All motorized vessels, commercial and private, must be registered and titled in Florida in order to operate on Florida’s public waterways. If you purchase a new or used vessel, you must register and title the vessel within 30 days of purchase.
Vessel registration is valid for one or two years, and the registration fee is determined by the length of the hull and other variables. The registration decal must be affixed to the port side of the vessel. Like motor vehicles, vessel registration expires at midnight on the owner’s birthday. For vessels titled in a business name, registration expires on June 30.
The following vessels are exempt from registration:
- Non-motorized vessels less than 16 feet in length;
- Non-motorized canoes and kayaks;
- Vessels that are not used on any public waterway and are only used on private lakes and ponds; or
- Vessels that are issued a valid registration by another state and are not stored or operated in Florida waterways for more than 90 days.
The Florida registration number issued to a vessel is permanent, even if the vessel changes ownership, as long as the vessel operates or is stored in Florida. The registration number must be painted or permanently attached to both sides of the bow.