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Requirements for vessel registration vary from state to state. In California, you must have a Certificate of Number (registration certificate), a Certificate of Ownership, and registration stickers for your vessel, whether used or only moored. The only recreational vessels that do not require registration are:

  • Vessels propelled manually
  • Sailboards and other vessels 8 feet or less in length propelled solely by sail
  • Vessels currently registered in another state and not kept in California for more than 90 consecutive days
  • Vessels documented with the United States Coast Guard (USCG)
  • Foreign vessels
  • Ship's lifeboats used solely for lifesaving purposes

Application to register a vessel may be made at any office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by writing:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Registration Processing Units
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
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