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.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR):

The SCDNR is responsible for regulating the state boating laws in South Carolina.


All vessels propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric motors, and principally operated on South Carolina waters must be registered and issued a South Carolina Certificate of Number (Registration) by the SCDNR.


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 of the Certificate of Number please note the following:

  • It must be signed and carried onboard when operating the vessel.
  • It is valid for three years and expires three years from the date of issue.
  • The SCDNR must be notified within 15 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. To obtain a boat title the boat owner must contact the SCDNR.

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.


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