Boat Registration and Titles


Florida Vessel Owners: The Facts

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I apply for a title on my recently purchased vessel?

Applications for vessel registration and title certificates (original or duplicate) are to be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector’s office in the county where the vessel is located or in the county where the vessel owner resides.

How many days does an owner have to register a new vessel?

The purchaser of a new vessel has 30 days in which to apply for registration and title through the county tax collector’s office. During this 30-day grace period, the owner is required to have aboard his vessel a bill of sale with proof of the date of purchase.

Are military personnel exempt from registering their vessels in Florida?

Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by military personnel on active duty in Florida are valid in Florida until their expiration date. Then they must be registered and titled in Florida in order to be operated on state waters.

I only use a small trolling motor when I use my 12 foot boat in the canal behind my house. Do I have to register my boat?

Yes, all vessels used on public waterways with any kind of motor must be titled and registered.

If the seller of a vessel entered the entire selling price of a boat, trailer and motor as the selling price on the transfer portion of the vessel title being transferred, must the new owner pay sales tax on the entire amount?

Yes, sales tax must be paid on the amount entered on the title, unless an itemized bill of sale listing the price of each component of the rig is submitted with the application. In such a case, the owner would only be required to pay sales tax on the boat and trailer.

I will be vacationing in Florida this summer. Do I need to register my vessel there?

Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time.

I need to apply for an expedited duplicate vessel title. What should I do?

The owner of the vessel must properly complete an application for duplicate title, and submit it and a fee of $11 to your local tax collector’s office.

The application will be processed and the duplicate title mailed within 5 working days from receipt of the application.

Is a non-powered vessel required to be registered and titled?

If the non-motor powered vessel is less than 16 feet in length, it is not required to be registered or titled. However, if the vessel is 16 feet or more in length, it is required to be titled.

What should the purchaser of a vessel do if he is unable to contact the titled owner to obtain the certificate of title or an executed bill of sale?

Notify the Bureau of Vessel Titles and Registrations in writing stating the existing problem and furnish the Florida registration number of the vessel. The Department will provide the name and address of the titled owner with the necessary instructions for transferring the ownership of the vessel.

Who should I contact about safety equipment requirements for vessels?


620 S. Meridian Rd.
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Phone: (850) 488-5600
or any local GFC Dist