplicate registration fee (along with any applicable agent fees) to the IFW's main office OR your municipal/town clerk's office (call ahead to make sure they process boat registrations).
Maine Boater Qualifications
If you're between 16 and 18 years old, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife requires you to complete a boating safety course if you want to operate a personal watercraft unsupervised. Without a boating safety certificate, you'll need to be accompanied by somebody who's at least 18 years old to operate personal watercraft on Maine waters. There may be state age restrictions regarding piloting a boat, check with IFW for more details.
You can choose to complete the boating education requirement:
- In the classroom.
Check out the IFW's boating education page for approved online and in-class boater safety education providers. If you have additional questions, call the regional safety coordinator in your county of residence.