Virginia.gov

Watercraft Dealer Licensing

Online Watercraft Dealer Licensing

Login to Online System »

As of February 15, 2008, all applications for watercraft dealer licenses will be handled online. Please visit the Online Watercraft Dealer Licensing System to register and use the new system. If you have trouble accessing the system, please call (804) 367-1011.

Individuals or businesses that manufacture, distribute, sell or demonstrate watercraft in the Commonwealth of Virginia must be licensed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). This requirement applies to both in-state and out-of-state individuals and businesses if they are operating within the Commonwealth. There are a number of different licenses depending on the activities of the business. After you read the descriptions below, click on the hyperlinks of the licenses you are interested to view the specific requirements for each license. Businesses and individuals who reside outside of Virginia who wish to do business in Virginia should read the section below on Out-of-State Registrations and Licenses.

Watercraft Dealers are businesses who sell watercraft using one or more retail locations. They are required to hold a Watercraft Dealer License and meet a rigorous set of requirements. The Watercraft Dealer is responsible for obtaining a Watercraft Salesperson License for each salesperson that sells and demonstrates their watercraft in Virginia and a Demonstrator License for each individual that demonstrates but does not sell their watercraft in Virginia. In-state Dealers that wish to demonstrate watercraft in the waters of Virginia must obtain a Demonstrator Certificate of Number (registration). The number assigned may be used in connection with the operation of any motorboat in the dealer's possession when the watercraft is being used for demonstration purposes only. The dealer demonstration number may be used on only one boat at a time.

Manufacturers are businesses that construct and assemble watercraft. They are required to obtain a Watercraft Manufacturer License. The Manufacturer is responsible for obtaining a Factory Representative License for each of its representatives in Virginia. In-state Manufacturers that wish to demonstrate watercraft in the waters of Virginia must obtain a Demonstrator Certificate of Number (registration). The number assigned may be used in connection with the operation of any motorboat in the manufacturer's possession when the watercraft is being used for demonstration purposes only. The dealer demonstration number may be used on only one boat at a time.

Factory Branches are branch offices that make and/or sell watercraft to distributors or dealers. They are required to obtain a Factory Branch License. A Factory Branch is responsible for obtaining a Factory Representative License for each of its representatives in Virginia.

Distributors are businesses that sell or distribute watercraft to dealers through an agreement with the manufacturer. They are required to obtain a Watercraft Distributor License. Distributors are responsible for obtaining a Distributor Representative License for each of their representatives in Virginia. Distributor Branch offices are required to obtain a Distributor Branch License. A Distributor Branch is responsible for obtaining Distributor Branch Representative Licenses for each of its representatives in Virginia.

Wholesalers are businesses that sell to watercraft dealers or other wholesalers. They are required to obtain a Watercraft Wholesaler License. Wholesalers are responsible for obtain a Watercraft Salesperson License for each salesperson who sells in Virginia.

A Watercraft Salesperson is any person who is employed as a salesperson by, or has an agreement with, a watercraft dealer to sell or exchange watercraft. A licensed Salesman is also authorized to demonstrate watercraft.

A Watercraft Demonstrator is a person who is employed or contracted by a watercraft dealer to demonstrate watercraft to prospective buyers. A Demonstrator license does not allow the holder to solicit sales.

A Distributor representative is a person employed by a distributor for the purpose of making or promoting the sale of watercraft dealt in by it or for supervising or contacting its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in this Commonwealth.

A Distributor branch representative is a person employed by a distributor branch, for the purpose of making or promoting the sale of watercraft dealt in by it or for supervising or contacting its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in this Commonwealth.

A Factory representative is a person employed by a person who manufactures or assembles watercraft or by a factory branch for the purpose of making or promoting the sale of its watercraft or for supervising or contacting its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth.

Supplemental Licenses are needed when an existing Dealer, Manufacturer, Factory Branch, Distributor, Distributor Branch, or Wholesaler wants to operate from an additional location. A business must obtain a Permanent Supplemental License if it will be operating for more than 14 consecutive days from an additional location that is more than 25 yards from the primary business location. If the supplemental location is in a different locality, a business license must be obtained if required by that locality. This license is available for In-State Watercraft Dealers only. Businesses that plan to display for sale, sell, distribute, or demonstrate watercraft at a temporary location, such as a boat show, must obtain a Temporary Supplemental License prior to the event. The Temporary Supplemental License may be acquired for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days. Businesses should review the Boat Show Requirements and ensure that they are in compliance before the show.

Boating Education Requirement for Salespersons and Demonstrators: All salespersons and demonstrators must take and pass a boating education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) prior to receiving their license. Classroom and online courses are listed on this Web site. Proof of passing a NASBLA-approved boating course must accompany the application for salespersons and demonstrators. Manufacturer, distributor, and wholesaler representatives are not required to have boating education.

In-State Watercraft Dealer License ($75/yr)

In-state licenses are issued to individuals and businesses that reside or are located in Virginia

A Watercraft Dealer ("Dealer") is any person or business that:

  • for commission, money or other thing of value, buys, sells, exchanges, or arranges or offers or attempts to solicit or negotiate on behalf of others a sale, purchase or exchange of an interest in, new watercraft or new and used watercraft or used watercraft alone whether or not such watercraft are owned by such person: or
  • is engaged, wholly or in part, in the business of selling new watercraft or new and used watercraft, or used watercraft only, whether or not such watercraft are owned by such person; or
  • sells, offers to sell, displays or permits the display for sale, of two or more watercraft, within any twelve consecutive months.
  • As defined in Section 29.1-801 the definition of a watercraft dealer includes the term "broker".

Documents to be submitted:

  • $5,000 Surety Bond signed by the bond company and by the owner or an officer of the company. Mail the original document to the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff. This document may not be faxed.
  • Virginia Watercraft Sales Tax Certificate, issued by the Virginia Department of Taxation, that indicates the tax number issued for the business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.
  • Dealer Agreements with watercraft manufacturers or distributors to sell new watercraft. Sale of used watercraft does not require a dealer agreement. Dealer Agreements must indicate the expiration date of the agreement. If the agreement does not renew yearly, the agreement must state this fact. Manufacturers or distributors without formal agreements must provide written verification on their letterhead that the Dealer is authorized to sell and service their line of boats. Copies of these agreements may be mailed or faxed.
  • Local business license if required by the locality or localities in which the Dealer plans to locate the business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements and Licenses

  • An inspection of the Dealer's place of business must be conducted by a VDGIF Conservation Enforcement Officer before the license can be issued. This inspection is for the purpose of verifying an "established place of business" as defined in §29.1-801 of the Code of Virginia.
  • Salesperson License ($15/yr) for each salesperson that sells watercraft in Virginia. A Salesperson license also allows the holder to demonstrate watercraft. If the owner of the business sells watercraft, that individual must also acquire a Salesperson License.
  • Demonstrator License ($15/yr) for each individual that demonstrates watercraft to prospective buyers in Virginia. A Demonstrator license does not allow the holder to solicit sales. If the owner of the business demonstrates watercraft, that individual must also acquire a Demonstrator or Salesman License.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days.

In-State Manufacturer License ($75/yr)

A Manufacturer is a person or business engaged in the business of constructing or assembling new watercraft.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Local business license if required by the locality or localities in which you are doing business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Factory Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

In-State Factory Branch License ($75/yr)

A Factory Branch is a branch office, maintained by a person for the sale of watercraft to distributors or for the sale of watercraft to watercraft dealers, or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, its representatives in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Local business license if required by the locality or localities in which you are doing business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Factory Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

In-State Distributor License ($75/yr)

A Distributor is a person or business who sells or distributes new watercraft, pursuant to a written agreement with the manufacturer, to new watercraft dealers in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Local business license if required by the locality or localities in which you are doing business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Distributor Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

In-State Distributor Branch License ($75)

A Distributor Branch is a branch office maintained by a distributor for the sale of watercraft to watercraft dealers or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, its representatives in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Local business license if required by the locality or localities in which you are doing business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Distributor Branch Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a distributor branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

In-State Wholesaler License ($75/yr)

A Wholesaler is a person or business who sells to watercraft dealers or wholesalers other than to consumers or a sale to one who intends to resell.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Local business license as required by the locality or localities in which you are doing business. A copy of this document may be mailed or faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Salesperson License ($15/yr) for each salesperson that sells watercraft in Virginia. A Salesperson license also allows the holder to demonstrate watercraft. If the owner of the business sells watercraft, that individual must have a Salesperson License.
  • Permanent Supplemental License ($25/yr) is required to operate an additional place of business that is more than 25 yards from the primary place of business.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Please note, this section is for Out-of-State Dealers participating in boat shows or similar events, not to exceed fourteen days. If the Out-of-State Dealers are selling watercraft in Virginia for periods exceeding fourteen days, they will need to complete and comply with the same requirements as In-State Dealers.

Watercraft Dealers, Manufacturers, Factory Branches, Distributors, Distributor Branches and Wholesalers who are located outside of Virginia but who wish to participate in boat shows or similar events, not to exceed fourteen days, in Virginia, must register on the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System. There is no charge for the registration. However, once registered, Out-of-State Watercraft Dealers must purchase Temporary Supplemental, Salesperson, Demonstrator, and Representative licenses if needed.

Out-of-State Watercraft Dealer Registration (No Fee)

If the Out-of-State Dealers are selling watercraft in Virginia for a period exceeding 14 days (i.e., boat shows or similar events), they will need to complete and comply with the same requirements as In-State Dealers.

An Out-of-State Watercraft Dealer is a person or business that is not located in Virginia but does one or more of the following activities for less than 14 days:

  • for commission, money or other thing of value, buys, sells, exchanges, or arranges or offers or attempts to solicit or negotiate on behalf of others a sale, purchase or exchange of an interest in, new watercraft or new and used watercraft or used watercraft alone whether or not such watercraft are owned by such person: or
  • is engaged, wholly or in part, in the business of selling new watercraft or new and used watercraft, or used watercraft only, whether or not such watercraft are owned by such person; or
  • sells, offers to sell, displays or permits the display for sale, of two or more watercraft, within any twelve consecutive months.

Documents to be submitted:

  • $5,000 Surety Bond signed by the bond company and by the owner or an officer of the company. Mail the original document to the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff. This document may not be faxed.

Other requirements:

  • Salesperson License ($15/yr) for each salesperson that sells watercraft in Virginia. If the owner of the business sells watercraft, that individual must also acquire a Salesperson License. A Salesperson License also allows the holder to demonstrate watercraft. Individuals that solicit sales by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or dealing with the public in any manner at a Virginia boat show, must be licensed as a Salesperson.
  • Demonstrator License ($15/yr) for each individual that demonstrates watercraft to prospective buyers in Virginia. A Demonstrator License does not allow the holder to solicit sales. If the owner of the business demonstrates watercraft, that individual must also acquire a Demonstrator License.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Out-of-State Manufacturer Registration (No Fee)

An Out-of-State Manufacturer is a person or business not located in Virginia that engages in the business of constructing or assembling new watercraft for distribution or sale in Virginia.

Documents to be submitted:

  • None.

Other Requirements:

  • Factory Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth. Individuals that assist at Virginia boat shows by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or otherwise dealing with the public, must by licensed as a Representative.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Out-of-State Factory Branch Registration (No Fee)

An Out-of-State Factory Branch is a branch office, maintained by a person for the sale of watercraft to distributors or for the sale of watercraft to watercraft dealers, or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, its representatives in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • None.

Other Requirements:

  • Factory Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth. Individuals that assist at Virginia boat shows by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or otherwise dealing with the public, must by licensed as a Representative.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Out-of-State Distributor Registration (No Fee)

An Out-of-State Distributor is a person or business who sells or distributes new watercraft, pursuant to a written agreement with the manufacturer, to new watercraft dealers in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • None.

Other Requirements:

  • Distributor Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a manufacturer or factory branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth. Individuals that assist at Virginia boat shows by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or otherwise dealing with the public, must by licensed as a Representative.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Out-of-State Distributor Branch Registration (No Fee)

An Out-of-State Distributor Branch is a branch office maintained by a distributor for the sale of watercraft to watercraft dealers or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, its representatives in the Commonwealth.

Documents to be submitted:

  • None.

Other Requirements:

  • Distributor Branch Representative License ($15/yr) is required for a person employed by a distributor branch that sells or promotes the sale of its watercraft or supervises or contacts its dealers, prospective dealers, or representatives in the Commonwealth. Individuals that assist at Virginia boat shows by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or otherwise dealing with the public, must by licensed as a Representative.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

Out-of-State Wholesaler Registration (No Fee)

An Out-of-State Wholesaler is a business or person not located in Virginia who sells to watercraft dealers or wholesalers other than to consumers or a sale to one who intends to resell.

Documents to be submitted:

  • $5,000 Surety Bond is required only if the Out-of-State Wholesaler has Salespersons in Virginia. The bond must be signed by the bond company and by the owner or an officer of the wholesale business. Mail the original document to the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff. This document may not be faxed.

Other Requirements:

  • Salesperson License ($15/yr) for each salesperson that sells watercraft in Virginia. If the owner of the business sells watercraft, that individual must have a Salesperson License. A Salesperson license also allows the holder to demonstrate watercraft. Individuals that solicit sales by giving information, quoting prices, handing out brochures or dealing with the public in any manner at a Virginia boat show, must be licensed as a Salesperson.
  • Temporary Supplemental License ($25 each event) is required when displaying and/or selling watercraft at a show. This license is issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days.

The Virginia Watercraft Dealer Licensing Act was established by the 1988 Virginia General Assembly and became effective on January 1, 1989. The Act was amended by the 1997 General Assembly, with the amendments effective on January 1, 1998. The Act requires the businesses described above to be licensed to engage in business in the Commonwealth if they manufacture, distribute, demonstrate, or sell vessels defined as "watercraft." A "watercraft" is defined as any vessel on the water propelled by machinery including gasoline, diesel and electric motors and any sail-powered vessel longer than eighteen (18) feet in length.

Step One: Register on the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System

Each applicant for a Watercraft Dealer, Manufacturer, Factory Branch, Distributor, Distributor Branch, or Wholesaler License must register on the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System. The applicant must enter the business' Federal Identification Number or the social security number of the sole proprietor when registering on the system. After an applicant registers as a user of the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System, the applicant will receive email confirmation of registration with instructions for applying for a license.

All licenses and registrations needed from DGIF must be acquired through the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System except for the Demonstrator Certificate of Number (watercraft registrations) that are needed by in-state Watercraft Dealers and Manufacturers in order to demonstrate a watercraft in the waters of Virginia.

Step Two: Log in and Complete the Application(s)

After receiving confirmation of registration on the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System, the applicant may log into the system as instructed in the confirmation email and complete the applications for the license(s) desired.

Step Three: Mail or Fax the Required Documents

Each license type has specific requirements. The required documents must be received, reviewed, and approved by the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff before a license is issued.

Mail* or fax the required documents to:

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Attention: Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff
4010 West Broad St.
P.O. Box 11104
Richmond, VA 23230-1104
FAX: (804) 367-2966

*Note: some documents must be mailed because an original, signed document is required. Check the license requirements for more information.

Step Four: Check Email

The Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff will be in contact with the applicant through email throughout the application submittal, review, and approval process. It is very important that the applicant check email regularly for reminders and updates in order to expedite the process.

Step Five: Pay For and Print License

After the applicant's license has been approved, the applicant will receive an email instructing him or her to log in to the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System to pay for and print the license. Payment must be made through the secure online payment process using VISA or MasterCard. Once the payment has been authorized, the license can be printed.

Step Six: Provide Feedback

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff with questions, comments, and suggestions regarding the licensing process and the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System.

  • $75.00: In-State Watercraft Dealer, Manufacturer, Factory Branch, Distributor, Distributor Branch and Wholesaler Licenses for each principal place of business (no charge to register for these as an out-of-state business)
  • $25.00: Permanent Supplemental License (for additional permanent location more than 25 yards from principal place of business; available to in-state businesses only)
  • $25.00: Temporary Supplemental License (issued for a period not to exceed fourteen days; required for both in- and out-of-state businesses to display for sale or sell watercraft at a show). There is no annual fee for a Temporary Supplemental license - $25 per event.
  • $15.00: Watercraft Salesperson, Watercraft Demonstrator, Factory Representative, Distributor Representative, or Distributor Branch Representative (available to in- or out-of-state businesses).

Watercraft Dealers who sell watercraft trailers are not required to be licensed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For specific information about how to obtain the necessary licenses and permits, visit the DMV Web page Licensing Trailer Dealers.

Every person licensed as a watercraft dealer under Chapter 8 (§ 29.1-800 et seq.) of Title 29.1 and who offers for sale watercraft trailers, shall obtain a certificate of dealer registration as provided in this chapter, but shall not be required to obtain a dealer license unless he also sells other types of trailers.

Boat Show Checklist (PDF)

Boat Registrations for Demonstrating Watercraft

In-state Watercraft Dealers and Manufacturers must acquire registrations for watercraft that will be demonstrated in the waters of Virginia. These registrations are called the Demonstrator Certificate of Number. The Certificate must be displayed on the watercraft while it is being demonstrated, and it may only be used on one watercraft at a time. The Certificate of Number is not available through the Watercraft Dealer Licensing System. It must be acquired by completing the Certificate of Number form and mailing it to the Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff, at the address indicated in the Contact Us section, with a check or money order for the required payment.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Attention: Watercraft Dealer Licensing Staff
4010 West Broad St.
P.O. Box 11104
Richmond, VA 23230-1104

Phone: (804) 367-1011

FAX: (804) 367-2966

Email: watercraftdealer@dgif.virginia.gov