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It's the Law


All operators are required to obey laws that regulate your vessel's registration and operation.

Registering Your Motorboat


You must have a Maine registration and validation stickers to operate your vessel legally on public waters in Maine.

The only exceptions are:

  • Vessels owned by the United States government
  • Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Vessels used exclusively for racing purposes and displaying a boat number from a racing association

For vessels registered in another state or county using Maine internal waters for less than 60 consecutive days, here are the requirements.

The registration must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is being operated. The only exception to this requirement is for a vessel less than 26 feet long that is leased or rented to a person for non-commercial purposes. In this case:

  • The registration card may be retained on shore by the owner of the vessel and …
  • The person leasing or renting the vessel must carry the lease agreement on board. The agreement must show the vessel's registration number, the time period for the lease, and the signature of the vessel's owner or his or her representative.

The registration number and validation stickers must be displayed as follows.

  • Number must be painted, applied as a decal, or otherwise affixed to both sides of the bow.
  • Number must read from left to right on both sides of the bow.
  • Number must be in at least 3-inch-high BLOCK letters.
  • Number's color must contrast sharply with its background.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space: ME 3717 ZW.
  • No other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow.
  • Sticker must be affixed on both sides of the bow, three inches to the right of and directly in line with the number.

If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is registered and numbered as described above.

Michigan Boat Registration