Which Boats Require Registration?
Requirements for vessel registration vary from state to state. In New York, all power-driven vessels, including personal watercraft and federally documented pleasure vessels, that operate principally upon the waters of New York are required to register with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The only exceptions are:
- Non-motorized vessels (sailboats without engines, canoes, kayaks, etc.)
- Commercial vessels operating with U.S. or foreign documentation
- Vessels owned by a government agency
- Vessels legally registered in another state or country and using New York waters for 90 consecutive days or less
- Competition racing boats
- Ship’s lifeboats
If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is registered and numbered properly.