Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Where Do I Register My Boat In Massachusetts

Selling/buying A Used Boat: What Documents Do I Give The Buyer/receive From The Seller

Boat Registration Basics

The documents that will later be used to transfer or register a boat in Georgia from a private sale may vary, depending if the boat is already registered in Georgia, if the boat has a paper title issued, if the boat has been reported sold, and if the seller is the owner of record in the Georgia registration system. There are many possible scenarios, but these below are the most common.

A Bill of Sale for a boat must have adequate information to positively link the BOS to the boat.

What Is A Documented Vessel In The Us

Many responsibilities are involved when you enter into boat ownership. You have the financial aspect of ownership that you need to live up to, but you are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep, the safety and security, and understanding what you must do to keep the vessel at its best. One aspect you do not want to neglect involves the registration of your boat. While registering your ship with the state that you live in is undoubtedly an option for you, you do have another choice you can make. Opting for Coast Guard documentation is another way you can go. If you are wondering what is a documented vessel in the U.S.? we at the would be happy to explain why it may be beneficial or necessary for you.

Where Are Massachusetts Boats Registered

Remember, some states have titling for boats and others do not. Massachusetts issues both registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the MA STATE Boat and Recreation Vehicle Registration and Titling Bureau in Boston. It is part of the Massachusetts Environmental Police. This state does not issue titles or registrations for outboard motors but note that Boat trailer registration and titling would be mandatory for those weighing over 3,000 lbs.

Did you know that 130,000 boats are registered in the State of Massachusetts and make up 1.1% of all USA vessel registrations?

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What Is Needed To Register A Boat In Massachusetts

A: In Massachusetts, initial registration and titling is done by filling out the departments registration application at any of five Registration offices. The boat owner must submit proof of ownership, a bill of sale, proof of payment of Massachusetts sales tax, and the appropriate registration and/or title fees.

Do you have to register a inflatable boat with a trolling motor?

Non-motorized canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, or rubber rafts when paddled, poled, or oared and sailboats under 14 feet in length when windblown. Adding an outboard or trolling motor to one of these types requires titling and registration.

The Role Of The Documentation Center

Massachusetts Charity Car Donation

The Documentation Center is a department of the U.S Coast Guard and part of the larger Department of Homeland Security. This agency is responsible for registering and tracking all commercial vessels registered in the United States and any large pleasure craft that has opted for documentation. The center takes care of maintaining an accurate register of vessels, and they take care of all new registration, renewals, replacing lost certificates, and the like. The department also maintains the database of registered vessels so that owners and potential owners can get information on a ship regarding liens, mortgages and other vital information.

When you become a boat owner and decide you would like a Certificate of Documentation for your boat, going through the U.S. Vessel Documentation Center becomes a necessity for you. You will need to fill out the appropriate forms as the owner of the boat, providing personal information and information about your vessel, along with any associated fees for registration. The process can seem confusing when doing it for the first time, and you want to be careful not to make mistakes that could delay your registration.

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Q: I Purchased My Boat From A Car Dealer

A: Car dealers that are not registered boat dealers must first title the boat in the car dealer’s name before legally selling the boat. The car dealer must also pay a sales tax to the Department of Revenue before titling the boat. Once the car dealer has applied for and received the title from the state, the sale can be made.

Boat Safely & Competently

With your new boat comes a lot of fun, adventure and responsibility. Most states require anyone skippering a boat to complete a boating safety course, and there are many groups that offer courses that meet state requirements. The BoatUS Foundation offers online state-recognized courses in 36 states for free. Additional courses on a wide variety of boating topics are also available.

Youll also need to learn how to properly handle your boat. BoatUS Magazine offers a comprehensive library of boat handling and seamanship videos and articles. Visit to search the archives. Prefer hands-on training? Search for a nearby BoatUS Foundation On-Water Training course, taught by Coast Guard-licensed captains.

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Massachusetts Kayaking Education Laws

Do you need a license to kayak in Massachusetts? You do not need a license to operate a kayak or canoe in Massachusetts. Kayaks and canoes with no attached motor do not require operator licensing or education.

Do you need a license to operate a motorized kayak in Massachusetts? Youth who are between 12 and 15 years of age must complete an approved basic boating course in order to operate a motorboat without adult supervision. Upon successful completion students are issued a state boating safety certificate which must be in the possession of the certified operator when underway.

Can You Register A Boat In Massachusetts Without A Title


Q: I havent registered or titled my boat before. The boat owner must submit proof of ownership, a bill of sale, proof of payment of Massachusetts sales tax, and the appropriate registration and/or title fees. For new boats, an original manufacturers statement of origin must be provided as proof of ownership.

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Ma Boats Requiring Title & Registration

You’re required to registerALL motorized boats used on Massachusetts’ public waters, with the following exceptions:

  • Vessels currently registered in another state that will be used in Massachusetts for no more than 60 days.
  • Watercraft without a motor.
  • Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Additionally, you must title vessels measuring 14 ft or more that are designed to be motorized. This includes all boats with motors AND those with the equipment necessary to attach a motor. You are also required to pay your sales or use tax of 6.25% by the 20th day of the month following your boat purchase.

Vessels exempt from the titling requirements include:

  • Watercraft owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
  • Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Dealers’ boats used only for promotional demonstrations.
  • Vessels registered in another state being used on MA waters for up to 60 days.

If you’re not sure whether your boat qualifies for titling and/or registration, call the Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau at 626-1610.

Other Boat Titling Info

If you sell a titled boat must complete the transfer section on the back of the title before providing the title to the buyer. To complete the transfer, the buyer must take the title to a title office.

Be aware that some boats that require titling may not have required a title at their time of purchase. However, before selling a used boat, the boat owner must obtain a title from a title office, if a title is now required for the type of boat.

These boat types include:

  • Boats or outboard engines that were acquired before January 1, 1964.
  • Boats under 14 feet in length with a permanently attached, mechanical engine of 10 horsepower or greater and purchased on or before January 1, 2000.

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Do I Need To Register My Inflatable Boat In Massachusetts

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Does a inflatable boat need to be registered?

Technically, yes. However, some states do not require inflatable boats to be registered or to bear registration numbers. Policies and rules vary in each state, so its best to check the laws concerning boat registration in the state that you live in to know if you need to register your inflatable watercraft.

Do boats need to be registered?Registeringboatneed to be registered


General Information About Numbers

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We’ll guide you through the process of creating Massachusetts boat numbers when you click design now. Each state has specific verbiage as to their requirements. See the Massachusetts specific section below. The general requirements for boat registrations numbers are as follows:

  • A minimum of 3″ letter height
  • A block style font such as
  • Generally located on the forward hull portion of the boat next to the DNR tag
  • A contrasting color to base color of your boat.
  • Letters separated by a space or a dash

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Q: What Is So Important About The Hull Identification Number

A: All Massachusetts boats must have an approved Hull Identification Number in order to be registered and/or titled. The HIN is unique to each boat, which allows the full history of the vessel to be traced from the manufacturer forward. The HIN is designed so that tampering will cause clear and permanent damage to the boat’s hull, so it is critical in all stolen boat investigations. A vessel shall not operate on the State’s waters unless the vessel displays the assigned HIN affixed by the manufacturer as required by the US Coast Guard, pursuant to Title 33 CFR, Part 181, Subpart C – manufacturer requirements, but OLE may issue HIN’s for homemade boats and any manufactured vessel that does not have an assigned HIN. The number contains at least 12 characters and is permanently mounted or engraved on the upper right corner of the transom. Federal regulations require that the number is also placed in a second location which varies by manufacturer and model. If applicable, at the time of registration, your boat will be assigned a HIN . You will be given instructions on how to place this HIN on your boat. You must provide proof, to the registration office, of the HIN placement on your boat before you will receive your registration card and decal.

How Do I Know If My Boat Needs To Be Registered

When you own and operate a boat in any Canadian province, youll likely need to licence it. Most boats that youll find yourself operating are considered pleasure crafts in Canada, which means that theyre used for simply thatpleasure! If youre spending your time going back and forth to the cottage, sightseeing or leisurely fishing, youre probably operating a pleasure craft. If your pleasure craft has a motor of 7.5 kW or more, youll need to license it.

In Canada, boat registration is most likely not something youll need to deal with. Registration is required for commercial vessels, government-owned vessels, barges, commercial river rafts, vessels with a marine mortgage and vessels traveling outside of Canada, while pleasure crafts are just required to be licenced.

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Updating Your Contact Information

It is important the department has your updated address on file so you receive registration renewal notices and other registration materials sent by the Department. State law requires boat owners to notify the department within 15 days after moving. )

To update your contact information you can log into your DNR GoWILD customer account. After logging in, you will be asked to verify or edit your address and contact information.

If you have difficulties accessing your DNR GoWILD account, you may also . We ask that you include your customer ID number , first and last name, date of birth, old address, new address, phone number and email address.

Where Do I Get Boat Registration Numbers

Do I need to register my boat? –

Ask for a listing of all vehicles and vessels listed under that name. If you dont have the persons name, but you can view the boat, look for the boats registration ID number. It will be printed or painted on the rear or side of the boat. The registration ID will also indicate the state of registration.

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Renew & Replace Ma Registration & Title

Vessel registrations in Massachusetts are valid for 2 years. The Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau will mail you a renewal notice about 1 month before your expiration date.

You can renew your boat registration by providing details about your vessel AND the applicable renewal fees:

  • Online: Use the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s renewal portal.
  • : Use the pre-addressed envelope included with your renewal notice.
  • In person: Visit a regional registration office with your current registration.

Other Facts About Titling And Registering Your Vessel

Here are some additional facts about titling and registering your motorboat in Massachusetts.

  • A Certificate of Number is valid for two years from the date it is issued. Owners of vessels that have already been registered will be sent a renewal notice to their residence at least one month prior to the expiration of their current registration.
  • All vessels 14 feet or greater in length that require registration also must be titled. The title application must be made to the Massachusetts Environmental Police within 20 days of purchasing a vessel. The title certificate is valid for the life of the vessel or until the vessel is sold or otherwise transferred, at which time the new owner must transfer the title.
  • The Massachusetts Environmental Police must be notified within 15 days of any of these events:
  • The sale, trade, or transfer of ownership of a registered vessel
  • The abandonment, destruction, loss, or theft of a registered vessel
  • The change of address of the owner of a registered vessel
  • The destruction or loss of a Certificate of Number or validation decal
  • Boat trailers are registered and titled under the same requirements as passenger cars. Application is made through the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
  • Larger recreational vessels owned by U.S. citizens may be documented by the USCG. Call the USCG at 1-800-799-8362 for more information. Documented vessels are exempt from Massachusetts registration and titling requirements.
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    Massachusetts Boat Registration Numbers

    Massachusetts boat registration numbers begin with a MS. The MS designation is followed by four numbers and then two letters like in most states. You will have to display these as shown above if your boat is non-documented at the USCG. Put the MS boat registration sticker tab next to it. The state reg. number should not be confused with the 12 character Hull ID .

    Titles are issued on all registered boats over 14 in Massachusetts, except for those which are Coast Guard Documented. Massachusetts does not have provisions for bonded boat titles or conditional boat registrations where sufficient proof of ownership is not available. These situations are handled on a case-by-case basis through the Boat Registration Bureau. Massachusetts has defined procedures for titling abandoned boats

    All boats manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters MSZ are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Hull number inspections are not required in Massachusetts unless there is a discrepancy.

    Is Your Boat Documented And Should She Be

    Massachusetts Sales Tax

    Date Posted: 2021-02-22: Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region

    This column is part of a partnership between Waterway Guide Media and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Commodore Vincent Pica, First District, Southern Region United States Coast Guard Auxiliary provides our readers with his valuable insights on a regular basis.

    All of us are familiar with registering our vessels with the State Department of Motor Vehicles. Like a car, DMV wants to know her horse-power, fuel type and the Hull Identification Number, or HIN#. This is the on-the-water equivalent of a cars VIN#.

    You are required to display on each side of the bow the state registration numbers, followed by the expiration sticker itself. But is your boat eligible for documenting with the USCG and, if so, should you? This is what this column is about.

    Whither the HIN?

    The HIN is the unique 12-digit identification number of the vessel. It is emblazoned on the starboard side of the transom and it is, as you would expect, illegal to alter it, paint over it, obscure it or in any way make it seem like youre trying to make it look like a different HIN#! This number indicates the boat manufacturer, its serial number, and the month and year of production.

    This one item is of critical importance during any vessel safety check or exam. If the HIN# on your State registration doesnt conform to the vessels physical HIN#, you would be required to resolve that immediately.

    So Why Document the Vessel?

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    How To Register A Boat

    So you’ve finally purchased the boat of your dreams. Now, what’s the next step? A good place to start is with boat registration. Registering a boat is required by lawmuch like with a carand the rules and guidelines for how this process is done and what kind of watercraft must be registered are dictated by the state in which the vessel will regularly operate .

    Here’s the basic steps to follow when registering a boat:

  • Research the boat registration requirements in your state.
  • Complete a registration formeither online, through the mail, or in person.
  • Provide proof of ownershipincluding a title and/or bill of sale.
  • Pay the registration fee, which varies by state and the size of the vessel.
  • Be conscious of the expiration date and apply for renewal.
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