Boat Registration and Licenses in Texas
Boat Registration & Licenses in Texas
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) processes all vessel title and registration applications.
Continue reading to learn about applying for boat title and registration AND the minimum requirements to operate watercraft in the Lone Star State.
TX Boats You Must Title & Register
The TPWD requires registration for the following types of boats:
- All motorized vessels (including those powered by trolling motors).
- Any sailboat measuring 14 ft or more.
- All sailboats with auxiliary engines.
- U.S. Coast Guard-documented vessels.
Exceptions to the Parks and Wildlife Department's registration requirement include:
- All non-motorized (powered by paddles/oars):
- Canoes and kayaks.
- Rubber rafts.
- Sailboats less than 14 ft propelled only by the wind.
- Coast Guard-documented commercial vessels that are:
- Used in coastal shipping.
- Longer than 115 ft.
In addition, you're required to title the following vessels in TX:
- All motorized boats.
- Measuring at least 14 ft long.
- With auxiliary engines.
- Gasoline and diesel-powered outboard motors.
Boats exempt from the TPWD's titling requirement include:
- Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Non-motorized (powered by oars/paddles):
- Canoes and kayaks.
- Rubber rafts.
- Sailboats propelled only by the wind measuring less than 14 ft.
If you aren't sure about whether your boat requires titling and/or registration, call the TDWP's boat information hotline at (800) 262-8755 for clarification.
Register & Title Your Vessel in TX
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department requires you to title and/or register a recently-purchased vessel within 45 days of the sale date (before late fees apply).
To register and/or title your boat, begin by gathering the following items:
- A completed Vessel/Boat Application (Form PWD 143) AND/OR Outboard Motor Application (Form PWD 144).
- If you don't have a bill of sale, the seller will need to complete AND sign the tax affidavit portion of the application(s).
- For previously out-of-state OR untitled vessels, a completed Verification of Vessel or Outboard Motor Serial Number (Form PWD 504).
- If titling/registering a used boat that's never been titled, registered, OR documented, a completed Affidavit of Fact (Form PWD 314)
- A bill of sale.
- If applying for a title, any of the following proof of ownership documents for:
- Brand new boats: Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
- Used boats: Properly assigned TX title.
- Out-of-state boats: Most current out-of-state title or registration.
- A valid photo identification, like your Texas driver's license OR state identification card.
- The appropriate fees to title and/or register your watercraft.
Then, if possible, have the seller accompany you to submit the required items above at:
Your Texas boat registration will be valid for 2 years.
Texas Boat Title & Registration Fees
The fees to title and register your vessel with the TX Parks and Wildlife Department are as follows:
- Original and renewal boat registration (depends on the length of your boat):
- Less than 16 ft: $32.
- 16 ft to less than 26 ft: $53.
- 26 ft to less than 40 ft: $110.
- 40 ft or more: $150.
- Vessel/outboard motor title: $27.
- Registration transfer fee: $11.
- Registration card: $11.
- Boat decals AND registration card (must be replaced with duplicate decals): $22.
- Title: $27.
- Taxes for:
- New Texas residents: $15.
- Sales and use: 6.25% of the purchase price.
TX Vessel Renewals & Replacements
Boat registrations are valid for 2 years in Texas. The TX Parks and Wildlife Department will mail you a renewal notice before your boat's expiration date.
You can renew your TX vessel registration by any of the following methods:
- Online by providing information about your boat AND the necessary renewal fees.
- In person at a TPWD office OR county tax assessor's office, providing:
- Your renewal notice OR a completed Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M).
- A completed Letter of Authorization (Form PWD 581) if someone other than the boat's owner is renewing the registration.
- Payment for the applicable renewal fees.
- Only tax assessor offices accept credit/debit cards—TDWP offices do not (bring cash, a check, or money order instead).
- By mailing the renewal notice AND a check or money order for the appropriate renewal costs in the envelope provided with your renewal notice.
If you lost or did not receive your renewal notice, you can also mail:
- A completed Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M) OR written request for registration renewal.
- A check or money order for the applicable renewal fees.
Send the above to:
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Replace a Lost Boat Title or Registration
If your boat title or registration is lost or destroyed, you can request duplicates by providing:
- A completed:
- Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M) for replacement decals, registration card, AND/OR vessel title.
- Outboard Motor Records Maintenance (Form PWD 144M) for a replacement outboard motor title.
- If someone other than the vessel's registered owner will request replacement decals AND/OR registration card, a completed Letter of Authorization (Form PWD 581).
- If you're ordering a duplicate title, only you (the owner of the vessel) can make the request.
- A valid photo identification, like your state ID card OR TX driver's license.
- Payment for the necessary duplicate title/registration fees.
Then, submit the required items above at any of the following locations:
Texas Boater Requirements
The TX Parks and Wildlife Department requires boat operators to have completed a certified boater safety course if they were born on or after September 1, 1993. If you are 13 years old or older AND have a certified boater safety certificate, you may operate the following types of watercraft without adult supervision:
- Personal watercraft (e.g. Jet Skis).
- Wind-propelled watercraft (e.g. sailboats) longer than 14 ft.
- Motorized boats with greater than 15 HP.
To complete the TPWD's education requirement, enroll in:
- An approved online boater education course.
- A classroom course—Search for available in-class courses.
Keep in mind, completing a boater education course could earn you discounts on boat insurance. Even if you're not required to enroll in a course, becoming a better boater AND saving some cash makes that extra education worth it.
- PWD 143M
- Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance
- Form used to request renewed, corrected, OR replacement TX boat registration, replacement Texas boat title, OR additional boat ID cards.
- PWD 314
- Affidavit of Fact
- Form used in conjunction with Texas boat title/registration forms to provide supplemental information.
- PWD 143
- Vessel/Boat Application
- Submit this form to TX Parks and Wildlife to apply for a boat title AND/OR registration. Can also be used to pay taxes on smaller vessels.
- PWD 504
- Verification of Vessel or Outboard Motor Serial Number
- Use this form to verify your boat's identification/serial number with Texas Parks and Wildlife.