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.

Purchasing Used Vessels/Outboard Motors: DO NOT purchase a used vessel/boat or outboard motor without receiving an original title (signed on the front and back) along with a signed bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative. If a legal representative signs the title or bill of sale for the recorded owner(s), you must obtain a copy of the documentation authorizing the legal representative 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.

Vessels Exempted from Titling:

Registration Requirements

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

A Texas boat registration is valid for two years.

Vessels Exempted from Registration:

Registration of USCG Documented Vessels

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

Exempted USCG Documented 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). The certificate of number (registration), if required:

Tax and Bill of Sale Requirements

Boat and Motor Tax:

TPWD is required by law to collect tax for vessels/boats (115 feet or less in length) and outboard motors purchased in Texas or brought into 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 45 working days from the date of sale or date brought to Texas. Applications filed later than 45 working days are subject to tax penalties and interest. A signed 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 vessel/boat and motor. One of the following is acceptable to meet the bill of sale or invoice requirement:

New Resident Tax - $15.00. New Resident tax is assessed (not sales or use tax) for owners who previously resided in another state who are bringing their previously titled or registered boat and/or outboard motor from that other 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 online.

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.