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Boat Registration and Licenses in Pennsylvania

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Boat Registration and Licenses in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) oversees all vessel titles and registrations.

On this page, you'll find information about boat titling and registration, as well as the boater requirements to legally operate watercraft on PA waters.

PA Vessels to Title & Register

In Pennsylvania, you must register:

  • All motorized vessels.
  • Sailboats with auxiliary motors.
  • Recreational watercraft documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Non-motorized boats used on PA Fish and Boat Commission OR Pennsylvania State Parks waters.

Vessels exempt from the PFBC's registration requirements include:

  • Out-of-state boats temporarily operating on Pennsylvania waters.
  • U.S. government-owned vessels.
  • Lifeboats.
  • Search and rescue boats.
  • Documented boats used for non-recreational purposes.
  • Non-motorized vessels (e.g. kayaks, rowboats, sailboards) not using PFBC or PA State Parks waters.

The following types of watercraft must also be titled with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:

  • Boats model year 1997 or newer, powered by an inboard motor.
  • Vessels measuring 14 ft or longer, powered by an outboard motor.
  • Watercraft that already have a Pennsylvania title when purchased.
  • Boats with an out-of-state title primarily using PA waters.

If you're not sure about whether your vessel requires a title and/or registration, give the PFBC a call at (866) 262-8734 for clarification.

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Title & Register Your Boat in PA

To title and/or register your vessel with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, you'll need to submit:

Mail the required items above to:

  • PA Fish and Boat Commission
  • Division of Licensing and Registration
  • P.O. Box 68900
  • Harrisburg, PA 17106

Your boat registration will be valid for 2 years, expiring on March 31 of the final registration year.

The PFBC allows you to apply for a temporary vessel registration so you can boat while you wait for your official title/registration documents to arrive. You can get your temporary registration from any PA boat registration agent—call the office ahead of time for details on what you'll need to provide.

PFBC Boat Title & Registration Fees

The costs to title and/or register your boat with the PA Fish and Boat Commission are as follows:

  • Original and renewal registration for:
    • Non-motorized boats:$18.
    • Motorboats less than 16 ft: $26.
    • Motorboats 16 to 20 ft: $39.
    • Motorboat 20 ft and longer: $52.
  • Vessel title: $15.
    • Per lien added: $5.
  • Replacement:
    • Boat title: $5.
    • Registration card: $3.
    • Vessel decals: Free.
  • Temporary boat registration: $2.
  • Registration transfer (transferring your existing registration to a new vessel): $5.
  • Sales tax—Percentage of the purchase price:
    • State: 6%.
    • Local (in addition to state sales tax) applied to:
      • Allegheny County: 1%.
      • Philadelphia County: 2%.

Pennsylvania Boat Renewals & Replacements

In Pennsylvania, boat registrations are valid for 2 years and expire on March 31 of the final registration year. The PA Fish and Boat Commission will mail you a renewal notice before your registration expires.

To renew your vessel registration, submit the required information about your boat AND payment for the appropriate renewal fees:

  • Online through the PFBC's Outdoor Shop portal.
  • By mail to the address printed on your renewal notice.

NOTE: If you did not receive a renewal notice OR your registration has been expired for a long time, mail a completed Application for Pennsylvania Boat Registration Renewal (Form PFBC-733) in lieu of the renewal notice.

Replace Lost Boat Title & Registration

If your vessel title, registration card, OR decals are lost or destroyed, you can obtain a duplicate copies by submitting the applicable items below:

Mail the above items to:

  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • Division of Licensing and Registration
  • P.O. Box 68900
  • Harrisburg, PA 17106

Pennsylvania Boater Qualifications

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission requires you to hold a boating safety certificate:

  • To operate personal watercraft (like jet skis).
  • If you were born on or after January 1, 1982, and want to operate a motorboat with an engine of 25 horsepower or greater.

To earn your boating safety certificate, you'll first need to complete an approved boater education course:

  • Online—See the PFBC's boating courses page for a list of approved online providers.
  • In the classroom, at various times and locations throughout the state.
  • With a home-study course—Call (800) 830-2268 to order this video-based boater education course.

Then, order your boating safety certificate by sending the following items to the PFBC:

Mail the required items above to:

  • PA Fish and Boat Commission
  • Boating Safety Education
  • P.O. Box 67000
  • Harrisburg, PA 17106

Taking an education course not only makes you a better boater, but can also save you money on boat insurance. For more, check out our PA boat insurance guide.

Forms

Application for Pennsylvania Boat Registration Renewal - PFBC-733

Application for boat registration AND/OR title.

Application for Pennsylvania Boat Registration and/or Boat Title - REV-336

Submit this form to title AND/OR register your boat in Pennsylvania.

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