Registering and Titling a Vessel in Florida for the First Time

A vessel that is registered with another state may be used in Florida for no more than 90 days.

An out-of-state vessel owner who does not plan to become a permanent Florida resident but plans to operate a currently registered vessel in Florida waters for more than 90 days must obtain a temporary registration from the Tax Collector’s office.

Not all states require a vessel to be titled, however, Florida does require a title.

To permanently register a vessel in Florida, you must present the following information:

  • Current registration for the state where the vessel is registered.
  • Title Document for the state where the vessel is titled (if a title state).
  • Proof of Sales Tax will be credited if vessel was purchased less than 6 months prior to registration.
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Sold Your Vessel, Vehicle or Mobile Home?

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More Vessel Information:

Florida Fish and Conservation Commission Boating Information
Florida Boater Safety & Education Information
Boating Courses – US Coast Guard:(800) 368-5647
Marine Safety Examination (Free/Courtesy):(800) 368-5647
US Coast Guard Miami:(305) 535-4300
Marine Radio Licenses/EPIRB Info:(800) 368-5647
Navigation Rules (copies of):(800) 368-5647
Marine Radio Licenses/EPIRB Info:(800) 368-5647

Vessel Registration and Titles

The Tax Collector is the agent for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for titling and registering vessels (boats). All motorized vessels, commercial and private, must be registered and titled with the Tax Collector before they can be used in Florida waters. Vessel trailers used on Florida roads must also be registered.

Titling fees and registration fees are separate charges. Vessel registration fees are variable, based on the length of the vessel. In addition to the state registration fee, Martin County levies a county registration fee equal to half the state fee. The proceeds from the county registration fees are used to improve water quality in local fisheries.

  • Registrations of vessels owned by individuals expire at midnight on the owner’s birth date.
  • Registrations issued to dealers and manufacturers expire June 30.
  • Registrations of vessels owned by companies, corporations, governmental entities or any other type of legal entity expire on June 30.
  • Registrations may be renewed through the mail, online, or by visiting an office.

Commercial Fees

An additional $50 commercial vessel license fee is required of all non-residents or aliens. A Saltwater Products License is required of all individuals who sell saltwater products and/or use certain gear in Florida. The minimum cost of a license is $50 for residents, $200 for non-residents and $300 for aliens.

NOTE: Fees are subject to change.

Fee Reduction Qualifications, Documentation and Processing Transactions

To qualify for reduced registration fees at the time of registration, a recreational vessel owner must provide documentation that the vessel is equipped with an EPIRB, or documentation that the vessel owner owns a PLB.

  1. All EPIRBs and PLBs must be registered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This should be done immediately after purchase. See Exhibits A and B for sample EPIRB and PLB registration forms to be submitted to NOAA.
  2. All EPIRBs and PLBs must be manufactured by a company approved to manufacture beacons by the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme. This information will be shown on the registration letter.
  3. After initial registration or renewal with NOAA, the recreational vessel owner will receive a proof of registration letter. This letter will include the additional proof necessary for beacon registration and a recreational vessel fee reduction. Additionally, the recreational vessel owner will receive a decal from NOAA by postal mail to affix to the beacon so it is clearly visible. See Exhibit C for a sample decal. Additional proof for an EPIRB or a PLB must include:
    • The name of the beacon owner.
    • The expiration date for the beacon’s registration.
    • The unique identifier number (UIN) for the beacon. This is a 15-digit number, which is programmed into a 406 MHz beacon (EPIRB or PLB) by a manufacturer or installer. The UIN is part of the message transmitted by the beacon when activated. The UIN is also referred to as the Beacon ID in NOAA’s Registration Database.
    • For vessels equipped with an EPIRB, the identification information of the vessel.
    • Documentation that the EPIRB or PLB transmits distress signals at a frequency between 406.0 and 406.1 Mhz. This will be shown on the registration letter.