How to Register a Boat in California?

Last Updated on October 1, 2022

If you live in California and own a boat, it’s important to know how to register it with the state. The process of registering a boat in California can be completed either through the mail or in person. 

If you choose to register your boat through the mail, you will need to complete and send in the Vessel Registration Application form, along with payment for the fee. If you choose to register your boat in person, you can visit any of the 14 regional offices located throughout the state.

This article will walk you through the process of registering your boat in California, including what documents and fees are required. Learning how to properly register your boat is critical for keeping yourself and others safe on the water.

California Boat Registration Basics

  • Find the nearest California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. You can find your nearest DMV office by visiting the California DMV website.
  • Bring the following items to the DMV office:  
  1. The completed Application for Certificate of Ownership (BOAT REG 156). This form is available at the DMV office or online.
  2.  The original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin or an out-of-state registration if transferring ownership from another state.
  • If you are registering a used boat, you will need to provide a bill of sale.
  • The bill of sale must include the seller’s name, address, and signature as well as the buyer’s name and address.
  • Payment for fees. The fee for registering a boat is $21 plus a $5 processing fee.
  • Additional fees may apply if you are also registering your vessel with the US Coast Guard.

Dmv Vessel Registration

If you’re a boat owner in the United States, you’ll need to register your vessel with the DMV in order to legally operate it. The process of registering your boat with the DMV may vary slightly from state to state. But there are some general steps that you’ll need to follow in order to complete the registration. 

First, you’ll need to find out if your state requires boats to be registered. Some states do not require boat registration if the vessel is used exclusively on private property or if it’s less than a certain length. 

You can check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or boating agency for more information about boat registration requirements in your specific area. 

Once you’ve determined that your state does require boat registration, you’ll need to gather the necessary paperwork. This will usually include an application form and any supporting documentation such as proof of ownership and a bill of sale. 

You may also be required to submit a safety certification if your vessel is over a certain length or horsepower. After completing the paperwork, you’ll simply need to submit it along with the appropriate fee to your local DMV office or boating agency.

Once everything has been processed, you should receive your vessel’s registration certificate and decals which must be displayed on the boat in accordance with state law. 

That’s all there is to it! Registering your boat may seem like a hassle, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. And once everything is said and done, you can rest assured knowing that you’re operating your vessel legally and safely on US waters.

How Can I Register a Boat Without a Title in California?

If you’ve recently purchased a boat without a title in California, you may be wondering how to go about registering it. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and can be done entirely online. 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. First, obtain a bill of sale from the previous owner. This should include all relevant information about the vessel, including its make, model, hull identification number (HIN), and purchase price. 

2. Next, head over to the California DMV website and begin the registration process. You’ll need to create an account and log in before proceeding. 

3. Once you’re logged in, select “Vessels” from the main menu and then click on “Register A Vessel Without A Title.” 

4. On the next page, enter all of the required information about your boat and yourself. Be sure to upload a copy of the bill of sale when prompted. 

5. Once the boat has been registered, you will be issued a certificate of registration, which must be kept on board at all times.

With a little bit of effort, you can easily register a boat without a title in California.

Boat Registration Online

If you’re looking to register your boat, you can now do so online! The process is simple and easy and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Here’s everything you need to know about boat registration online.

To get started, you’ll need to gather some information about your boat. You’ll need the make, model, hull identification number (HIN), length, and width of your vessel. You’ll also need to provide proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale or registration certificate from a previous state.

Once you have all of this information gathered, you’re ready to begin the registration process. The first step is creating an account on the website of your chosen state’s boating agency. 

From there, you’ll enter all of the required information about your boat and yourself. You’ll also be asked to select a username and password for future login purposes. 

Once everything is entered correctly, you’ll be able to submit payment for your registration fee online. After that, simply print out your new registration certificate and keep it onboard whenever you take your boat out on the water!

Boat Registration Lookup California

Boat registration in California is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To register your boat, you’ll need to fill out a BOAT REGISTRATION APPLICATION and submit it to the DMV along with the following: 

  • Proof of ownership (bill of sale or previous registration).
  • Payment for registration fees ($35 for boats less than 16 feet long; $100 for boats 16 feet or longer).
  • A completed Vessel Transfer Notification form if you’re transferring ownership of the boat Once your application is processed, you’ll receive a Certificate of Number and validation decals for your boat.

You must display these on your vessel in order to operate it legally in California waters.

How to Register a Boat in California?

What is Needed to Register a Boat in Ca?

To register a boat in California, you will need to provide the following: 

1. The completed application form. 

2. The registration fee of $35.

3. A valid Certificate of Number from another state if the vessel is currently registered in another state and you are moving to California permanently. The certificate must be surrendered to the DMV when registering the vessel in California. 

If you are not moving to California permanently, you may keep your out-of-state registration and just pay the use tax on the vessel when bringing it into California waters for more than 60 consecutive days.

4. If applicable, a properly assigned Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) or Certificate of Hull Identification Number (HIN). 

What is the Penalty for Not Registering a Boat in California?

If you don’t register your boat in California, you may be subject to a number of penalties. The most common penalty is a fine of up to $100. You may also be required to register your boat within 30 days of being cited.

How Do I Register a Boat in California Without a Title?

It is possible to register a boat in California without a title, but the process is slightly different. In order to do so, you must submit a completed application for registration and titling, a Certificate of Ownership (if applicable), and an Affidavit of Non-ownership of Vessel Hull Identification Number (HIN). 

The HIN must be affixed to the vessel prior to submitting the paperwork. If you have any questions about registering your boat without a title, please contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-777-0133.

Do I Have to Register My Boat Trailer in California?

If you’re like most boaters, you love spending time on the water. But when it comes to boat registration, things can get a little murky. Do you need to register your boat trailer in California?

The answer is it depends. Here’s what you need to know about registering your boat trailer in California: If your trailer is used for carrying a vessel that is propelled by motor or sail, then the answer is yes, you will need to register your boat trailer with the DMV.

This includes both powerboats and sailboats. However, if your trailer is only used for carrying an unpowered vessel (such as a kayak or canoe), then you are not required to register it with the DMV. You will still need to ensure that your trailer meets all other legal requirements, such as having proper brakes and lights.

So there you have it! Whether or not you need to register your boat trailer in California depends on how you plan on using it. Be sure to check with the DMV for specific requirements in your area before hitting the open road – and always practice safe boating!


In order to register a boat in California, you will need to provide the California Department of Motor Vehicles with the vessel’s Certificate of Documentation, a completed Application for Registration and Title (BOAT 101), and the required fees. You may also be required to submit additional documentation, such as a bill of sale or proof of ownership.