A Brief Guide to DC BOAT REGISTRATION

The SELLER signs ownership of his/her vessel over to the purchaser and must provide a bill of sale with purchaser name, purchase date and purchase amount of the vessel (excluding a trailer). Some titles have provided a section for this purpose. The seller should protect him/her self by notifying the state’s registration department of the change of ownership and remove any of the current decals.

The PURCHASER of a boat should verify that the seller is the legal and rightful owner. The title should be in the name of the person you give your money to. The purchaser should legally complete the transfer of ownership to his/her name within 30 days following the sale.

A RESPONSIBLE BOATER should become educated with the laws and regulations in the local waterways. Your boat must be in compliance in the state in which you use the watercraft the most.

  • District of Columbia requires any person who is operating or navigating any vessel shall have in his or her possession satisfactory evidence of having completed an approved boating safety course.

Here, in Washington DC, ALL watercraft are required to be registered: canoes, kayaks, sailboats, powerboats, CG Documented, rentals, clubs and commercial.

The information below is a generalization of the registration and titling process and does not address all circumstances. It is advisable to contact this office and review your particular requirements.

NEW VESSEL: Not owned previously, purchased from a manufacturer, dealer or distributor.

• Completed Application for Boat Certificate of Title/Registration (PD 330) sections A – E.
• Original Bill Of Sale (BOS) showing a description of the vessel: manufacturer, model, hull identification number (HIN), length, year, date of sale, purchaser(s) name(s), purchase price of boat, motor and accessories separated from the price of a trailer.
• Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO) or Certificate of Origin (CO) with the First Assignment completed by the dealer to show the transfer to you, the buyer.

USED VESSEL: Previously owned, registered/titled.

• Completed Application for Boat Certificate of Title/Registration (PD 330) sections A – E.
• Original Bill Of Sale (BOS) showing a description of the vessel: manufacturer, model, hull identification number (HIN), length, year, date of sale, purchaser(s) name(s), price of boat, separated from the price of a trailer.
• Proof of ownership from seller in the form of a Title and/or Registration. The person listed as the owner must sign as seller on the title and complete the transfer of title to the buyer. This may also be used as a BOS.
• When a Lien is noted on the title, a LIEN SATISFACTION must be included, showing that this debt has been settled.

COAST GUARD DOCUMENTED VESSEL: Registered with the US Coast Guard.

• Completed Application for Boat Certificate of Title/Registration (PD 330) sections A – E.
• Bill Of Sale (BOS). • Current CG Certificate of Documentation in the name (s) of the applicant(s).*
*If you are submitting an application for Coast Guard Documentation you must obtain a TEMPORARY REGISTRATION. Please contact this office for further instructions

Decals: Renewed annually and will expire on December 31st of the year issued. Renewal cards are mailed out in November each year.

Change of Address: Owner(s) must notify this office of any change in the mailing address within 15 days of the effective date of change. This must be done in writing and all owners must sign.

Change of Ownership: When an owner sells a vessel or their interest shared in a vessel, they must notify this office within 15 days of sale. A copy of the Bill of Sale or a letter containing the seller’s name, DC #, date of sale and the purchaser name should be sent to this office. It is also recommended that the seller remove the registration decals to prevent illegal use of the vessel.

FEES: payable by Check or money order only to DC Treasurer

6% TITLE TAX- formula is purchase $ price X 6% = tax due
NEW- purchase price shown on BOS
USED- amount on BOS up to 30 days from sale date. (After 30 days a Fair Market Value will be determined).
DOCUMENTED- exempt from Title Tax

TITLE FEE- $2.00 for DC Certificate of Number vessel (Documented vessels are not titled)

REGISTRATION- applies to DC and Coast Guard numbered vessels

Non-powered……………………………… $10.00 (any length)
Less than 16’……………………………… $15.00
Between 16’ and 26’…………….…….…. $25.00
Over 26’ up to 40’ ……………………… $35.00
Over 40’……………………………………. $60.00

DEFINITIONS:

Use – to operate, navigate, or employ.
Vessel – every description of watercraft, other than amphibian aircraft or seaplanes on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.
Vessel Principally Used – a vessel used mostly on District of Columbia Waters during a calendar year.

How to:

Mark your TITLED vessel: letters and numbers assigned by the state.

Purchase weather proof characters in 3” block characters and contrasting color to your boat. Registration Decals (shown as the square below) must be affixed within 6” of the registration characters.

COAST GUARD DOCUMENTED vessels must be numbered and marked according to CG regulations. http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvdc/

Decals for CG Documented vessels should be displayed on the forward half of the vessel in a conspicuous location. (Usually on the side windows) Do not display state issued characters on a documented boat.