How to Effortlessly Register Your Boat in Florida: A 4-Step Guide

Pre-Flight Checklist: Navigating Florida’s Vessel Laws

Registering A Boat In Florida? In the Sunshine State, you’ve got more to think about than just where to cast your fishing line or anchor for a sunset view. Florida mandates that all motorized boats cruising in public waters must be titled and registered within 30 days of purchase. And here’s a pro tip: until you have all the paperwork sorted, make sure to carry a proof of purchase on board. If you don’t, you could be facing a second-degree misdemeanor.

Ready to make it official? Follow these simple steps to get your boat registered without a hitch.

Step 1: Head Over to Your Local Florida Agency

Whether it’s a license plate agency or county tax collector’s office, this is your first stop for getting your boat’s title and registration. A visit in-person is usually required, so plan accordingly.

Step 2: Let’s Talk Titles

To secure a Florida Certificate of Title, you’ll need to pay a titling fee and present specific documents based on your boat’s history. These include:

  • New Vessels: A Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin. However, if your vessel hails from a state that doesn’t demand this certificate, an executed dealer’s bill of sale will work.
  • Florida-Titled Used Vessels: Simply show documentation that confirms the title was transferred to you.
  • Out-of-State Used Vessels: You’ll need your out-of-state title transfer papers.
  • Vessels from Non-Titling States: Got your boat from a state like Connecticut, Georgia, or Tennessee? No worries! Just provide the current state registration and a bill of sale from the previous owner.

Step 3: Register Your Boat in Florida

You can choose to register your Florida boat for a one or two-year period. When applying, provide proof of ownership via one of these options:

  • A manufacturer’s statement of origin
  • A builder’s contract
  • An executed bill of sale
  • Federal marine documentation

Step 4: Handle That Sales Tax

If you haven’t taken care of the Florida boat sales tax, now’s the time. Provide a receipt to confirm the payment during the registration process.

Extra Steps: Because It’s Never Just 1-2-3

  • For homemade boats over 16 feet, you’ll need an inspection from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • If you’ve found an abandoned boat you wish to claim, law enforcement will first try to locate the owner. If unclaimed, you may receive the vessel along with the necessary paperwork for titling.

Registering a Boat in Florida (FAQs)

1. What happens if I miss the 30-day registration window?

On the 31st day your procrastination becomes a legal infraction, you will be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. That’s not too far behind first-degree murder. Its a different chapter; but rest assured, we are talking about the same book.
We can’t say for certain that the local SWAT team will be kicking your door down on day 32, but more importantly, we can’t say for sure that they won’t.
Congratulations, you are now a criminal. Start working out and get more tattoos. You need to change your look before you go to prison. Otherwise, you may have a rough go of it.

2. What if I bought my boat from a non-titling state?

You’ll need the current state registration and a bill of sale from the prior owner.

3. Can I register my boat in Florida for more than one year?

Yes, Florida offers the option to register for either one year or two years.

4. What kind of boats need to be registered?

Any motorized boat that will be used on Florida’s Public Waterways needs to be registered.

5. Where can I get more detailed information?

You can visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for comprehensive guidance.

More Questions? Something Else? We’ve Got You Covered!

Nobody knows more about buying and selling boats then the team at your local Black Label Marine Group Dealership. Stop in, give us a call, or send us an email and we’ll put our heads together and make sure to point you in the right direction.

If it’s outboard motor service of your Yamaha Outboard or Mercury Marine Outboard that you are looking for, say no more and look no further. Check out Black Label Marine Group’s Certified Technicians or just bring your boat straight to the shop. We offer top-notch services at our three convenient locations: Ocala, Pinellas, and Punta Gorda including regular maintenance, warranty work, and any type of repair you can think of. We’ll quickly diagnose the problem and help you make the right decision for your situation. Talk soon!



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