Register a Boat

What You’ll Need to Register a Boat in Virginia?

Virginia requires all vessel owners to register a boat with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. A boat may be registered in Virginia as either a leisure craft or a business vessel. Commercial boats are used for business, whereas pleasure boats are used for leisure. You must fill out an Application for Boat Registration and pay the required costs to register your boat in Virginia. 

To register your boat, you’ll need to provide evidence of ownership, your registration number, and a reasonable price. The site of the concerned agency should include more details. Get your boat registered before you take it out on the water. You, as a boat owner in Virginia, must do a few things to ensure that your boat is registered correctly and follows local regulations. The essentials are as follows.

Your Boat’s Hull Identification Number (HIN)

First things first, you’ll need to locate your boat’s HIN. Your vessel’s HIN may be found on a metal plate fastened to the boat’s hull and serves as a unique identifier. If you’re purchasing from a dealer or an individual, they should be able to tell you where to get this number. Seek the advice of a person versed in boats if you are unsure of what to search for. According to wi.gov, the HIN is often found on the vessel’s floor; however, it may be installed elsewhere. 

Once you have your HIN, you may check here to see whether a Virginia registration exists for your boat (and, if so, how much it will cost to transfer that registration). You must first register a boat with Virginia and get a vessel title before registering it with DMV if it is not already in the database and you do not have records demonstrating that it has been documented previously.

The Name of Your Boat and Its Home Port To Register a Boat

Boat registration in Virginia might be confusing for first-timers. The home port is the other bit of information you’ll need to register a boat. You’ll have your yacht permanently tied or docked in that location right there. Since your boat is still considered a vessel even if it never leaves the sea and is thus subject to maritime law (a subset of federal law), you will need to know where its home port is. 

This is often the same as your house or place of employment. If you slip at the marina and leave your boat there year-round, it will be considered a vessel with a home port of “the place where the vessel is usually moored.” However, if that doesn’t describe where you keep your boat during the winter months (or any other time), note that location; otherwise, you might accidentally fail to register your boat in Virginia when you move elsewhere.

Proof of Completion of a Boating Safety Course

To operate a boat legally, you must provide documentation that you have completed a boating safety course. This information is available from the Boating and Waterways Division of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) (DBW). You may sign up for the course at no cost, but enrollment is strictly online. Maritime laws, weather and boating safety, canal management, personal safety, aquatic ecology, and the usage of marine sanitation devices are just some of the subjects covered in this two-hour program. 

When you’re done with the training, print off your completion certificate. If you want to avoid unnecessary delays, bring it with you to any state-run boat registration office. The next step is to verify that your boat is correctly registered in the state where it is stored. Suppose you are new to Virginia waters or have acquired a boat that has never been registered in Virginia. In that case, you must first prove your residency (including vessels purchased from other states).

Register a Boat

Documentation of Both Your Boat’s Value and Ownership

Purchasing a boat is an exciting and rewarding venture, but there are essentials you must have to make the most of the experience. You should consider these factors carefully when choosing the kind of boat to purchase, register, and maintain in the future. The proper paperwork to show that you legally purchased a secondhand boat is essential. For instance, if the boat has been previously titled in another state or nation, you’ll need the original title plus a bill of sale (which should specify the type and model) to register it in your name. 

Without a bill of sale, you may need the seller to attest to the chain of ownership through a notarized declaration. Titling a new boat acquired from a dealer is usually a straightforward procedure since the dealer will apply for a title on your behalf and submit the necessary paperwork (such as proof of sale).

Beginning the process of registering your boat in Virginia? You’ll need to contact the Maritime Documentation Center at 800-535-8570. While your boat is still in the water, you’ll want to call them to make an appointment and provide information such as the manufacturer and year of your vessel. Once the boat is in the dry dock, you can bring over the original sales documents, blueprints, and anything else you have that will help detail the boat’s specifications. These details are what will be entered into your new Virginia title.