Numbers and Decals on Vessels

Placement of TX Number and Decal on Vessels

validation decal and registration number on the starboard side ; registration number and validation decal on the port side

Expires on the last day of the month indicated.

  • The TX number must be painted on, or otherwise attached to, each side of the forward half of the vessel, in such position as to provide easy identification.
  • The TX number must read from left to right, be in BLOCK characters of good proportion not less than three inches in height and be of a color that contrasts with the background.
  • The numerals must be separated from the prefix and the suffix by hyphens or equivalent spaces such as the following examples: TX 0001 GG or TX-0001-GG.
  • The validation decal must be affixed in line with and three (3) inches towards the rear of the boat from the TX number.
  • The number printed on the decal must match the number listed on the certificate of number card issued for the vessel described on the card.
  • Vessels registered as antique boats are permitted to display the registration decal on the left portion of the windshield. In the absence of a windshield, the registration decal must be attached to the certificate of number and made available for inspection when the boat is operated on public water.

Decals on USCG Documented Vessels

  • May display ONLY the Validation Decal [not the Registration (TX) Number] on both sides of the bow of the vessel; and
  • Must maintain current USCG Documentation.

Texas Certificate of Number

A Certificate of Number ID Card is issued at the time of registration (with decals). A sample certificate of number ID card can be viewed online.

The certificate of number (registration), if required:

  • Must always be aboard and available for inspection by an enforcement officer;
  • Is valid through the expiration date shown on the certificate; and
  • Must also be aboard USCG Documented vessels that require Texas registration.

Homemade Boats

Homemade boats require an affidavit from the applicant as to the origin of the boat and proof of the materials used in the construction of the boat (i.e., invoices from marine and hardware dealers for parts, etc.). Homemade boats are required to be inspected and issued an hull identification number (HIN) by a TPWD game warden.

Hull Identification and Motor Serial Numbers

It is illegal to possess or intentionally sell, offer for sale, or purchase a vessel with a hull identification number or an outboard motor with a serial number that has been altered, defaced, mutilated, or removed. To acquire registration or title for a vessel or outboard motor with a serial number that has been altered, defaced, mutilated or removed, a sworn statement must be filed with TPWD describing the vessel or outboard motor, providing proof of legal ownership, and stating the reason for the destruction, removal, alteration or defacement of the number. This statement must be accompanied by a fee of $25.00 and an inspection certificate from a game warden stating the vessel or outboard motor has been inspected. This section does not apply to USCG Documented vessels.

Boat Sewage Disposal

Any boat with a permanently installed marine sanitation device (MSD) is required to obtain and MSD certification and display a certification decal if the boat is operated on any waters in Texas, including coastal waters up to three nautical miles. For certification and decal information contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or call (512) 239-0400.