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It's the Law


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

Registering Your Vessel


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

  • A sailboat under 14 feet in length
  • Non-motorized vessels such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rubber rafts
  • Vessels registered in other states and using Texas waters for 90 consecutive days or less

The Certificate of Number and validation decals are obtained by submitting the proper applications, titles, and fees by mail or in person.

This certificate or a copy of it must be on board and available for inspection by an officer whenever the vessel is being operated.

Texas Certificate of Number
Texas Certificate of Number

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 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 with its background.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen: TX 3717 ZW or TX-3717-ZW.
  • No other numbers may be displayed.
  • Decals must be affixed on each side, three inches behind (toward the stern) and in line with the number.
Texas Validation Decal