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It's the Law

Registering Documented Vessels


Missouri law requires the owner of any vessel documented by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to apply for a documented vessel certificate of registration; pay a registration fee based on the length of the vessel; and, if it is a recreational vessel, pay an “in-lieu” watercraft tax (see table below).

To comply with this law, you must submit all of the following to MDOR:

  1. An Application for Documented Boat Certificate of Registration (DOR4398) properly completed and signed
  2. A $7.50 certification fee
  3. A copy of the Certificate of Documentation issued by the USCG as proof of ownership
  4. Appropriate registration fee based on the length of the vessel.
Length of Vessel Registration Fees
Under 16 feet in length $25.00
16 feet but less than 26 feet $55.00
26 feet but less than 40 feet $100.00
40 feet and over $150.00
Processing fee $3.50

The listed fees are valid as of October 2013, and they are subject to change at any time. To see the most current fees, go to http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/fees.php.

Upon receipt of these documents, the following will be issued:

  • A Documented Boat Certificate of Registration and…
  • A set of validation decals.

Federal law prohibits the state of Missouri from issuing a certificate of title to a documented vessel.

One decal must be displayed in a clearly visible location on each side of the forward half of the vessel. The registration tab must be affixed to the lower left corner of the Documented Boat Certificate of Registration.

The Documented Boat Certificate of Registration and registration decals must be renewed every three years.

In order to avoid payment of a delinquency fee ($10.00 for each 30 days not to exceed $30.00), a Missouri resident must make application for a Documented Boat Certificate of Registration within thirty (30) days after acquiring or bringing the vessel into this state. A nonresident must make application within sixty (60) days of acquiring a vessel in this state or if the vessel will be kept in this state for more than sixty (60) consecutive days.

The Documented Boat Certificate of Registration must be carried on board the vessel and be available for inspection when the vessel is being operated.

The Department of Revenue may issue a temporary certificate of registration for the operation of a documented vessel. This temporary registration will be valid for sixty (60) days from the date of issue. The temporary permit may be purchased from the Department of Revenue or an authorized boat dealer for a fee of $5.00. Temporary registration permits are non-transferable or renewable. Note: Documented vessel may not be operated legally in Missouri until either a temporary or permanent registration has been obtained.

Federal documentation questions should be directed to the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center at 1-800-799-8362.

In-lieu Watercraft Tax for Documented Vessels

The in-lieu tax is based on the purchase price of the vessel as outlined below:

Purchase Price of Watercraft Tax Due
Less than $15,000 $500
$15,001 to $30,000 $650
$30,001 to $50,000 $1,000
$50,001 to $100,000 $1,400
$100,001 to $150,000 $2,000
$150,001 to $200,000 $3,000
$200,001 to $250,000 $4,000
$250,001 to $300,000 $5,000
$300,001 to $350,000 $5,500
$350,001 to $400,000 $6,000
$400,001 to $450,000 $6,500
$450,001 to $500,000 $7,500
$500,001 to $550,000 $8,500
$550,001 to $650,000 $9,500
$650,001 to $750,000 $10,500
$750,001 and above Add an additional $1,500 for each $100,000 increment.

The listed fees are valid as of October 2013, and they are subject to change at any time. To see the most current fees, go to http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/fees.php.