Do Outboard Motors have Titles?

Last Updated on October 1, 2022

Some regulations bind the use of outboard motors; while these regulations may differ with states and countries, one of such regulations covers titling your outboard motors.

An outboard motor is the internal combustion engine that mounts at the stem of a small boat, and while it may be general knowledge that you need titles for your boat, does an outboard motor require the same? Well, based on regulation, yes, outboard motors should have titles.

Do you find that amusing? I mean, why does the motor of a boat need a title?

It’s not rocket science that an outboard motor is that very thing that gets your boat to function. Without it, your boat is simply a finely designed piece of wood. So, it begs the question of what use is a branded phone covering without its major hardware encased in it? You must think of boats and their motors (particularly outboard motors) like that.

Now, before you jump the gun, don’t forget I had earlier noted that titling your outboard motor comes under a certain regulation that differs with states.

Many states don’t require you to title your outboard motor but some do, and even for states that require you to title your outboard motors, their requirements and documents you will need to present also differ.

So, it becomes expedient that having read through this piece, you do a little bit of research on the requirements of your state.

Now, let’s consider some issues regarding outboard motors and this fuss about titling them.

Why Do You Need to Title Your Outboard Motor?

Shall I begin by asking why should you title anything? The fundamental reason for titling anything is to show ownership. So, proof of owning the outboard motor is the title on it. Without a title, the claim to an outboard motor is nothing more than a mere claim; one that cannot be substantiated; hence, liable to “he said – I said.” That is, anyone can argue that the motor is theirs. Now, while that may sound far fetched, it’s not utterly impossible. You can save yourself such trouble by simply titling your outboard motor.

Without a title, selling your outboard motor might pose some challenges. How can the buyer ascertain it’s not a stolen motor? Outboard motors transactions are easier when they have titles; there’s more trust and less worry amongst the business parties.

Nevertheless, if you’re not in a state that requires you to title your outboard motor, perhaps you don’t need to title it at all because titling your outboard motor comes with its stress. The play is different for someone who lives in a state that requires titling of outboard motors because when you don’t do that, you may run into some legal issues; you’ve flouted a state’s regulation after all. You may need to pay the fine of negligence to coast guards when you run into them or when they are available for inspection.

The USA States that Require Titling an Outboard Motor

Below is the list of 8 states in the USA that require titling of your outboard motors. If there are 50 states in the USA, it means 42 states don’t demand that you title your outboard motor.

●      Utah

Requirement: Title is required for an outboard motor with 25 hp or more, and registrations expire annually; that is a year to the date you first registered it.

●      Louisiana

Requirement: Title is required for an outboard motor with 25 hp or more. The state of Louisiana concerns less about the motor’s title situation in another state; that is, whether the outboard motor has been titled in another state or not, you would still have to title it. Whether it’s a homemade motor or one with an incorrect identification number – all of these issues are flimsy. In Louisiana, register the title before asking questions.

Also, you have a window of 60 days to renew your registration after its expiration. Visit for further information.

●      Texas

Requirement: Title is required for all outboard motors, and unlike some other states, the registration must be renewed 90 days before expiration. Note: the renewal is before expiration. It is expected that the title is in your name. If your motor was out-of-state registered, you’re allowed to operate the motor on Texas’ water for 90 days.

●      Mississippi

Requirement: Title for an outboard motor is optional. You’re not particularly mandated to title your motor.

●      Oklahoma

Requirement: Title is required for an outboard motor with 10 hp or more. You must title and register your outboard motor within 30 days of purchase. Unlike in Louisiana, motors registered in another state are allowed to sail Oklahoma waters but not for more than 60 days. if you will be spending more than 60 days in Oklahoma, then you’re mandated to title and register it.

Visit for more information.

●      Ohio

Requirement: Title is required for an outboard motor with 10 hp or more. Like in Oklahoma, outboard motors titled and registered in another state are allowed to sail Ohio waters but not for more than 60 calendar days.

The only plausible exemption for titling your outboard motor in Ohio is if it’s not permanently attached to a boat, which must be less than 14 feet in length.

●      South Carolina

Requirement: Title is required for an outboard motor with 5 hp or more. Upon purchase, the state permits use for 60 days; this is also applicable to expired registrations and out-of-state titled outboard motors.

Visit for more information.

●      Missouri

Requirement: Title is required for all outboard motors. The state of Missouri doesn’t joke around. From the day of purchase of your outboard motor, if you can’t execute proper titling and registration, you are allowed to purchase a temporary permit to operate the motor for 30 days. Now, before you get ahead of yourself, you should know that a temporary permit is not renewable; so, you’ll need to eventually title and register your outboard motor.

Visit the state’s department of revenue’s website for more information.


In essence, whether your outboard motor requires a title is dependent on the state of residence or sail. However, if you’re in a state that requires titling, ensure you do so. In that case, you must keep your registration certificate aboard all the time; an easily accessible waterproof container should be a perfect place to keep such delicate documents.