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Boat Registration and Licenses in West Virginia

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Boat Registration & Licenses in West Virginia

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) enforces all boat regulations in the state, while the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) processes all applications for vessel titles and registrations. 

On this page, we'll teach you the basics of WV vessel titles and registrations as well as outline the legal requirements to operate watercraft in the Mountain State.

Boats to Title & Register in WV

The West Virginia DNR requires ALL motorized vessels, including personal watercraft (e.g. jet skis) to be registered

Additionally, you're require to title any motorized watercraft bought after July 1, 1989

Exceptions to the Division of Natural Resources' registration and titling requirements include:

  • Non motorized:
    • Canoes.
    • Kayaks.
    • Rowboats.
    • Sailboats.
  • Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard. 
  • Motorboats participating in WV races.
  • Watercraft from other countries temporarily using West Virginia's waters.
  • Boats registered in another state and not kept in West Virginia for more than 60 consecutive days.
  • Lifeboats.

If you're not sure about whether you'll need to titled and/or register your boat, call the DNR at (304) 558-2784 for assistance. 

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Apply for a WV Boat Title & Registration

To title and register a boat in West Virginia, you'll need to gather the following:

Then, you can drop your completed application off at any Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office OR mail it to:

  • WV DMV
  • P.O. Box 17710
  • Charleston, WV 25317

In West Virginia, all boat registrations fall within the same cycle spanning 3 years. It begins on April 1st and ends on March 31st of the cycle's final registration year. Your registration fees will depend on when in that cycle you apply for a WV boat registration.

FOR EXAMPLE: If the current cycle spans from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018 and you register before April 1, 2017, you'll pay for 2 years of registration. If you register on April 1, 2017 or later, you'll pay for 1 year of registration. 

West Virginia Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees to title and register your boat in West Virginia are as follows:

  • WV boat title: $10.
    • Per lien added: $5.  
  • Initial vessel registration—Varies by when in the renewal cycle you're registering, as well as your boat's length:
    • 1st year in cycle—Boats measuring:
      • Less than 16 ft.: $30.
      • 16 to 25 ft.: $45.
      • 26 to 39 ft.: $60.
      • 40 ft. or more: $75.
    • 2nd year in cycle—Boats measuring:
      • Less than 16 ft.: $20.
      • 16 to 25 ft.: $30.
      • 26 to 39 ft.: $40.
      • 40 ft. and above: $50.
    • 3rd year in cycle—Boats measuring:
      • Less than 16 ft.: $10.
      • 16 to 25 ft.: $15.
      • 26 to 39 ft.: $20.
      • 40 ft. and more: $25.
  • Renewal vessel registration (good for 3 years) for watercraft measuring:
    • Less than 16 ft.: $30.
    • 16 to 25 ft.: $45.
    • 26 to 39 ft.: $60.
    • 40 ft. or longer: $75.
  • Replacement:
    • Boat title: $10.
    • Vessel decals OR registration card: $5.
  • Sales tax (due with title application):
  • Personal property tax (due with registration renewal): Varies by county—select your WV county of residence from the DMV's person property tax links for the most current information. 

The fees for an original boat registration can be confusing! If you're having trouble calculating how much you'll owe, call the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at (304) 558-3900 for help. 

WV Boat Renewals & Replacements

All West Virginia boat registrations are valid during a universal cycle, lasting 3 years. At the end of the vessel registration cycle, the WV DMV will mail you a renewal notice

When you renew your registration, you're required to show proof you paid personal property tax on the vessel (i.e. a personal property tax receipt). Luckily, certain WV counties allow you pay these taxes online. Otherwise, you can pay (and ask any additional questions) at your local county assessor's office. You can find more information by selecting your county of residence from the DMV's personal property tax page

You can renew your watercraft's registration by submitting:

Then, you can mail the items above to:

  • WV DMV Boat Section
  • P.O. Box 17110
  • Charleston, WV 25317

Replacement WV Boat Title & Registration

Lost or damaged your WV boat title and/or registration? Don't stress! You can easily request replacements by following the instructions below.

Replacing a Boat Title

To request a duplicate vessel title send:

Mail the items for a replacement title to:

  • Receiving and Processing
  • P.O. Box 17710
  • Charleston, WV 25317

Replacing a Boat Registration

If you need to request a duplicate registration card AND/OR decals, provide:

Then, mail the items above to:

  • WV DMV Boat Section
  • P.O. Box 17110
  • Charleston, WV 25317

If you have questions regarding vessel registration renewals OR replacements, call the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at (800) 642-9066. 

West Virginia Boater Requirements

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources requires all residents born on or after December 31, 1986, to complete a state-approved boater education course. 

Additionally, the WV DNR imposes the following age-based restrictions when it comes to boating on state waterways, which it outlines on its Boating Regulations guide.

To fulfill the DNR's boater education requirement, you'll need to complete a boating education course by any of the following methods:

If you have additional questions regarding boater education classes in West Virginia, call any member of the Division of Natural Resources' boating safety staff for assistance. 

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