Boater Registration

Boat registration in California is completed through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Vessel registration can be completed by mail or in-person at a boater's local DMV office. Boat registration must be completed by the driver within 120 days of residing in California. New boat registration is required for all motorized vessels, sail-powered boats over 8 feet in length, and commercial vehicles weighing a minimum of five tons or measuring at least 30 feet in length. Boat registration requirements include a boat registration fee, which must be paid when submitting a boat registration application. A bill of sale for the vessel must also be presented with the application to prove ownership. A vessel registration number (CF number) will be given to a boater once these documents are received and processed by the California DMV. Boaters must showcase their CF number on both sides or the front of their boat to show proof of registration.

Renewing Your California Boat Registration

Vessel registration renewal is required every two years on an odd-numbered year. A California boat registration renewal notice is sent to a boater by mail within 60 days before the date their current registration will expire. The boat registration fee of $20.00 for renewal can be sent to the DMV by mail accompanied by the bottom of the renewal notice.

Replacing Your California Boat Registration

Undocumented vessels are required to be registered in the state of California. Boat registration replacement is required if a boater's current registration is damaged or missing. Boaters can fill out Form REG 156 and bring it to their local DMV with the $15.00 duplicate boat registration fee. These items can also be mailed to the California DMV office of Vehicle Registration Operations in Sacramento, California to replace a damaged or lost registration.