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 Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Wildlife Division is responsible for regulating the state boating laws in South Dakota.

REGISTRATION

All vessels operated primarily on South Dakota waters must be registered and issued a South Dakota Registration Card by the Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles. However, the following vessels do not require registration:

  • Non-motorized vessels less than 12 feet in length
  • Vessels that are registered in another state and operating on South Dakota's waters for no more than 60 days consecutively.
  • U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels operating on South Dakota waters for no more than 60 days consecutively.

Please note that the boat owner must obtain their boat title before they can obtain their certificate of number. All vessels which are either more than 12 feet in length or propelled by a motor, obtained by a resident of South Dakota on or following July 1, 1993 must be titled. The following vessels are may not be titled:

  • Canoes and kayaks
  • Inflatable boats
  • Sailboards
  • Seaplanes

CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP

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.

CERTIFICATE OF NUMBER

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 one or three years depending on the owner's preference and expires on December 31st of the requested year.

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:

Department of Revenue
Division of Motor Vehicles

445 East Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501-3185

 

Successful registration results in a Registration Certificate, a decal for each side of the vessel. Physical boat numbers must be purchased separately. 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;
  • Read from left to right.

 

The decal which is provided to you by the DMV should be displayed on both sides of the boat 3 inches toward the stern.

The registration number is not required to be displayed on the hull of non-motorized vessels that are 12 to 18 feet in length. However, these vessels are still required to display the validation decal.

All vessels that are propelled by a motor as well as all vessels that are 18 feet in length or more are required to display the registration number and the validation decals.

Lack of the correct documentation will 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.  

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