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Boat Title, Registration, and Renewal

To navigate, operate, employ, or moor your vessel in Washington, you must have a Washington title, registration card, and registration decals, except:

  • If your vessel is a canoe, kayak, or a vessel not propelled by a motor or sail.
  • If your vessel is less than 16 feet in length and has a motor of 10 horsepower or less and is used on non-federal waters only.
  • If your vessel is properly registered by a resident of another state or country who uses Washington waters for 60 days or fewer.

The registration card (the cutout portion of the Vessel Registration Certificate) must be onboard whenever you use your vessel.

Title and Registration Rules
Sailboat with colorful sail All vessels that require registration must be titled through the Washington State Department of Licensing.

How to Apply for Registration or Title
Visit the Washington State Department of Licensing boat registration page.

Boaters must title and register their vessels within 60 days of moving to Washington.

If you live in Washington and bought the boat in another state, you must title and register your vessel within 15 days of its purchase. Visit the Washington Department of Licensing Web site for specific requirements related to applications, fees, and more.

Other Facts about Titling and Registration

Notification Rules
The owner of a registered vessel must notify the Washington State Department of Licensing within 15 days of the following events by calling the service center at (360) 902-3770; TTY (360) 664-8885:
(1)  Vessel’s abandonment, destruction, loss, theft, or recovery
(2)  Owner’s address change
(3)  Loss of registration card

U.S. Coast Guard Documentation
Larger recreational vessels owned by U.S. citizens may (at the option of the owner) be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. Call the Coast Guard at 1-800-799-8362 for more information. Documented vessels also must be registered in Washington but are not required to display the registration number.

Required Carbon Monoxide Warning Sticker
By law, any new or used motor vessel, other than a Jet Ski type personal watercraft, must display a carbon monoxide warning sticker that alerts passengers of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Use the “Washington State CO” warning sticker or a Department of Licensing-approved sticker previously installed in another state or by the manufacturer. If you don’t receive a sticker when you renew or register, contact your local vehicle licensing office.

Download the carbon monoxide informational brochure, Boating and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide.

Boaters Visiting Washington State
Boaters visiting Washington may recreate on state waters for up to 60 days without a permit as long as the vessel is registered in another state or has current U.S. Coast Guard documentation. If you plan to be on Washington waters longer, apply for a permit on or before the 60th day of your visit. To get a permit, visit any vehicle licensing office and bring your unexpired State vessel registration and identification from your state. You may renew the permit once for an additional 60 days. When the renewed permit expires, you must either register your boat in Washington or remove your boat from Washington waters.