marine law enforcement patrol vessels on the water

Boat Registration

Make sure your boat is ready to hit the water.

Title, registration & renewal

To navigate, operate, employ or moor your vessel in Washington, you must have a Washington title, registration card and registration decals.  The registration card must be onboard whenever you use your vessel.

All vessels that require registration must be titled through the Washington State Department of Licensing.


If the vessel is a canoe, kayak, or a vessel not propelled by a motor or sail.

The vessel is less than 16 feet in length and has a motor of 10 horsepower or less and is used on non-federal waters only.

Boaters visiting Washington state

Boaters visiting Washington may recreate on state waters for up to 60 days without a permit as long as the vessel is registered in another state or has current U.S. Coast Guard documentation.

If you plan to be on Washington waters longer, apply for a permit on or before the 60th day of your visit. To get a permit, visit any Vehicle Licensing Office, bring your unexpired state vessel registration and identification from your state. You may renew the permit once for an additional 60 days. When the renewed permit expires, you must either register your boat in Washington or remove your boat from Washington waters.

How to apply for registration or title

To title or register your vessel, fill out a Vessel Title Application but don't sign it.

Bring the application to your licensing agent and:

  • The vessel model, year and make.
  • Purchase price and year. 
  • Overall length.
  • Ownership documents.
  • Hull identification number, if any.

If you have a U.S. Coast Guard document number, bring all documentation papers, all owners on Certificate of Documentation must be present to sign vessel application.

If vessel has not been titled and registered before and was purchased new as of July 1, 1985, provide the original manufacturer's Statement of Origin.

Notification rules

The registered owner of a vessel is responsible for reporting a loss of a registration, address change or if the vessel is lost/found, abandoned or destroyed.  Contact Department of Licensing within 15 days by calling (360) 902-3770 or (800) 833-6388 (Washington Telecommunications Relay Services).

Required carbon monoxide sticker

By law, any new or used motor vessel, other than a Jet Ski, must display a sticker that warns passengers of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Use the Washington state CO warning sticker or a Department of Licensing approved sticker previously installed in another state or by the manufacturer. If you don't receive a sticker when you renew or register, contact your local vehicle licensing office or call (360) 902-3812 or (800) 833-6388 (Washington Telecommunications Relay Services).

For more information or questions related to the warning sticker, call (360) 902-3770, option 5. Download the carbon monoxide informational brochure about Boating and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide.

U.S. Coast Guard documentation

Larger recreational vessels owned by U.S. citizens may (at the option of the owner) be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. Call the Coast Guard at (800) 799-8362 for more information. Documented vessels will still need to be registered in Washington but are not required to display the registration number.