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3 Steps to Register Your New Boat

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Water lovers know there's nothing quite as freeing as cruising in your new boat. However, if you own a boat or watercraft, it's essential to understand that you must register it, just like your car. It's a relatively simple process if you know the steps involved. Here is an easy-to-follow guide to registering your boat so you're ready to cruise.

Step 1: Registration requirements

You know you must register your car at the DMV, and your boat requires similar treatment. Your boat should be registered in the state where you live, and if you're storing it in a different state, you'll likely need to register it there as well.

Keep in mind: Each state has different requirements for boat registration. Look into those laws before deciding where to keep your vessel.

In Florida, you'll work with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to register your boat. You can use its "MyDMV Portal" to register, and many other states offer a similar online service.

Step 2: Paperwork to prep

Boat owners in Florida have 30 days from their purchase date to complete their registration. You'll need three key things to register your new or new-to-you boat:
  1. Proof of ownership
  2. Issued title
  3. Registration fee
Keep in mind: Your proof of ownership is different for a new vessel vs. a used one. For a new vessel, you'll need the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO). If your boat is used, you'll need the title accurately completed for transfer to you.

The registration fee will vary by your boat's size, and in Florida, you can receive a reduced rate if your vessel includes emergency locator equipment. Your registration fee could be as low as $2.95 or as high as $189.75. Check with the DMV to learn more.

Step 3: Almost done

How do you correctly display this information once you've completed your boat registration? You will receive three things upon completion of your vessel's registration:
  1. Registration number
  2. State sticker
  3. Boat number
Your boat number should be placed on the front part of your boat. These must be visible above the water line, and the numbers should be three inches high.

Keep in mind: These numbers should be easy to read, so make sure they're a contrasting color to your boat's hull.

While it's not required if you're staying in the U.S., you might also choose to register your boat at the federal level with the U.S. Coast Guard. If you're traveling overseas, you will need to do this, and some lenders also require you to take this step. Last, registering your boat with the Coast Guard also properly registers ownership and nationality, which can provide peace of mind.

Are you ready to hit the open water? Find a lender that understands your recreation goals and gets the process started on the right foot. Just drop by any Power Financial Credit Union branch in South Florida and speak to one of our boat loan experts to find the boat loan that's right for you.