What are boat registration numbers?

What are boat registration numbers? In the USA, state governments maintain records of identification numbers that help them track the ownership of watercraft. When you register your boat, you receive boat registration numbers that you must place on your boat’s hull.

What are boat registration numbers?

What does boat registration accomplish?

Your state’s boat title service provides registration and titling services for reasons other than raising revenue for the government.

Legal owner

Your title and registration card, the documents you acquire from your state, establish you as the legal owner of your watercraft.


Your registration information assists authorities in their search for your vessel should someone steal it.


Highly visible, your boat registration number holds you accountable for the way you operate your vessel. Observers, such as other boat operators and police, may use your registration number to investigate incidents regarding the operation of your vessel.

Taxes and fees

Your registration number helps your state verify that you have paid the taxes and fees that qualify you to operate your boat. If you operate your watercraft with an expired registration card, you could face a penalty such as a fine.

What do boat registration numbers look like?

Boat registration numbers have three sections. First, you’ll see two letters that identify the state where you have registered your boat. If you move your boat to another state, you have the responsibility to register it with that state.

The second part of boat registration numbers includes four digits that help make your number unique.

Finally, you’ll see one or two letters that identify the type of registration. For example, public agencies, dealers, and civilian boats may have different letters in the third section of their registration numbers.

How do I use my boat registration numbers?

In addition to prominently displaying your registration number on the hull of your boat, you must always have your registration card with you.

Most of the time, you must also affix a registration decal to your boat so that enforcement officers can easily see whether your registration has expired.

More about boat title services

Learn more about boat title services right here at BoatTitleService.com.