You are currently viewing How to Register a Boat in Georgia (2023)

All mechanically-propelled vessels must be registered in Georgia. In addition, all sailboats over 12 feet must be registered. Registration is done by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Boats that are not powered such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rubber rafts are exempt from registration.

Temporary boat registration is available for boats that have a valid hull identification number and for boats manufactured before November 1, 1972. Boats that are registered in another state can be used on Georgia’s rivers and lakes for up to 60 days. After that, the boat must be registered in Georgia.

All mechanically-propelled watercraft regardless of length and sailboats over 12 feet must be licensed in Georgia by the Department of Natural Resources. Boats that are registered in another state may operate for 90 days without being registered.

We have a national database of state boat registration requirements.

Boats That Must Be Registered in Georgia

You must have a Georgia Certificate of Boat Registration and a validation decal to legally operate your boat or personal watercraft on public waters in Georgia. These decals are issued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Boats that must be registered are:

  • All mechanically-propelled vessels
  • Sailboats over 12 feet in length

The only exceptions are:

  • Sailboats under 12 feet in length
  • Canoes, kayaks, rowboats and rubber rafts that have no mechanical propulsion (i.e., are paddled, poled, oared or windblown)
  • Boats operated exclusively on private ponds or lakes

Required Information

Georgia boat owners must provide the following information when register a boat:

  • registration number
  • hull identification number
  • length
  • make
  • year
  • construction material.

These documents must be provided to the GA DNR at the time of registration:

You may also need these documents, depending on the circumstances:

New Vessels: A legible copy of the of the Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin
Out-of-State Registrations: A legible copy of the title if coming from a Title State OR a copy of out-of-state Registration Card if the vessel is from a non-titling state is required.
Homemade Vessels: Require a HIN number. If no HIN Number, then a DNR HIN inspection is required before the HIN will be issued.

Georgia certificates of Boat Registration are valid for 3 years. They expire on the last day of the boat owner’s month of birth. You can find the expiration date on the certificate and the decals provided by the DNR.

Fees to Register Your Boat in GA

The Georgia DNR requires payment of all fees at the time of boat registration. Boat owners in Georgia must pay the following fees.

Boat LengthRegistration Fee
Boats <16 feet in length$35
Boats 16 feet to <26 feet in length$70
Boats 26 feet to <40 feet in length$140
Boats 40 foot and over in length$210
Marine Toilet Certificate with boat registration$5
Standalone Marine Toilet Certificate$15

Other Fees

  • Duplicate Registration: $11
  • Late fee for renewal of a lapsed registration (same owner/no transfer): $10
  • $10 Transaction Fee (mail, phone, online)
  • $8 Transaction Fee (online renewals)

The RMV charges $15 for watercraft titles plus an issuing fee of $7.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Register Your Boat in Georgia?

You can register your boat with the Georgia DNR in four ways:

  1. Online: This is the fastest and preferred method. Create an account at and upload scanned copies of all forms and documents
  2. Email: The GA DNR accepts documents via email: [email protected]. Be certain to provide all relevant information if you’re sending information via email. Payment will have to be made online.
  3. Fax: Believe it or not, you can still send documents via facsimile. The fax number is 678-515-9470
  4. US Postal Service: You can submit your registration documents in the mail. Mailing documents to: GA Dept. of Natural Resources PO Box 934943 Atlanta, GA 31193-4943

Mail your application and payment to:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 934943
Atlanta, GA 31193-4943

Georgia will mail your decals and registration card within two weeks of submitting all forms and making payment.

Does GA Require Boat Insurance to Register a Boat?

Georgia does not require a boat-owner to carry boat insurance. Depending on your homeowners insurance policy, the theft of your boat while it’s on your property may be covered. However, this isn’t always the case and you should check your policy.

One thing to think about – just because you aren’t required to have insurance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it.  Your boat is a major investment, and, just like your house or car, should be protected. Another thing to consider, boating accidents can be expensive, especially if someone is injured. Read our article about boating insurance to learn more.

Other Information

Georgia License Numbers

You are required to display your boat registration numbers on both sides of the forward half of  your boat. No other numbers should be displayed on the front half of the boat. Each number must be block style lettering that is 3-inches tall. The state requires the following:

  • Number must be painted, decaled or otherwise affixed to both sides of the bow
  • Number must read from left to right on both sides of the bow
  • Number must be in at least three-inch-high block letters
  • Numbers color must contrast with its background
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen
  • No other numbers may be displayed
  • Decals must be displayed on each side of the bow

GA Registration Renewal

Boat licenses in Georgia are valid for three calendar years. They expire on the last day of the boat owner’s birthday month. Renewals can be done online as noted above.

Hull Identification Numbers

Georgia requires that the hull identification number (HIN) be displayed on all recreational boats manufactured after November 1, 1972. As the boat owner, you are responsible for affixing the HIN to your boat if the number was assigned by the DNR, or if the original plate is missing.

Your hull identification number must be permanently affixed by carving, burning, stamping, embossing, molding, bonding, or otherwise permanently affixing it to the boat. If your HIN number is on a plate, the plate must be securely fastened so that its removal would normally cause some scarring of or damage to the surrounding hull area. The letters of your HIN must be one-fourth of an inch high or larger.

Useful Links and Resources to Help You Register Your Boat

Vessel Registration Application
Vessel Renewal Application
Bill of Sale Form
Affidavit of Vessel Ownership Form
Abandoned Vessel Package
Default of Security Interest/Transfer Statement Form
Affidavit of Inheritance Form
Notification of Sale, Theft, Recovery, Destruction or Abandonment of GA Registered Vessel Form

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.