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How to get a boat title

In order to use New Jersey waterways, all boats more than 12 feet in length must be titled at a Regional Service Center or MVC Agency. The only exceptions are: ship's lifeboat, canoe, kayak, inflatable boat, surfboard, rowing scull, racing shell and tender/dinghy used solely for direct transportation between a vessel and shore. Typically, if you purchase a boat from a New Jersey dealer, it will be titled during the sales process. If a title was not issued at purchase, then you will need to take the following steps.

If your boat is 12 feet or less, you do not need to title it.

How to get an initial boat title
Boats must be titled within 10 working days of purchase or are subject to a fine. Titles are only issued at an MVC Agency. Complete the Application for Certificate of Title for Vessel [pdf] including:
  • Date of birth, Social Security Number and driver license number
  • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
  • Length, make and model, and type of boat
  • Hull identification number (usually located on rear starboard) and type of hull material
  • Type of motor and fuel
  • Primary use of the boat (pleasure or commercial)
  • If boat is financed, provide the address and corpcode of the lien holder. Original title will be sent there
  • Proof of ownership:
    • Notarized bill of sale
    • Notarized statement of receipt from the seller
    • Certificate of ownership by sworn affidavit or notary
    • MCO or valid registration or out-of-state title
Fee payment:
  • American Express®, MasterCard®, Visa®, check, money order or cash
  • $60 for standard boat
  • $85 for a financed boat

Sales and Use Tax for Boats & Vessels

Refer to the NJ Division of Taxation website for guidance on Sales and Use Tax for the purchase of boats and vessels.

Additional requirements for boats from out-of-state
If your boat isn't titled, you will have to show proof of ownership. You need to provide the same documents for titling and registration in addition to your driver license number and Social Security Number.

If it is titled, you will have to provide proof of ownership:
  • Notarized bill of sale
  • Notarizes statement of receipt from the seller
  • Valid registration or out-of-state title

How to title a homemade boat
To title and/or register a home made boat, visit your local MVC Agency with proof of identification and the following:
  • Original receipts for all parts purchased
  • Notarized statement outlining all construction details
  • Fee payment; $60 standard boat or $85 financed
  • If boat is greater than 12 feet (from bow to stern), it must be titled; therefore, OS/SS-27 form must be completed.
  • If boat is 12 feet or less (from bow to stern), it must only be registered; therefore, BA-51 form must be completed at the MVC Agency.
Note: After the MVC Agency reviews your documents, you will be instructed to have your boat inspected by the NJ State Police, Marine Division. Upon completion of inspection, return to the MVC Agency with the completed “HIN Investigation Report” form OS/SS-10A.