Just bought a boat? What Do I Need To Register a Used Boat In Florida?

All motorized boats operated in any public waterway under power in the state of Florida must be registered. This includes electric trolling motors even small horsepower gas motors as well. A new purchaser has 30 days to register and title the boat. The owner must have proof of purchase aboard the vessel if being used on public waterways.

Exemptions from Titling:

  • Vessels operated, used and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds.
  • Vessels owned by the U.S. Government, the State of Florida or its political subdivisions.
  • Non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length.
  • Federally documented vessels.
  • A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which was awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel is not located in this state for a period of more than 90 consecutive days.
  • Vessels from a country other than the United States temporarily used, operated or stored on the waters of this state for a period that is not more than 90 days.
  • Amphibious vessels which have been issued a vehicle title by FLHSMV.
  • Vessels used only for demonstration, testing or sales promotional purposes by a manufacturer or dealer.

What to Bring to The Tax Collector or License Plate Agent:

Vessels may be titled and registered at a country tax collector or license plate agent. Locations can be found here

If the boat is already titled (has been registered before) Like With The Private Sale of a Used Boat

Be sure to bring an executed bill of sale and fill out the seller portion of the title and have it signed. Be sure to verify the identity of the seller to ensure he is the owner of the boat and has the capacity to sell the vessel and sign the form.

If the boat is not already titled:

You will need an executed bill of sale, a builder’s contract, a manufacturer’s statement of origin, a federal marine document or another document acceptable to the FLHSMV (More information on that can be found here at the Coast Guard's website). The title must be issued before registration.

Sales tax will be due at the time of registration if it was not paid at the time of sale such as with a private sale. All accessories, trailers and motors will be subject to sales tax.

Be sure to bring a check with you as some locations do not accept credit card.

Be sure to check out our other article soon.

What do I need on board when on my Boat?

*Please note this is not considered legal advice and should not be used in lieu of an attorney. Be sure to check all your local laws and restrictions with your state and county. For more information please visit the Florida Highway and Safety website direct here, or your contact your local coastguard station before taking your boat out on the water.

We hope you enjoy your day on the water!