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.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)

TPWD is responsible for regulating the boating and water safety laws in Texas.

TX Boat Registration and Titling Requirements

The following vessels must be titled and registered in Texas:
All motorized boats, regardless of length;
All sailboats 14 feet in length or longer or any sailboat with an auxiliary engine(s)
NEW - USCG Documented vessels; and
ALL outboard motors must be titled.

Title applications and manufacturer's statement of origin (MSO) must accompany a request for Texas boat registration for new boats and outboard motors.

Exempted vessels - All (non-motorized) canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, or rubber boats (regardless of length) when paddled, poled or oared and sailboats under 14 feet in length when windblown.

Registration of US Coast Guard Documented Vessels

Effective January 1, 2004, vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard are no longer exempt from state vessel registration requirements.

Requirements for registering a documented vessel:

Application for Vessel (form PWD 143 (PDF 424.4 KB); application forms can be printed from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's web site at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/forms/

Current USCG Documentation Certificate or copy from web site documentation lookup - www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/vdoc/nvdc.html combined with http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/CoastGuard/index.html; Payment of registration fee; and Verification of sales tax payment* or proof that the vessel transaction occurred more than 4 years from date of application. Tax will not be collected for vessels purchased more than four years prior to the date of application for registration.

*If sales tax has not been paid, a bill of sale is required and sales tax will be assessed at the time of TX boat registration. A Bill of Sale or Invoice must contain the date of sale, sales price, description of vessel and/or O/B motor (make, TX or serial number and year built), purchaser(s) name, and seller(s) signature. The sales tax rate is based on length. The tax rate for vessels 65 feet and less in length is 6.25% and collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at the time of vessel registration. The tax rate for vessels greater than 65 feet in length is 6.25% plus Local Rate (maximum of 2%) and paid to the Office of the Comptroller; these vessels may be registered initially with sales tax payment occurring after registration but prior to the registration expiration. Tax is due within 20 working days from the date of delivery. Sales tax penalty and interest may be assessed if tax is not paid within the 20 working days.

Exempted vessels:

Documented commercial vessels used in coastal shipping; and
Documented vessels exceeding 115 feet in length.
Documented recreational vessels, shrimp boats and other commercial fishing boats are not exempt from state registration, unless they exceed 115 feet in length.

Certificate of Number

The certificate of number (registration), if required:
Must always be aboard and available for inspection by an enforcement officer;
Is valid for the two-year period shown on the certificate; and
NEW - Must also be aboard USCG Documented vessels that require Texas registration.

Homemade Boats

Requires affidavit of the person as to the origin of the boat, proof of the materials used in the construction of the boat (i.e., bills from marine and hardware dealers for parts, etc.), and requires each homemade boat to be inspected and certified by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) game warden. Inspection fee - $25.00.

Hull Identification and Motor Serial Numbers

It is illegal to possess a vessel with a hull identification number or an outboard motor with a serial number that has been altered, defaced, mutilated, or removed. To acquire Texas boat registration or title, a sworn statement must be filed with the department describing the vessel or outboard motor, providing proof of legal ownership, and stating the reason for the destruction, removal or defacement of the boat registration numbers. This statement must be accompanied by a fee of $25.00 and an inspection certificate from a game warden stating the vessel or outboard motor has been inspected. This section does not apply to USCG Documented vessels.

Display of Your Boat Registration Numbers

The number must be painted on, or otherwise attached to each side of the vessel, near the bow, in such position as to provide easy identification.
The number shall read from left to right, be in block characters of good proportion not less than three inches in height and be of a color that contrasts with the background.
The numerals must be separated from the prefix and the suffix by hyphens or equivalent spaces such as the following example: TX 1234 BX and TX-1234-BX.
The validation decal must be affixed in a line with and three (3) inches towards the rear of the boat from the registration number.

NEW - USCG Documented Vessels:
May display ONLY the Validation Decal (not the Texas Boat Registration Number) on both sides of the bow of the vessel and maintain current USCG Documentation; OR
Display the state assigned TX numbers and the Validation Decal if USCG Documentation is relinquished.

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