boating

Boat Registration


DNR Regional Service Centers will be closed November 26 - 28 2014, due to service reduction and the Thanksgiving Holiday.

What to do and where to go

Register & Title Your Vessel

* Please note: Boat renewals cannot be processed online. The request for DNRid# relates only to the purchase of the fishing boat decal or a Park Passport.


Frequently Asked...


How do I know if my vessel must be registered in Maryland?

Your vessel, whether commercial or recreational, must be registered in Maryland if it is:

  • Equipped with any kind of primary or auxiliary mechanical propulsion; and
  • Used in Maryland most in a calendar year.

Note: US Coast Guard documented vessels using Maryland waters are NOT exempt from the vessel excise tax.  When used principally in Maryland, documented vessels must display a documented use decal.

If your vessel was purchased in Maryland and will use Maryland waters a majority of the calendar year, you are liable for vessel excise tax and must register the vessel within 30 days of purchase to avoid assessment of penalty and interest.

If your vessel was purchased elsewhere or previously registered in another jurisdiction, is now in Maryland waters, and will use Maryland waters more than any other single jurisdiction during the calendar year, you are liable for vessel excise tax and must register the vessel within 30 days of entering Maryland waters.

If your vessel is duly registered in another jurisdiction but remains in Maryland waters more than 90 days in a calendar year, you may be liable for vessel excise tax unless you can prove principal use in another jurisdiction.

What is "principal use?"

8-701(p) of the State Boat Act

“State of principal use” means the jurisdiction on whose waters a vessel is used or to be used most during a calendar year, which is the period from January 1 through December 31.

“Use” means to operate, navigate, or employ a vessel.  A vessel is in use whenever it is upon the water, whether it is moving, anchored, or tied up to any manner of dock or buoy.  A vessel is also in use if it is kept in any structure in readiness for use.

When must I apply?

Vessel excise tax must be paid within 30 days of Maryland tax liability to avoid the assessment of penalty (10% of vessel excise tax due) and interest (1.5% per month).


Vessel in Disrepair at time of Purchase

If you are given a boat because it is no longer operational or is in very poor condition, or the purchase price is much lower than fair market value because of the boat’s current condition, be sure to title the boat in your name within 30 days of purchase. Refer to the What documents will I need? section on this webpage to ensure you have all of the required documents. The certified bill of sale should detail the condition of the boat and list the items that are not operational on the vessel. Photographs of the poor vessel condition may be required to confirm a much lower Fair Market Value. If you wait to title until work on the vessel is completed, vessel excise tax will be assessed against the higher value of the restored boat.


What documents will I need?

All documents must clearly identify the vessel by hull identification #, assigned boat # (ex: MD 1234 AB), or USCG documentation #.

Federal regulation no longer requires that the Department collect the Social Security number (SSN) for a vessel owner so long as date of birth and driver’s license information have been provided. The federal identification number (FEIN) is still required for trusts and businesses.

 

New vessel

  • DNR Form B-240
  • Original Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, and
  • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale if the Certificate of Origin does not contain the purchaser, purchase price and date of sale and signature of all owners.
    A certified bill of sale is a bill of sale that contains the following statement: "I declare and affirm under penalty of perjury that the facts in this bill of sale are true and correct". A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, purchase price and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).

New Vessel Purchased via Internet

When a vessel is purchased via the Internet, and is shipped with a manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO) that contains no signature or a preprinted signature, or purchaser is directed to a website to create the MCO, the following is required to establish ownership:

Vessels 12’ in length and smaller

  • DNR Form B-240
  • Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
  • Pencil tracing or photograph of Hull identification number
  • Evidence of payment

Vessels greater than 12’ in length

  • DNR Form B-240
  • Original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin Fully executed by the manufacturer
  • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale if the Certificate of Origin does not contain the purchaser, purchase price and date of sale and signature of all owners.

A certified bill of sale is a bill of sale that contains the following statement: "I declare and affirm under penalty of perjury that the facts in this bill of sale are true and correct". A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, purchase price and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).


Used vessel

  • Vessel is currently titled in Maryland
    • Original title (properly assigned – purchaser name, seller's signature and date, purchase price)
    • Original Bill of Sale if purchaser's name, sale date or price is missing from assignment of title
      • A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, amount of sale and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).

    • Original lien release if seller's title shows a recorded lien.


  • Vessel is currently titled in another state
    • DNR Form B-240
    • Original title (properly assigned – purchaser name, seller’s signature and date, purchase price)
    • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale if seller’s signature, purchaser’s name, sale date or price is missing from assignment of title
      • A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, amount of sale and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).

    • Original lien release if seller’s title shows a recorded lien


  • Vessel is registered in a non-title state:
    • DNR Form B-240
    • Copy of out-of-state registration card or a true test copy of that state’s official vessel record
    • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale
      • A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, amount of sale and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).

    • Original lien release if card or record shows a recorded lien


  • When previously U. S. Coast Guard documented
    • DNR Form B-240
    • Original/Certified Notarized Bill of Sale
      • A bill of sale must include the names of the buyer and the seller, date of sale, seller’s signature, amount of sale and vessel description (year, manufacturer, hull identification number and/or current registration number).

    • Photocopy of seller’s Certificate of Documentation
    • USCG Abstract of Title (contact U. S. Coast Guard at 1-800-799-8362)
    • Release of ship’s mortgage (if applicable), or
    • Notification of Deletion from Documentation


Documented vessel (for use decal and/or tax payment)

  • USCG stamped Bill of Sale that includes the selling price.
  • Photocopy of current Certificate of Documentation.
  • DNR Form B-240.


IMPORTANT NOTE (ALL BOATS): Verify that the hull identification number (HIN) engraved or embossed on the hull of your vessel matches the HIN recorded on your ownership documents. If they do not agree, contact a DNR Service Center for instructions.

Abandoned boat

8-722 of Maryland’s State Boat Act prescribes the process by which an individual may claim title to a vessel that has been abandoned on their property for more than 180 days (complete DNR Form B-117).

Instructions for Abandoned Boat Process

This process is not a remedy for an individual who has lost a vessel title or was not given a title when the vessel was purchased. In those instances, the purchaser should (a) contact the owner of record to secure a replacement title, which can then be duly signed over to the purchaser, or (b) present a court order that directs the Department to title the vessel in their name.

Homebuilt boat -- complete DNR Form B-104 and DNR Form B-240 – See criteria for registering a floating platform.

Where do I register my vessel?

Registration can be presented in person or mailed to one of the Maryland DNR Service Centers.

What fees will be due?
5% VESSEL EXCISE TAX imposed by 8-710.3(a) of the State Boat Act on the purchase price or fair market value of all vessels used principally in Maryland. Excise tax must be paid within 30 days of Maryland tax liability to avoid assessment of penalty and interest. There is a minimum tax of $5 and, effective 1 July 2013, a maximum tax of $15,000.

When the sale occurs through a licensed boat dealer, 8-716(a)(3)(i) of Maryland’s State Boat Act allows credit for a traded vessel. Vessel excise tax is assessed against the purchase price less the value of any vessel traded in as part of the consideration for the sale. Credit may not be given for any other trade (e.g. RV, motorcycle). The trade-in value may not exceed the value for the trade-in vessel as shown in the national publication of used vessel values adopted by the Department – the BUC Book.

When purchased within the last 3 years, the Bill of Sale or reassigned title establishes the purchase price of the vessel (including motors, spars, sails and accessories, but not the trailer). When more than 3 years have elapsed, the Department uses the BUC Book to determine current fair market value, using an average of the low and high retail value.

All vessel excise tax is deposited into the Waterway Improvement Fund, dedicated to improving Maryland’s waterways through dredging, the placement of navigational aids, the construction of boating access facilities, boater safety education and law enforcement.

8-716(f) of the State Boat Act allows reciprocity credit for excise or sales tax previously paid to another jurisdiction if:

  • The vessel was formerly titled or numbered in another jurisdiction; or
  • The vessel was formerly federally documented and principally used in another jurisdiction; and
  • The present owner paid a sales or excise tax on the vessel to the other jurisdiction (proof required – validated receipt, etc.); and
  • The jurisdiction to which the tax was paid would allow an equivalent exemption or credit for vessel excise tax formerly paid to the State of Maryland.

A member of the armed services serving on active duty in the State is exempt for one year. The exemption applies only to vessels currently registered elsewhere and brought into Maryland because of the duty transfer. New purchases are not exempt.

A vessel transfer between immediate family members is exempt from vessel excise tax so long as the vessel is registered in the State of Maryland and the transferor(s) previously paid Maryland vessel excise tax on the transferred vessel. Complete DNR Form B-105

A vessel placed with a Maryland licensed dealer or broker for resale is exempt from vessel excise tax provided (a) the vessel is titled or numbered in another state or is federally documented, and (b) the owner signs an affidavit that there will be no use of the vessel on the waters of the State other than for a sea trial.

$2 TITLE FEE

$24 REGISTRATION FEE

Vessels 16 feet in length or less and/or propelled by a motor of 7.5 hp or less must display a 2-year registration decal but are exempt from the fee.

The 2-year registration decal is valid for the calendar year in which it is issued and the subsequent year, expiring on December 31.

$10 DOCUMENTED DECAL (required of USCG documented vessels in lieu of the registration fee)

$15 SECURITY INTEREST FILING FEE (if a lien is to be recorded)

Checks or money orders payable to the "MD Department of Natural Resources" must be for the exact amount due.

How do I renew my registration?

The DNR Form B-201 A should be used when renewing the registration for boats already registered in Maryland only when the official renewal application cannot be located.

How do I get replacement title, registration card or decals?

In to order to obtain a replacement title, replacement registration card or replacement registration decals the DNR Form B-108 - Application for Replacement or Corrected Title, Registration or Decals will need to be completed and forwarded to any DNR Service Center either in person or by mail.

How do I correct the information on my boat title or registration card?

If any information on your boat title or registration card needs to be corrected the DNR Form B-108 - Application for Replacement or Corrected Title, Registration or Decals will need to be completed and forwarded to any DNR Service Center either in person or by mail.

What do I do when I sell my boat?

Vessel owners must notify the Department within 15 days if a vessel is sold or destroyed. Notification should include date and circumstances (purchaser name and address, amount of sale) and be forwarded to a DNR Service Center either in person, by fax, or by mail. Registration decals should be removed from the vessel if you will be requesting a refund of the second year’s registration fee ($12). Contact any DNR Service Center for Form 158-A Application for Refund, and submit along with the registration card and both decals to any DNR Service Center in the first year of the vessel’s two-year registration.



DNR BOATING FORMS (These are Adobe Acrobat files and require the free Acrobat Reader.)

What about my boat trailer?

Boat trailers are registered with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration 1-800-950-1682.

Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229

to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity