When a vessel is in use, the vessel’s registration card must be onboard. If you are stopped by Fish & Wildlife Enforcement and you do not have a valid registration card onboard, a ticket may be issued. It is the responsibility of the vessel’s operator (not the owner) to be sure the vessel is registered, has all required safety equipment, and that it is being operated in a safe manner.
Frequently Asked Questions on Boat Registrations
Question: Do I have to register my vessel?
Answer: Delaware law requires the registration of all motorboats, including those powered by electric motors.
Q. What is meant by the "State of Principal Use?"
A. Your vessel must be registered in its “State of Principal Use.” “State of Principal Use” means a state on whose waters a vessel is used or to be used most during a calendar year. Delaware regulations state that if the vessel is to be used, docked, or stowed on the waters of this State for over 60 consecutive days, Delaware is its “State of Principal Use.”
Q. Why should I register my vessel?
A. Registration numbers provide identification for the return of stolen or found boats. Registration also helps locating persons involved in boating accidents, identifying vessels requesting assistance, and helps identify vessels violating the law. Registration fees are used to fund resource protection, educational programs, access areas and their maintenance, and fund safety patrols.
Q. Where can I register a vessel?
A. Your vessel may be registered by completing a Boat Registration Application and returning it by mail to Division of Fish and Wildlife Office of Boat Registration 89 Kings Highway Dover, DE 19901. You may visit one of these Private Agent Locations. You may also visit the State Office at the address above.
• If you are renewing an existing registration or requesting an address change you may do so online at Delaware eGov.
Q. What forms do I need?
A. A Boat Registration Application must be completed. If the boat is titled in another state the original title must be submitted and will be kept. If the boat comes from a registering state then the registration is required with a notarized bill of sale. If the boat is new, the manufacturer’s original certificate of origin (MCO) must be submitted. All paperwork must include the vessel hull identification number. If the boat is currently registered in Delaware, the old registration card is required with a notarized Bill of Sale including a description of the boat. A notarized Bill of Sale is not needed if both buyer and seller appear in person with picture IDs.
Q.What must I have to use a public boat ramp?
A. If your boat is currently registered in Delaware you DO NOT need to purchase a boat ramp certificate and have access to Division of Fish and Wildlife maintained boat ramps. If your boat is registered out of state you must purchase a boat ramp certificate. You may do so by completing this form Boat Ramp Certificate Form and bringing it to any of the offices listed here Boat Ramp Agents.You may also purchase a boat ramp certificate online at Delaware e Gov.
Homemade Boats: (Initial Registration Only) Must be registered at the Dover Office. Copies of invoices for materials, builder’s notarized statement with description and a picture of the vessel, and witness notarized statement regarding builder and description of vessel must be provided.
Deceased Owner: A copy of the Death Certificate, short form of the will stating the administrator, and if sold, a notarized bill of sale from the estate is needed.
Annual Three Years
CLASS A (less than 16’) $10 $30
CLASS I (16’ or over and less than 26’) $20 $60
CLASS II (26’ or over and less than 40’) $30 $90
CLASS III (40’ or over and less than 65’) $50 $150
CLASS IV (65’ or over not required to be documented) $60 $180
Duplicate Registration $2.30
Transfer Registration (With Current DE Registration Card) $3.45
Tidal Ramp Certificate $35