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.

New Jersey State Police (NJSP):

The New Jersey State Police are responsible for regulating the state boating laws in New Jersey.


All vessels longer than 12 feet in length must be titled. If the boat is not yet titled, you will have to show proof of ownership.

Additionally, all titled boats must also be registered. Any of the documents accepted for titling are also acceptable for registration.

Every vessel in New Jersey waters shall be registered and numbered, except:

  • Vessels operated under a federally approved numbering system of another state, operated on a transient basis;
  • Documented vessels from other states operated in this State in a transient status only;
  • Vessels from foreign countries here temporarily;
  • Public vessels of the United States, a state or subdivision or agency thereof;
  • A ship's lifeboat;
  • Vessels used exclusively for racing while competing in an authorized race, or under permit issued from the New Jersey State Police;
  • A non-powered sailboat or vessel used exclusively on small lakes and ponds wholly within private lands;
  • A non-powered inflatable, surfboard, racing shell or tender for direct transportation between a vessel and the shore and for no other purpose (i.e. dinghy);
  • Vessels 12 feet or less in length
  • A non-powered kayak or canoe.


Boat owners must have at least a temporary Certificate of Number before they can operate in state waters. Upon receipt of the Certificate of Number please note the following:

  • It must be signed and carried on board when operating the vessel.
  • The Motor Vehicle Commission must be notified within 7 days if the boater changes residences.

Also note that the boat owner must obtain their boat title before they can obtain their Certificate of Number if their vessel is greater than 12 feet in length. To obtain a boat title the boat owner must contact the Motor Vehicles Commission.

The Certificate of Number, validation decals and title are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to an authorized boat registration agent or to:


Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 1017 225 East State Street>
Trenton, NJ 08666-0017



Successful registration results in a Certificate of Number,physical boat numbers and a decal. 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;
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or a hyphen.

For example: NJ-1234-AB or NJ 1234 AB.This is a federal and state requirement.

The decal which is provided to you by the NJSP should be displayed on both sides of the bow 3 inches aft of the registration number.

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.


Large Recreational boats can be federally registered with the U.S. Coast Guard.

1. All documented vessels for which the owner maintains, owns,rents, leases or otherwise occupies space within this State, other than on a transient basis, MUST be registered with this State according to the established fee schedule, but are not required to display registration numbers. Validation decals will be issued and must be displayed on these vessels.

2. Registration certificates must be carried on board the vessel at all times while the vessel is in operation.

3. Those vessels documented under Part 67 of Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations and required to register with this State pursuant to NJSA 12:7-34.44a shall display a validation sticker on each side of the vessel in an area adjacent to the main steering station affixed to the vertical surface plainly visible at all times from both the port (left) and starboard (right) sides.

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