Registering & Titling Your Watercraft
The owner of a watercraft must apply for a Certificate of Title at the same time application is made for a Certificate of Number (Registration). The Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number form (PDF) is available from most watercraft dealers, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Headquarters and Regional Offices (and this site), and agents who sell hunting and fishing licenses.
In addition to other information, an application for title and registration requires a detailed description of the watercraft that includes the make, length, model year, type of vessel, hull material, type of propulsion, and the twelve-character hull identification number; the make, horsepower and serial number of the motor if in excess of 25 horsepower; and the name and address of the lienholder, if any.
Required Supporting Documents
Supporting documents as proof of ownership must be submitted with an application for title and registration as follows:
- The owner must provide the original Manufacturer's or Importer's Certificate of Origin with "First Assignment" completed and issued by dealer at time of purchase and a sales invoice showing gross purchase price, watercraft sales tax paid and a description of the watercraft.
- If watercraft sales tax is paid to a dealer, a sales invoice showing gross purchase price and watercraft sales tax paid must be submitted. With proof of tax paid on the watercraft by the applicant, credit will be given for tax paid on watercraft purchased in another state. If Watercraft Sales Tax paid in another state is less than 2%, the boat owner must pay the difference.
- If watercraft was homemade by you, an affidavit must be provided stating this fact in lieu of a Manufacturer's or Importer's Certificate of Origin. Copies of receipts from building materials must be submitted with the Application. (Your watercraft may be subject to inspection by a law enforcement officer.)
Used Watercraft (Certificate of Title Previously Issued)
- If titled in Virginia: the original Certificate of Title with assignment of title completed by titled owner/owners and, if purchased from a dealer, a sales invoice showing gross purchase price, watercraft sales tax paid and a description of the watercraft.
- If titled in another state: the original Certificate of Title with assignment of title completed by titled owner/owners and, if purchased from a dealer, a sales invoice showing gross purchase price, watercraft sales tax paid and a description of the watercraft.
- If titled by you in another state: the original Certificate of Title must be submitted. (Sales tax is not required to be paid.)
Used Watercraft (Previously Registered But Not Titled)
- If registered in Virginia but never titled: a dated bill of sale or Notification of Change in Status of a Numbered Vessel form (PDF) signed by the registered owner/owners.
- If registered in another state: a copy of the out-of-state registration and a bill of sale signed by the registered owner/owners.
- If registered by you in another state: a copy of the out-of-state registration. (Sales tax not required to be paid.)
Used Watercraft (Documented With the U.S. Coast Guard)
- The Certificate of Documentation and Abstract of Title or Letter of Deletion, with proof of lien release in documented owner's name, and a bill of sale signed by the documented owner/owners.
Fees for Titling
|Type of Transaction||Fee|
|Watercraft Sales Tax||2% of gross purchase price of watercraft and motor|
|Duplicate Title||$2 (if original Title is lost, defaced, or destroyed)|
|Change of Motor on Title||$2 (original Title must be submitted)|
|Record Supplemental Lien on Previously Titled Watercraft||$7 (original Title must be submitted with Supplemental Lien Application)|
Fees for Three Year Registration
|Type of Transaction||Three-Year Fee|
|Registration of boat less than 16 feet in length||$27|
|Registration of boat 16 to less than 20 feet in length||$31|
|Registration of boat 20 to less than 40 feet in length||$37|
|Registration of boat 40 feet in length or longer||$45|
|Livery of up to 10 boats||$27|
|Livery of more than 10 boats||$21|
|Duplicate certificate/decal (per duplicate)||$9|
Expiration and Renewal of Certificate of Number (Registration)
The registered watercraft owner's Certificate of Number (Registration) expires every three years. Renewal notices are mailed to the last known address of all watercraft owners 60 days before expiration. The registration number assigned to your watercraft remains the same and should never be removed from your watercraft.
Notification of Change in Status or Change in Mailing Address
If a registered watercraft is sold, destroyed, abandoned, or stolen, or if there is a change in your mailing address, you are required by law to report this information within 15 days in writing to the Boat Registration & Titling Section, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (You may submit an e-mail message with the necessary information to the Department at email@example.com.)
Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard cannot be titled in Virginia. Though there is no requirement that documented vessels be registered, owners may register them if desired. The registration decals may be useful if traveling to another state that requires display of registration decals. Contact the Department for an application or use the application provided at this site and prominently write "Documented Vessel" at the top.
Watercraft Registered Out-of-State
Watercraft currently registered by the owner in another state and not kept in Virginia for more than 90 consecutive days are not required to be registered in Virginia.
Watercraft Trailers — Title, Registration and License Plates
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).
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).