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Delaware law requires the registration of all motorboats, including those powered by electric motors, if Delaware is its state of principal use. All motorboats launched from tidal access areas administered by the Division of Fish & Wildlife must be registered in Delaware or have a valid Tidal Access Boat Ramp Certificate.
Division of Fish & Wildlife
89 Kings Highway
Dover, DE 19901
Note: There is a new boat registration application in place for use starting January 15, 2020.
There are several ways to register your boat or purchase a Tidal Access Boat Ramp Certificate.
Fill out and return a boat registration application.
Register in person at one of these Delaware boat license agents.
Renew your existing boat registration, change your address, or get duplicate registration cards and decals online.
Print, complete and mail-in a boat ramp certificate application.
Registration numbers provide identification for the return of stolen or found boats. Registration also helps locating persons involved in boating accidents, identifying vessels requesting assistance, and helps identify vessels violating the law. Registration fees are used to fund resource protection, educational programs, access areas and their maintenance, and fund safety patrols.
When a vessel is in use, the vessel’s registration card must be on board. Boaters stopped by Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police who do not have a valid registration card on board may be issued a ticket. It is the responsibility of the vessel’s operator (not the owner) to be sure the vessel is registered, has all required safety equipment, and that it is being operated in a safe manner.
A vessel must be registered in its “State of Principal Use.” That is the state on whose waters the vessel is used or to be used most during a calendar year. Delaware regulations state that if the vessel is to be used, docked, or stowed on the waters of this State for over 60 consecutive days, Delaware is its “State of Principal Use.”
If the boat is titled in another state the original title must be submitted and will be kept. If the boat comes from a registering state then the registration is required with a notarized bill of sale. If the boat is new, the manufacturer’s original certificate of origin (MCO) must be submitted. All paperwork must include the vessel hull identification number. If the boat is currently registered in Delaware, the old registration card is required with a notarized Bill of Sale including a description of the boat. A notarized bill of sale is not needed if both buyer and seller appear in person with picture IDs.
Homemade boats must be registered at the Dover Office (initial registration only). Copies of invoices for materials, builder’s notarized statement with description and a picture of the vessel, and witness notarized statement regarding builder and description of vessel must be provided.
In cases involving a deceased owner, registrants will need a copy of the Death Certificate, short form of the will stating the administrator, and if sold, a notarized bill of sale from the estate.