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Registering and Titling Your Vessel

Requirements

You must have a Washington title, current registration certificate, and current registration decals to operate, or moor a vessel on Washington's waters.

Exceptions:

  • Vessels that are not propelled by a motor (canoes, kayaks, etc.) and sailboats under 16 feet in length without a motor
  • Vessels that are less than 16 feet in length and have a motor of 10 horsepower or less and are used only on non-federal waters
  • Properly registered vessels owned by residents of another state or country and using Washington waters for 60 days or less

Vessel Registration Certificate

Cut out the wallet-sized registration information as indicated in lower left hand corner of the Vessel Registration Certificate.

This registration information must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated on the water.

Vessel Registration Certificate

Vessel Registration Certificate

Registration Number and Decals

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

The registration number and registration decals must be displayed as follows.

Registration Number and Decals
  • Number must be painted, applied as a decal, or otherwise affixed to the forward half of each side of the vessel, placed to be clearly visible.
  • Number must read from left to right on both sides of the bow.
  • Number must be in at least three-inch-high, bold, vertical, BLOCK characters.
  • The color of the numbers must contrast sharply with the background.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen: WN 3717 ZW or WN-3717-ZW.
  • No other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow.
  • Current decals only must be affixed on each side of the bow, toward the stern of the registration number and in line with the number.

Tender Requirements

Some vessels have a "tender." This is a dinghy, small boat, or inflatable boat used only to provide transportation between its documented or registered "parent" vessel and the shore. The tender is considered a separate vessel and must be registered and display its registration number and registration decals unless:

  • The engine on the tender is less than 10 horsepower
    and …
  • The tender has the parent vessel's registration numbers followed by the number '1' (WN 3717 ZW 1 or WN-3717-ZW-1) affixed to both sides of the bow and
  • The tender is used only for direct transportation from ship to shore and back.

Where To Register

You can submit your registration application and fees to your county auditor or vehicle licensing subagent office. For locations of vehicle licensing offices, visit www.dol.wa.gov. Look for "Office Locations" at the top of the home page.

Registration Questions?

Contact the Washington Department of Licensing by calling 360-902-3770, option 5. You also may e-mail questions to the Title Division of the Department of Licensing at [email protected].

Fees To Register and Title Your Vessel

Registration of a Vessel
Registration (first time) $29.25 *
Registration (annual renewal) $20.25 *

Other Fees
Titling (one-time fee) $5.00
Transfer of Title (includes $1.00 decal transfer fee for valid registration) $10.00
Transfer of Title (expired registration) $9.00
Duplicate Title $5.25
Duplicate Registration (if expired) $5.00
Duplicate Registration (if current) $5.00
* Plus any other applicable fees, taxes, and excise tax based on vessel value