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.

Vermont State Police (VSP):

The VSP are responsible for enforcing boating laws within the state.


All vessels propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric motors, and principally operated on Vermont waters must be registered and issued a Vermont Certificate of Number (Registration) by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. The following are exempt from meeting this requirement:

  • Motorboats from another country that has not been in the United States for more than 90 days;
  • Motorboats properly registered in another state, that have not been within the state of Vermont for more than 90 days;
  • A ship's lifeboat;
  • Motorboats owned by a federal or state government agency
  • Manually propelled vessels

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 transfer of ownership.

Certificate of Number

Boat owners must have at least a temporary Certificate of Number before they can operate in state waters. Temporary registrations must be kept with the motorboat while being operated and is only valid for 30 days from the date of issue. 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 year from the first day of the month of issue.
  • The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles must be notified within 15 days if:
  • The vessel owner changes residences;
  • The vessel is abandoned or destroyed;

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 Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

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: VT 1234 BX. This is a federal and state requirement.

The decal which is provided to you by the Department of Motor Vehicles should be displayed on both sides on the forward half of the vessel.

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.

*Content provided by www.BoaterExam.com