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It's the Law


All operators are required to obey laws that regulate your vessel registration, titling, and operation.

Registering Your Vessel


You must have a South Carolina Certificate of Number (registration) and validation decals to operate your vessel legally on public waters in South Carolina. The only exceptions are:

  • Non-motorized vessels
  • Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Vessels with valid registration in another state or country, temporarily used in South Carolina

The Certificate of Number and validation decals are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to the Department of Natural Resources, Boat Titling and Registration Office, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.

This certificate (registration card) must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated.

The South Carolina Registration Card
The South Carolina Registration Card

The registration number and validation decals 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 three-inch-high BLOCK letters.
  • Number’s color must contrast with its background.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen: SC 3717 ZW or SC-3717-ZW.
  • No other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow.
  • Decals must be affixed on both sides of the vessel within six inches following the registration number.
South Carolina Validation Decal