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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
Photo All vessels that require registration must be titled through the Washington State Department of Licensing.

How to Apply for Registration or Title
To title or register your vessel, fill out a title application (link on right) but don't sign it. Bring the application and the following information to your licensing agent (list of offices are on the right):

  • Model year and make.
  • Purchase price and purchase year.
  • Overall length (http://www.boat-ed.com/washington/handbook/book.html#page4)
  • Hull identification number, if any.
  • U.S. Coast Guard document number, if any.
    Note: If vessel is documented by U.S. Coast Guard, a copy of documentation papers is required. Owners who appear on Certificate of Documentation must be present to sign vessel application.
  • Ownership documents: Out-of-state titles or registration certificates*, Washington state certificate of title; or if vessel has not been titled and registered before and was purchased new as of July 1, 1985, the original manufacturer’s Statement of Origin.
  • *If your boat was purchased in a state that only requires registration, then this is the ownership document required to register and title your boat in Washington

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 sticker that warns 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 or call (360) 902-3812, telephone device for the deaf, (360) 664-8885.

For more information or questions related to the warning sticker, call (360) 902-3770, option 5. The TDD or TTY phone number is (360) 664-8885. Download the carbon monoxide informational brochure, Boating and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide, http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/docs/CObrochure.pdf.

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 (https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/vehoffices) 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.


bullet How to Register Your Boat

bullet Where to Register Your Boat

bullet Where to Place Registration Decals

bullet Registration Fees

bullet Get a Vessel Title Application

bullet Renewing Your Registration

bullet Selling Your Boat

bullet Buying a Boat

bullet State by State Registration Requirements

bullet Required Carbon Monoxide Warning Sticker

bullet Find Places to Go Boating

bullet Get Weather and Tide Information

bullet Get Your Fishing License

bullet Where to Go Fishing

bullet Boating Education

bullet Boating Laws

bullet Moorage Information