Outdoor recreation can play a vital role in protecting our natural resources. When you register your boat, you do your part in sustaining resources that promote safe and responsible use of our nation's waters. Your registration dollars also help pay for marinas, boat ramps, lake clean up and much more.

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (DWFP):

The DWFP is responsible for regulating the state boating laws in Mississippi.


All motorized boats, including trolling motors and sailboats principally operated on the public waters of Mississippi must be registered and issued a Mississippi Certificate of Number(Registration) by the Mississippi DWFP. The Certificate of Number is valid for three years and expires on the last day of the month you registered. Once it has expired the boater will need to renew their Certificate of Number.

The boater may be charged with a misdemeanor and faced with a fine anywhere from $25 to $250 for not registering their watercraft.

Please note that boat owners may also title their watercrafts if they so desire but at this time it is not mandatory.

The Certificate of Number and validation decals are required to legally operate a vessel on Mississippi waters. Vessels that must be registered are:

  • All motorized vessels (including jet skis) used on public waters must be registered


Boat owners must keep their Certificate of Ownership in a safe place.

NOTE On the reverse of the Certificate of Ownership there is an application for the transfer of ownership.


Boat owners must have at least a temporary Certificate of Number before they can operate in state waters. Upon receipt, the permanent Certificate of Number must be signed and carried on board when operating a vessel.

Please note that the Mississippi DWFP must be notified within 15days if the boater changes residences.

The certificate of number, registration and title can be obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to the DWFP.

Successful registration results in a Certificate of Number,physical boat numbers and a decal. Your registration MUST be kept on board the vessel at all times. (It is advisable to keep the registration in a dry-bag on board.) Boat numbers must:

  • be affixed on both sides of the bow
  • be block letters, three inches high and contrasting with the color of your boat
  • a space or a hyphen must be used to separate numbers from letters.
  • Validation Decal must be no more than 6 inches from the Registration Number


For example: MS 7843 JK or MS-7843-JK.This is a federal and state requirement. 
Lack of the correct documentation may result in delays and fines.Make sure all boats are properly marked and documented. It's important to keep your papers with the boat - be particularly aware when transferring ownership of your vessel. 
Note: The fines for not registering your boat range between $25 and $100 plus court costs.

*Content provided by www.BoaterExam.com