TPWD Implements New Marine Dealer/Boat Registration Rules

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has begun implementing new Marine Dealer and Boat Registration rules in order to comply with House Bill 2926, passed during the recent legislative session. Some of the new rules address the following issues:

  • License regulations for Marine Dealers, Distributors, and Manufacturers.
  • Registration decal placement for specific circumstances.
  • Defining acceptable situations for the issuance of bonded tiles for vessels or outboard motors.

"This legislation provided administrative cleanup and expansion to laws that protect the consumer and provide for the collection of existing fees outlined by law," said Frances Stiles, manager of boat titling and registration at TPWD.

There are a variety of new rules. Some began to be enforced Jan. 1, and some will start on March 1. Following is a breakdown by those dates of some new key rules.

Jan. 1, 2004:

  • Owners must register U.S. Coast Guard-documented vessels with TPWD and must display a (registration) validation decal. Registering a U.S.Coast Guard documented vessel requisites include:
  • An Application form from TPWD (Form PWD 143);
  • Current USCG Documentation certificate (or copy);
  • Verification of sales tax payment (if acquired after Oct. 1991);
  • Payment of (2-year) registration fee to TPWD.
  • Exempt vessels include US Coast guard documented vessels exceeding 115 feet long, and documented commercial vessels engaged in coastal shipping.
  • For antique boats, the registration decal may be placed on the windshield. If the boat does not have a windshield, the decal may be attached to the wallet-sized certificate of number and carried on board.
  • There will be a new "Bonded Title" process, with a title fee of $35. This security bond must be purchased by the owner and provides another avenue for the consumer to transfer ownership when there is lack of documentation, like a non-signed title transfer.

March 1, 2004:

  • There will be mandatory licensing process for all marine dealers and an increase in the license fee from $130 to $500. The new process allows Game Wardens to inspect records held by anyone selling boats and motors.

"In the past, we have not had a tool to monitor unethical business practices in the industry — it was a voluntary system but they didn’t have to buy a license if they didn’t want to," said Alfonso Campos, Chief of Marine Enforcement at TPWD. "Effective March 1, a license is required if the business sells five or more boats or outboard motors during a calendar year."

Campos said it’s difficult to estimate how many people were actually doing business as Marine Dealers, since it’s been a voluntary licensing program. There are about 1,700 Marine Dealer’s Licenses issued in Texas.

For more information, call Frances Stiles at (512) 389-4860 or Campos at (512) 389-4624.