How Do I Register A Boat In Texas?

So, you’ve finally taken the leap and purchased a beautiful boat to explore the vast waters of Texas. Now comes the exciting yet somewhat daunting part – how to register your new vessel? Well, fret not! In this article, we will guide you through the simple and straightforward process of registering your boat in the great state of Texas. From gathering the necessary documents to navigating the online registration system, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started and have you sailing the Texas waters in no time!

How Do I Register A Boat In Texas?

Eligibility Requirements

To register a boat in Texas, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include providing proof of ownership, identification, residency, and payment of taxes.

Proof of Ownership

To prove that you are the owner of the boat, you will need to provide documentation such as a certificate of title or a bill of sale. This is necessary to establish your legal claim to the vessel.

Proof of Identification

In order to register a boat, you will need to provide proof of your identification. This can be done by submitting a valid driver’s license or another form of government-issued identification.

Proof of Residency

Texas boat registration requires proof of residency in the state. This can be shown by providing a Texas driver’s license or a utility bill with your name and address.

Proof of Payment of Taxes

Before registering your boat, you must provide proof of payment of all applicable taxes. This may include sales tax or other taxes associated with boat ownership.


In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements, you will need to gather the necessary documentation to complete the registration process.

Application Form

To register your boat in Texas, you will need to complete an application form. This form can be downloaded from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website or obtained in person at a local TPWD office.

Proof of Insurance

In order to register your boat, you may need to provide proof of insurance coverage. This is to ensure that the vessel is adequately protected in the event of an accident or other unforeseen circumstances.

Certificate of Title

If you are the original owner of the boat, you will need to provide a certificate of title as proof of ownership. This document will need to be properly signed and notarized.

Bill of Sale

If you purchased the boat from someone else, you will need to provide a bill of sale. This document should include information about the buyer, seller, and details about the boat such as the make, model, and hull identification number.

Previous Registration Documentation

If your boat was previously registered in another state, you will need to provide documentation of the previous registration. This will need to be surrendered and a Texas registration will be issued in its place.

Fees and Taxes

When registering a boat in Texas, there are various fees and taxes that need to be paid.

Registration Fee

The registration fee for a boat in Texas varies depending on the length of the vessel. The fee ranges from $32 to $150.

Boat Decal Fee

In addition to the registration fee, there is also a fee for the issuance of boat decals. This fee is $2 and is required for each set of decals issued.

Sales Tax

If you purchased the boat from a dealer, you will need to pay sales tax at the time of registration. The sales tax rate in Texas is based on the purchase price of the boat.

Application Process

There are several ways to complete the boat registration application process in Texas.

Online Application

One option is to complete the application process online through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. This allows for a convenient and efficient way to register your boat from the comfort of your own home.

Application by Mail

If you prefer to register your boat by mail, you can download and print the application form from the TPWD website. Once completed, you can mail the form along with any required documentation and fees to the designated address.

In-Person Application

Another option is to register your boat in person at a local TPWD office. This allows for face-to-face interaction with TPWD staff who can assist with the registration process and answer any questions you may have.

How Do I Register A Boat In Texas?

Renewal and Expiration

Once you have registered your boat in Texas, it is important to understand the renewal requirements and fees.

Renewal Requirements

Boat registrations in Texas must be renewed every two years. To renew your registration, you will need to provide proof of insurance, if applicable, and pay the required renewal fees.

Renewal Fees

The renewal fee for boat registrations in Texas varies depending on the length of the vessel. The fee ranges from $34 to $200.

Late Renewal Penalties

It is important to renew your boat registration on time to avoid late renewal penalties. If your registration expires, there is a 30-day grace period during which you can still renew without penalties. However, if your registration is not renewed within that grace period, late fees will apply.

Boat Expiration Dates

Boat registrations in Texas expire on the last day of the owner’s birth month. It is important to note this expiration date to ensure timely renewal and avoid any penalties.

Boat Titles

When registering a boat in Texas, it is important to understand the rules and requirements regarding boat titles.

Title Transfer

If you are purchasing a boat from someone else, you will need to transfer the title into your name. This can be done by completing the appropriate paperwork and paying any required fees. The seller will need to provide a signed and notarized title to initiate the transfer.

Duplicate Title

If you have misplaced or lost the title to your boat, you can request a duplicate title from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This can be done either online, by mail, or in person by completing the required application and paying the associated fee.

Out-of-State Titles

If your boat is registered in another state and you plan to bring it to Texas, you will need to transfer the out-of-state title to a Texas title. This can be done by completing the appropriate paperwork and paying any required fees.

How Do I Register A Boat In Texas?

Boat Registration Numbers

When registering a boat in Texas, you will be issued registration numbers that must be displayed on the vessel.

Number Requirements

Boat registration numbers in Texas must be permanently affixed to both sides of the forward half of the vessel. The numbers must be in block letters at least three inches tall and contrasting in color to the background.

Placement Guidelines

The registration numbers should be placed so that they are easily visible and readable from a distance. They should be positioned on the hull or superstructure where they are not likely to be altered, removed, or covered.

Decal Display

In addition to the registration numbers, you will be issued boat decals that indicate the current registration period. These decals must be properly displayed on both sides of the vessel, four inches from and in line with the registration numbers.

Texas Boater Education

In Texas, boater education is required for certain operators.

Education Requirement

All operators born on or after September 1, 1993, are required to complete a boater education course approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This requirement applies to both motorized and sail-powered vessels.

Approved Courses

There are several approved boater education courses available in Texas. These courses can be taken online or in-person and cover important topics such as navigation rules, waterway signage, and safe boating practices.


There are certain exemptions to the boater education requirement. For example, individuals who are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel are exempt from the education requirement. Additionally, individuals who operate vessels solely on private property are also exempt.

Online Course Options

For those who need to complete the boater education course, there are several online options available. These courses allow you to complete the education requirement at your own pace and convenience.

Boating Safety Requirements

When operating a boat in Texas, it is important to comply with various safety requirements to ensure the well-being of yourself and others on the water.

Life Jackets

Every person on board a boat must have a properly fitting and U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket readily accessible. Children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway.

Fire Extinguishers

Boats that have enclosed fuel compartments, enclosed engine compartments, or permanently installed fuel tanks are required to have a fire extinguisher on board. The extinguisher must be in good and serviceable condition.

Navigational Lights

Boats operating between sunset and sunrise, or in conditions of reduced visibility, must have the appropriate navigational lights. These lights help to ensure the vessel is visible to other boaters and aids in preventing collisions.

Sound Producing Devices

All boats are required to carry a sound producing device such as a horn or whistle. This device is used to provide audible warning signals in situations where a visual signal may not be effective.

Vessel Safety Check

It is recommended to conduct a vessel safety check to ensure compliance with all required safety equipment. Vessel safety checks can be conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadrons and help to ensure that your boat is equipped with all necessary safety gear.

Boating Regulations and Restrictions

When boating in Texas, it is important to be aware of and adhere to various regulations and restrictions.

Boating Speed Limits

Boaters must adhere to the speed limits established for specific areas of water. These speed limits are in place to ensure the safety of all boaters and protect sensitive habitats.

Operating While Intoxicated

Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Texas. Boaters who are found to be operating while intoxicated can face serious penalties, including fines and the suspension of their boating privileges.

Boating Accidents

If you are involved in a boating accident in Texas, it is important to report the incident to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This helps to ensure that proper investigations can be conducted and any necessary actions can be taken.

Environmental Protection

Boaters are responsible for protecting the environment while on the water. This includes properly disposing of trash, avoiding fuel spills, and respecting wildlife and their habitats.

In conclusion, registering a boat in Texas involves meeting eligibility requirements, gathering required documentation, paying fees and taxes, and adhering to various boating regulations. By following the outlined processes and guidelines, you can enjoy boating in Texas while ensuring compliance with the law and promoting safety on the water.

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Written by saltyboatingADM

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