Virginia.gov

Boat Registration & Titling FAQs

  1. I just bought a used boat that is currently registered in Virginia. How do I register it?
  2. Do I have to register a canoe?
  3. Do I have to register a small john boat propelled by an electric trolling motor?
  4. My Virginia registration has expired. How do I renew it? Are there any late fees?
  5. How do I get a replacement registration card, replacement decals or replacement title?
  6. How do I find out the status of an application or renewal form that I have already mailed in?
  7. I just bought a used boat, which is registered in Virginia. Can I legally use the boat before I receive my own registration and title?
  8. Where can I get the various forms needed to register my boat and/or obtain  duplicate registration card, decals and title?
  9. I received a personal property tax bill on a boat I no longer own. How do I  correct this situation?
  10. I recently purchased a boat and trailer. Where do I register and title the trailer?
  11. I purchased a boat that is documented by the US Coast Guard and want to register and title it in Virginia. How do I do this?

1. I just bought a used boat that is currently registered in Virginia. How do I register it?

  • If it was titled: Send
    • the original title signed over to you by the previous owners,
    • the completed "Boat Title and Registration" form, and
    • appropriate fees to this department, attention the Boat Section.

2. Do I have to register a canoe?

If you propel the canoe by any type of motor, including an electric motor, then you must register and title it if it is used on the public waters of Virginia. Otherwise, you are not required to register or title a canoe in Virginia.

3. Do I have to register a small john boat propelled by an electric trolling motor?

Yes, if you propel the john boat by any type of motor including electric, then you must register and title it if used on the public waters of Virginia.

4. My Virginia registration has expired. How do I renew it? Are there any late fees?

You may use the "Boat Title and Registration" form to renew your registration. If you use this form, write in large bold letters at the top of the form the word "RENEWAL". Otherwise, you can contact this department by phone, mail or e-mail asking for a new renewal form. Be sure to give your VA boat number and correct return mailing address. We would then send you a renewal form in the mail for you to renew the registration. There are no late fees for registering a past due boat registration.

5. How do I get a replacement registration card, replacement decals or replacement title?

  1. Complete the "Duplicate Certificate of Number" form for a replacement registration card; the "Application for Duplicate Validation Decals" form for replacement decals; or the "Duplicate Certificate of Title" form for a replacement title,
  2. enclose the appropriate fee(s), and
  3. send to this department, attention the Boat Section.

6. How do I find out the status of an application or renewal form that I have already mailed in?

Call our toll free number 1-877-898-BOAT (2628), press selection 2, then press selection 6.

7. I just bought a used boat, which is registered in Virginia. Can I legally use the boat before I receive my own registration and title?

  • You may use the boat with a dated copy of the bill of sale and the previous owner's registration card (if it has not expired) for a period of 30 days after the date of the sale.
  • If you do not have the previous owner's registration card or if it has expired, you may purchase a Temporary Registration Certificate for $11 from any Hunting and Fishing License Agent. You must have proof of ownership (bill of sale) in order to purchase the Temporary Registration Certificate, which is good for 30 days.

8. Where can I get the various forms needed to register my boat and/or obtain  duplicate registration card, decals and title?

All forms may be obtained from the Richmond office of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Most forms can be downloaded from this web site.  The Boat Title and Registration form, the form used to report a change in status of a numbered vessel, and the form used to request duplicate registration, decals and title may be obtained from Hunting and Fishing License Agents, most marine dealers and at all DMV offices

9. I received a personal property tax bill on a boat I no longer own. How do I  correct this situation?

You must send us notice in writing including all registered owners' signatures that you no longer own the boat. It is best to use a Change in Status of a Numbered Vessel form to do this. The notice should be mailed to us at DGIF, Boat Section, PO Box 11528, Richmond, VA 23230. Also, we can send a notice to your city or county confirming this change if you request us to do so.

10. I recently purchased a boat and trailer. Where do I register and title the trailer?

VDGIF's Richmond Office is able to process Boat Trailer Applications and issue the Title, Registration, and Plates for those who come into the office. (VDGIF does not accept mail-in applications for boat trailers). Trailers may also be registered and titled at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Additionally, DMV now accepts the application for Boat Registration and Title with the previous title and appropriate fee. DMV will issue a 90-Day Temporary and forward the Boat Registration/Title documentation to VDGIF for processing. (DMV does not accept mail-in applications for Boat Registration and Titles).

11. I purchased a boat that is documented by the US Coast Guard and want to register and title it in Virginia. How do I do this?

  1. Complete a "Boat Title and Registration" form
  2. include the Certificate of Documentation and Abstract of title,
  3. provide proof of lien release in the documented owner’s name
  4. include a bill of sale signed by the documented owner/owners and
  5. pay the appropriate fees. Send to this department, attention Boat Section.

Call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Automated Boat Registration Hotline at 1-877-898-BOAT (2628) or email us at boat-reg@dgif.virginia.gov to receive information on:

  • Registration and Titling.
  • Replacement cards, decals or titles.
  • Incorrect personal property tax on boats.
  • The status of an application you’ve already mailed.
  • Reaching a Boating Services technician to help you.