You cannot legally own or operate a watercraft in South Carolina without a boat title. Fortunately, when you buy a new or used boat from an authorized marine dealer, the dealer will usually take care of your boat title service. But what if you buy a boat used off Craigslist or from the side of the road? You’re going to ask us, “How do I title a boat in SC?”
We’re here to help.
How do I title a boat in SC?
First, you need to know that you do not need to pay a third-party boat title service to get your SC boat title.
You’ve seen their signs all over Liberty, SC, Central, SC, Easley, SC, Powdersville, SC, Pendleton, SC, Anderson, SC, Norris, SC, and elsewhere. Now, let me ask you a question: Do you want to pay for all those “Boat Title Service” signs or would you rather just pay for your boat title?
You can choose to pay a third-party boat title service $125 or more, in addition to your taxes and fees, or you can do it yourself for free.
Contact SCDNR Boat Title Service Yourself
Begin titling your boat in SC by contacting the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The SCDNR’s boat title service telephone number is 803-734-3447.
Note: You may see a “boat title expert” tell you that the SCDNR phone number is something different. You can trust us because we get our information directly from SCDNR. To inspire your confidence, see the screenshot from the official SCDNR website:
If you live near Columbia, SC or Charleston, SC, you can easily drive to your SCDNR boat title service to get your paperwork done in person, while you wait.
Sadly, the SCDNR office in Clemson, SC does not process boat titles.
Pay a third-party boat title service
You can pay a third-party boat title service a minimum of $125 plus your county and state taxes and fees to have them do your boat title for you.
Here’s why you shouldn’t use boat title services in Upstate South Carolina:
- Unreliable. They will only do your title if they have enough other customers to justify their trip to Columbia.
- Time Consuming. If you use the boat title service in Liberty, SC, you can expect to pay a lot in terms of time:
- Try to call the phone number you saw on the sign. Half the time (or more) nobody answers. They use an old-fashioned answering machine, so they may or may not receive your message and call you back.
- Explain your situation to the Liberty Boat Title Service.
- Schedule a time to visit boat title services in Liberty SC.
- Did we tell you about the vicious dog?
- Commute to Liberty to fill out your paperwork. (Why not fill out your paperwork on your computer at home?) Expect to spend at least two hours.
- You’ll have to listen to arguments between an old man and an old lady.
- You’ll have to deal with confusion because they don’t know how to do your boat title service.
- You’ll sit around waiting as they service customers from their other, unrelated business.
- You’ll watch and listen to them call the phone number (803-734-3447) to ask SCDNR questions that you could ask yourself.
- You’ll hear endless stories (will you think some of the stories are racist?), wasting your time.
- It’ll take forever for you to wait for them to handwrite your application (do you think their handwriting is legible to SCDNR?).
- You’ll have to go get cash to pay them up front (Do you realize how far away the nearest bank is to the Liberty boat title service?).
- You’ll pay at least $125 to the boat title service besides your state and county boat title taxes and fees.
- You’ll struggle to nail them down on a date and time they will have your boat title available.
- Next, you’ll wonder what’s going on with your boat title service.
- Did they actually get your boat title processed as they promised? They probably didn’t.
- Will they answer the phone when you call? Maybe. Maybe not.
- Did they make errors on your paperwork? It happens.
- Did someone else pick up your boat title by accident? After all, they leave watercraft and outboard motor titles and registrations outside, insecure, unsupervised outside their basement door.
- Commute back to Liberty SC to, hopefully, pick up your boat title and registration.
- How long will that take?
- Will you have to deal with the dog again?
- Was your boat title processed correctly?
- What happens when you find a mistake?
A third party boat title service might cost you an average of 4 hours in addition to the $125 (or more) service fee. Add to that the cost (in terms of mileage and vehicle wear and tear) of at least two round trips to Liberty South Carolina.
How much is your time worth?
Buy the Boat Title Services for South Carolina eBook
For less than $15, you’ll instantly download our eBook, Boat Title Services for South Carolina. Our book takes you step-by-step through the boat title service process.
Our eBook contains direct links to SCDNR resources that include fillable forms that you complete on your computer or smartphone.
We’ll tell you how to calculate your taxes and fees, what forms to submit and how to mail your watercraft and/or outboard motor title application to SCDNR.
We make accessing SCDNR boat title service easy and painless. You’ll have 60 days to receive your boat title. In the meantime, you can operate your boat risk-free.
Get Boat Title Services for South Carolina. You’ll check out directly with Gumroad (our payment processor) and instantly download the book. You’ll get started right away, save money, and quickly get your boat and outboard motor title and registration.
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