Titles, Registration and Tax

Titling Requirements

Parks and Wildlife Code states:


a. The ownership of a vessel or of an outboard motor is evidenced by a certificate of title issued by the department, unless the vessel or the outboard motor is new.
b. The ownership of a new vessel or a new outboard motor is evidenced by a manufacturer's or an importer's certificate executed on a form prescribed by the department.
c. Separate certificates of title are required for vessels and for outboard motors.”

Effective January 1, 1994, all motorboats and all outboard motors must be titled. Also sailboats 14 feet and over in length must be titled.

New Requirements - September 12, 2016
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 33 Navigation & Navigable Waters, Section 174 will require the collection and recording of:

FEDERAL EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN) for companies/businesses/trusts/estates/other entities
(NOT Texas State Comptroller tax identification number)
to process the following transactions:

Purchasing Used Vessels/Outboard Motors: DO NOT purchase a used vessel/boat or outboard motor without receiving a title signed on the front and back along with a bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing them to act on behalf of the owner(s). Texas Parks and Wildlife is not authorized to register/title boat trailers, those are handled by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles through your local County Tax offices.

Exempted Vessels:

Registration Requirements

The following vessels/boats when on Texas public water are required to have current registration, including when docked, moored, or stored:

Registration is valid for a two-year period.

Exempted vessels:

Registration of USCG Documented Vessels

Effective January 1, 2004, vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard are required to have state registration.

USCG Documented Exempted Vessels:

Placement of TX Number and Decal on Vessels:

USCG Documented Vessels:

Certificate of Number (registration) ID Card

A Certificate of Number ID Card is issued at the time of registration (with decals).

Tax and Bill of Sale Requirements

Boat and Motor Tax:

TPWD is required by law to collect tax for vessels/boats (65 feet or less in length*) and outboard motors purchased in Texas or first used in Texas on or after January 1, 2000. The tax rate is 6.25% of the sales price. Tax is assessed at the time of registration/title transfer and is due within 20 days from the date of sale or date brought to Texas. Applications filed later than 20 working days are subject to tax penalties and interest. A bill of sale or invoice is required for every transfer of ownership. Trailers are handled through your local County Tax office and the price of the trailer must be separated from the price of the boat and motor. One of the following is acceptable to meet the bill of sale or invoice requirement:

*The purchaser of a vessel longer than 65 feet is required to pay sales and use tax to a permitted seller or directly to the Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts (not TPWD).

New Resident Tax - $15.00 New Resident tax is assessed (not sales tax) for owners bringing their previously titled or registered boat and/or outboard motor from another state into Texas.

Fees, Tax Calculator and Forms:

A fee chart (form PWD 1253), tax calculator (form PWD 930), and all titling and registration forms are available at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/forms/.

For more specific information and requirements for boating in Texas, please refer to the navigation links in the left column of this page.

Forms and Supporting Document Requirements for Specific Transactions

Vessels and Outboard Motors

These documents are in the Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open the files and is available as a free download.

The same information in the HTML format will be posted here soon.