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.

West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR):  

The WVDNR is responsible for regulating the state boating laws in West Virginia.


All boats propelled by machinery, including gasoline, diesel and electric motors, and principally operated on West Virginia waters must be registered and issued a West Virginia Certificate of Number (Registration) by the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Failure to register your vessel will result in a fine ranging from $20 to $300 + court costs and/or anywhere from 10 to 100 day jail sentence. Similarly the boat operator may face a fine from $20 to $300 for not titling their vessel.


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 one (1) year and expires on April 1st of the following year.
  • Once it has expired it will need to be renewed.

Please 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 West Virginia 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: WV 1234 BX or WV-1234-BX. This is a federal and state requirement.

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.

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