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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Kent

Navigating Boat Registration in Florida

Updated: Mar 6

Congratulations on acquiring the boat of your dreams! Now, let's delve into the essential process of boat registration. Just like with cars, registering your boat is a legal requirement in Florida, and understanding the guidelines is crucial for smooth sailing. This information had been obtained from https://www.flhsmv.gov/motor-vehicles-tags-titles/vessels/vessel-titling-registrations/


Steps for Boat Registration:


  1. Research Requirements: Get acquainted with Florida's boat registration regulations. Each state has its own rules, so it's crucial to know what's required in Florida.

  2. Complete the Registration Form: Fill out the registration form accurately and thoroughly, whether online, through mail, or in person.

  3. Provide Proof of Ownership: Gather documents like the title and/or bill of sale to prove ownership of the vessel.

  4. Pay the Registration Fee: The fee varies based on the vessel's size and state regulations. Timely payment is essential to avoid penalties.

  5. Renewal Awareness: Keep track of the registration expiration date and apply for renewal promptly to comply with Florida's boating laws.


Online Boat Registration:

Visit the dedicated Boat Registration page on Discover Boating's website to initiate the registration process conveniently online. Alternatively, register your boat through the Department of Motor Vehicles or other relevant state departments.


Boat Registration Requirements:

In Florida, all motorized vessels operating on public waterways must be titled and registered. However, exemptions exist for specific scenarios, such as vessels operated exclusively on private lakes and ponds or owned by certain entities.


Titling and Registration Process:

Purchasers have 30 days to title and register a new or used vessel. To issue a Florida Certificate of Title, bring the appropriate titling fee and necessary documents to a county tax collector or license plate agent office.


Vessel Titling Fees:

Fees for titling a vessel in Florida include a base titling fee, additional fees for existing liens, and a titling fee for vessels previously registered outside the state.


Applying for Vessel Registration:

Submit a registration application with proof of ownership to the county tax collector or license plate agent. If the vessel requires titling, it must be titled before registration.


Vessel Registration Fees:

Registration fees in Florida are based on vessel classification and length. Reduced fees apply to vessels equipped with certain safety equipment like Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).


Sales Tax:

If sales tax hasn't been paid at the time of registration, it must be paid along with registration and titling fees. Receipts for paid sales tax are necessary for processing registration and titling.


Homemade Vessels:

Homemade vessels require initial application for title and registration at the county tax collector or license plate agent office. Physical inspection by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is necessary for vessels over 16 feet in length.


Abandoned Vessels:

Florida law mandates reporting abandoned vessels to law enforcement for proper investigation and potential transfer of ownership. Ownership of abandoned vessels without proper title transfer is considered theft and is punishable by law.


For more detailed information, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's website.




Disclaimer: The information provided here serves as a general guide for boat registration in Florida and may not cover all specific situations or legal requirements. It is advisable to consult with relevant state authorities or legal professionals for precise guidance tailored to your individual circumstances.

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