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New Boat Owners

You have 30 days to apply for registration and title after purchasing a new or used vessel.

    • During this 30-day grace period, the owner must have proof of the date of purchase aboard the vessel
    • Use of an unregistered vessel after 30 days is a second-degree misdemeanor
  • Applications for vessel/boat registrations and title certificates must be filed by the owner with the tax collector’s office
  • Unless a vessel is exempt from titling, it must be titled at the same time it’s registered
  • You must submit the following:
    • A state-issued title or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin
    • The registration fee
    • The title fee- $8 - $15
    • Sales tax- 6% of the selling price plus 1% of the first $5000
    • Late fee of $10 will apply if purchased over 30 days ago
  • If the vessel is located in Pinellas County or if the vessel’s owner resides in Pinellas County, the application for vessel registration and title certificates must be filled out by the owner in one of our offices
  • The registration certificate must be on board the vessel when in operation

Bringing a Boat to Florida

  • Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting vessel owners by other states for a period of 90 days
  • An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector
  • You must submit the following:
    • A state-issued title in your name
      • A registration certificate is acceptable when coming from a state that does not issue boat titles
    • The registration fee
    • The title fee- $8 - $15
    • If the boat was purchased within the last 6 months and the title is already in the owner’s name, the owner must bring a valid receipt showing the price paid for the boat and the amount of sales tax paid
      • Additional sales tax may be due if the amount paid is less than 6% of the selling price plus 1% of the first $5000

Registration & Title Exemptions

Vessels exempt from registration include:   

  • non-motor-powered vessels 
  • vessels used exclusively on private lakes and ponds   
  • vessels owned by the United States Government   
  • vessels used exclusively as a ship's lifeboat 

 

 

Vessels exempt from titling include:   

  • non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length  
  • vessels owned by the United States Government  
  • federally documented vessels 
  • vessels used exclusively on private lakes and ponds 
  • amphibious vessels for which a vehicle title is issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles  
  • vessels used solely for demonstration, testing or sales promotional purposes by a dealer or manufacturer 
  • vessels owned and operated by the state or its political subdivisions  
  • vessels from a country other than the U.S., temporarily using the waters of this state for not more than 90 days    
  • vessels already covered by registration numbers awarded according 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, provided that the vessels are not operated in Florida waters more than 90 consecutive days  

Registration Numbers & Decals

  • The Florida registration number issued to a vessel is permanent and remains with the vessel if it is operated or stored in this state, even though its ownership may change   
    • The registration number issued to an undocumented vessel is to be painted or permanently attached to both sides of the bow (forward half) of the vessel and must be in block letters and numerals at least three inches high
      • The registration number must read from left to right, must contrast in color with the hull and be maintained in legible condition  
    • The prefix and suffix must be separated from the numerals by a space equal to the width of the digits, i.e., FL 0001 AB  
  • A decal showing the valid registration year will be issued with each registration certificate 
    • The decal must be displayed on the port (left) side of the vessel
      • It may be placed immediately before or after the registration number 
    • A decal issued to a federally documented vessel may be affixed to a window or windshield on the port side 
    • Any decal for a previous year's registration must be removed from the vessel  

Out-Of-State Reciprocity 

  • Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting vessel owners by other states for a period of 90 days 
  • An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector
    • However, they may retain the out-of-state registration number if they plan to return to their home state within a reasonable period of time   
  • Out-of-state vessel owners who plan to remain permanently in Florida must notify the county tax collector 
    • They will receive a Florida registration certificate number to replace those issued by the state of former residence
    • The out-of-state registration and certificate of title, if issued, must be surrendered to the tax collector   
  • Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by military personnel on active duty in Florida are valid in Florida until the expiration date, after which the vessels must be registered by the state of Florida  

Fees

For details about related fees, please view our fee chart.

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