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How to Register a Boat in Florida with No Title? – Detailed Guide

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to register a boat in florida with no title

According to Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Tag or Titles, an owner of a new or used vessel is given 30 days to register. Violation is equivalent to a second-degree misdemeanor.

With this fact, you may think you’re not entitled to follow the right ways of how to register a boat in Florida with no title. Additionally, you may presume that it would be illegal to use or sell a boat without a title.

The good thing is that there’s a way to register a boat with no title in Florida. In general, you will have to pay the correct titling fee and prepare the necessary documents depending on the boat that you have. Some vessels are exempt from having a title to register. You may also have your boat listed as homemade to appeal for it.

I will unfold more information below to guide you through the Florida boat registration process of a boat with no title.

What Is FL Boat Registration

A Florida vessel registration or a boat license is documentation distinguishing the owner of a specific vessel that is allowed to roam around the state’s water. Of course, it comes with a fee.

The money that you give is a contribution to the preservation of natural aquatic resources of Florida as well as amenities that you get to use, such as clean waterways, boat ramps, and public piers.

Comparison Between Registration and Titling


Not too different from a car registration; you’ll get a card once you have registered your boat. You must carry it around with you, especially when sailing. This documentation gives you the right to navigate to other states.

You have to be attentive to the definite laws regarding registration and titling in Florida if you decide to stay for some time. Assumptions can sometimes take you to nowhere. You must know that registration doesn’t represent your vessel ownership, but a title does.

In most cases, lenders require a title as proof that the seller purchased the boat once. It is also evidence of ownership. In connection with buying a boat, you should receive a title that is authenticated by a notarized signature on the back. Some documentation comes along with it.

You can complete the application for both registration and title via an online form. Florida has a titling fee of $77.25 for new vessels and $75.25 for used ones. It’s $85.25 for vehicles that are from outside the state.

Vessels Exempted From Titling In Florida

  • Vessels that are used exclusively and stored in private ponds and lakes
  • Non-motorized vessels not longer than 16 feet
  • Vessels with complete documents approved by the state of Florida and its political subdivisions and/or those federally documented by the USA
  • Vessels used by manufacturers for testing, promotion, and demonstration
  • Vessels that are lawfully registered by the Coast Guard in another state. (This is essential if the boat will stay on the coast of Florida for less than 90 days.)
  • Amphibious vessels that have received a title by the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • Watercraft that is from other countries for temporary use and storage in Florida for 90 days or less

Procedures For Titling A Boat In Florida

Titling a boat in Florida requires a visit to a license plate agent office or a local tax collector. Here are the procedures that you have to take note of:

  • Pay the correct titling fee.
  • Some documents are necessary as it depends on the type of vessel that you have:
  • New Vessels

The builder’s statement or MCO (Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin) is needed. Some states don’t acknowledge MCO, and thus, it’s not applied if you buy your vessel from another state.

As a replacement, you can have proof of ownership through a bill of sale from the dealer. It must have a detailed description of the craft.

  • Used Vessels titled in Florida

The transfer to the purchaser should be completed through the Florida title.

  • Used Vessels titled outside of the state

The transfer to the purchaser is clarified through an out-of-the-state title.

  • Used Vessels originally from the state that doesn’t require a title

A bill of sale in possession of the current registrant and registration from the state is required. The bill of sale must include the exact description of the vessel.

Know More About Bill Of Sale

A bill of sale is a legal action through documentation that contains the transfer of ownership and warranties on the vessel. Specifically, you’ll find these details:

  • Names, addresses, and signatures of the seller and buyer
  • Signature with a notary (if required)
  • Date of sale and purchase cost
  • Boat’s HIN (hull identification number), color, model, condition, and the make
  • Accessories (if there’s any) included in the boat

This is an important document when buying a boat. Moreover, it allows you to register your boat in Florida easily.

How to Register Boat in Florida with No Title

Like when acquiring a title for your boat, you must go to a license plate agent or local tax collector office. You’ll also have to be particular about these requirements.

  • Proof of boat ownership in form of a federal marine document
  • An executed bill of sale
  • A manufacturer’s statement of origin
  • A builder’s contract or other documents recognized by the FLHSMV
  • Issued title before registration
  • The right registration fee (Refer to the following table)
Vessel Classification Length Vessel Registration Fee Reduced Fee Optional County Fee
Class A-1 Shorter 12 ft $5.50 $2.95 $4.13
Class A-2 12 ft to shorter than 16 ft $16.25 $11 $7.63
Class 1 16 ft to shorter than 26 feet $28.75 $20.40 $11.63
Class 2 26 ft to shorter than 40 feet $78.25 $57.50 $27.63
Class 3 40 ft to shorter than 65 feet $127.75 $94.95 $43.63
Class 4 54 ft to shorter than 110 feet $152.75 $113.40 $51.63
Class 5 110 ft or longer $189.75 $141.15 $63.63
 Registration by Dealer $25.50   $10.63  

These fees include a $2.25 service fee and a $.50 FRVIS fee. Unless exempted, non-residents or aliens must pay $50 more for a commercial vessel license fee.

Vessels Exempted From Registration In Florida

  • Vessels that are only used and stored on private ponds or lakes
  • Vessels that have no motor and are less than 16 feet long
  • Vessels with documents from the United States government or the state of Florida and its political subdivisions
  • Those used as a lifeboat on ships
  • Non-motorized kayaks, canoes, and racing shells despite the length

How To Know If You Can Register Your Boat In Florida


To relieve yourself from legal fees and headaches, you can check the right website for boat registration number lookup. You will also be able to find the appropriate title.

Every vessel vendor is diligent enough to present the year, manufacture details, and relevant information to get the title and register your boat possibly. If you need clarification on some things, you can reach out to your local DMV.

Are There Other Ways In Getting The Title

Processing documents will be a bit easier when your vessel is stated as homemade. What you have should be shorter than 16 feet, and you need to fill out forms called HSMV 87002 and HSMV 82040 together with the necessary documents.

Don’t attempt this if the vessel has not been altered or worked upon. When stating a boat over 16 feet as homemade, it needs to go through an inspection by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

It’s not legal to disclose that your boat is homemade if it was manufactured. But you have to include substantial work outside the scope of manufacture when appealing for a homemade boat.

Is There A Need To Register Lifeboats

Although there’s no need to register lifeboats, you’ll need to do it if they have outboard motors as a precautionary measure. You may skip registration if they don’t have engines.

Things To Take Note On Boat Registration In Florida


All motorized vessels should go through the processes on how to register a boat in Florida with no title, and have all the required documents. Be a responsible boat owner; avoid being in a complicated situation.

You can have a satisfactory boating day if you’re registered and safe! Nothing can get in your way of enjoying the Florida sun.

Read more: Steps to register a boat in other states, such as:

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