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Boaters Reminded About Registration, New Web Renewal Service Available
AUSTIN, Texas — Boaters gearing up for summer fun on the water in Texas are reminded about the need for boat registration and boat and outboard motor titling. Also, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a new Web service that started in March which allows boat owners to renew online.
Boat owners can now eliminate the drive and renew an existing boat registration listed in their name using a credit card online. They can also update their address and order additional ID cards when renewing online. This service is available to boats titled and registered through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but is not available to boats documented (titled) through the United States Coast Guard, as they must provide proof of current documentation for registration.
Boat owners can also register by providing all forms and supporting documents, any required application fees, and any boat/outboard motor taxes at TPWD headquarters in Austin or any of the 27 TPWD law enforcement (game warden) field offices throughout the state or at participating county Tax Assessor-Collector Offices. To find participating offices, check the TPWD Web site.
Most boats are required by law to have current registration when on Texas public water, including vessels that are docked or moored. Texas registration is required for motorized boats of any length (including those with trolling motors), sailboats 14 feet in length or longer or sailboats with auxiliary engines, plus U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels.
Exempted boats that are not required to register include all non-motorized canoes, kayaks, rubber rafts (regardless of length) and similar craft if they are paddled, poled, or oared; as well as sailboats under 14 feet in length when windblown; USCG documented commercial vessels used in coastal shipping; and USCG documented vessels exceeding 115 feet in length.
Most boats are also required to be titled in Texas, including all motorized boats of any length and all sailboats 14 feet in length or longer or any sailboat with auxiliary engines. All internal combustion (gasoline/diesel powered) outboard boat motors must also be titled.
Current boat registration fees range from $30-to-$90 per vessel, with higher fees for longer vessels. Registration and titling fees are proposed to increase, but the change wouldn’t take effect until Sep. 1.
Here are few helpful reminders that may prevent problems for boat owners:
- Purchasing a boat from an individual? Check the ownership information first, it’s easy to do and free. You can see whether the boat has a title and determine who is listed as the owner and if that matches to the person (or their legal representative) that you are buying the boat from. Avoid buying a boat with existing problems by determining is a lien exists and whether it has been released by the bank. Avoid situations noted on the record where an issue exists that will prevent a smooth transfer of ownership. Remember, when a title has been issued, you’ll need the seller to provide the title with the purchaser’s name and address listed on the back of the title and a bill of sale to complete the transfer into your name.
- Didn’t get your registration renewal notice? Check the ownership information to see if you need to update your address. Providing an updated address is free and easy by using TPWD form PWD 143-M (boats) or PWD 144-M (outboard motors). All forms may be downloaded online or picked up at a registration office.
- Texas experiences all kind of weather events — did a boat wash up on your property during the most recent hurricane or flood? Use the ownership information to connect with the owners.
- Check the documents before making the trip — Just moved to Texas? Inherited a boat? Selling as a result of divorce? Won a boat in a raffle? Titling a homemade boat? And the list goes on. Before making a drive to one of the offices, you can check to see what documents are needed by viewing the "Requirements for Specific Transactions for Vessels and Outboard Motors". Summarized graphs with detailed explanations are available on the TPWD Boat Ownership Web page.
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