California Boat Registration
All motorized vessels in California are required to be registered. After you register the vessel you will get a valid Certificate of Number, a Certificate of Ownership and registration decals.
The following vessels are exempt from registration:
- Boats propelled manually.
- Sailboats eight feet or less in length propelled solely by sail.
- Documented vessels.
- Foreign vessels.
- US vessels from other states remaining in California less than 90 consecutive days.
- You can obtain boat and trailer registrations at any office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMW).
- The Certificate of number must be readily available for inspection by a law enforcement officer at all times while underway. It is valid for two years.
- The Certificate of Ownership is your evidence of title to the vessel. We recommend that you keep your certificate in a sealable plastic bag in a dry place.
- On the reverse side of the Certificate of Ownership you will find the application for transfer of ownership.
Your registration decals and registration numbers must be displayed:
You may document larger vessels which meet Coast Guard guidelines. Documentation is a form of national registration and is useful for boats taken into international waters or other countries. Call USCG at 1-800-799-8362 for more information.