2015 New York Safe Boating - 11
REGISTRATION OF BOATS
There is a nationally recognized system for identifying boats,
much as there is for automobiles. The Federal Numbering
Act of 1918 instituted a system for the federal government to
number all boats that were not documented by the US Coast
Guard, which at that time, documented only large commercial
registrations are currently valid for three years. Before your
registration expires, the DMV will send a notice in the mail
indicating that it is time to renew the registration.
Fees for boat registration depend on the size of the boat.
In addition, there is a surcharge to develop a fund for
enhancing boating access across New York. The amount of
the surcharge also will vary with the size of the boat.
The Federal Safe Boating Act of 1958 transferred this
responsibility to the states, and requires the states to number
all the motorboats within their borders and maintain ownership
records for the boats. Registration information assists
authorities in identifying a boat that has been abandoned,
stolen, recovered, or involved in an accident. Boat registration
information also provides statistics about how people boat,
who boats, why they boat and where they boat. This is useful
information which helps New York State to allocate resources
to preserve and protect our waterways and ensure that boaters
have access to them.
Less than 16'
16' to less than 26'
More than 26'
Boats Subject to
You can find office
for DMV in your
area at www.dmv.
Every type of motorized craft that is capable of being used as
a means of transportation on the water must be registered
whether the purpose is recreational or commercial. Motorized
boat tenders-boats that are used to ferry people or supplies
between boats or between a larger boat and the shore-must
boat federal law
requires you to keep the original registration
on the boat, in the event you must produce it at the request
of a law enforcement officer. A photocopy is not acceptable.
Watercraft without a motor need not be registered. However,
if you use a motor (electric or fuel-driven), no matter how small
the craft or the motor, you must register your boat.
Your boat's registration will be a series of numbers and
letters. You must display your boat's registration properly so
that it is visible on the forward part of the port and starboard
sides of the boat when read left to right. The registration
must be at least three inches in height, so that it is visible at
100 ft, and it must be a color that contrasts with the hull color
to enhance visibility. There should be a space or dash between
the letters and numbers: NY 1234 XY or NY-1234-XY.
There are only very limited exceptions to the registration
requirement. Boats that have a US Coast Guard document
and that are being used as tugboats, ferries, steamships, or for
other commercial purposes need not have a New York State
registration. Similarly, boats used only for racing need not be
registered in New York. If a boat is registered in another state
and will not be in New York for more than 90 consecutive days,
it need not be registered in New York. A boat owner from a
foreign country who is using New York waterways temporarily
need not register the boat. A boat that is owned by a
government agency or subdivision of a government agency
is exempt from New York State registration. Finally, lifeboats
need not be registered.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
issues boat registrations. You must submit a completed Form
MV-82B, "Application For Boat Registration," at your local
DMV office. Be sure to have proof of identity and a bill of
sale for the boat and proof of payment of sales tax. Boat