October 20, 2017

Boat Registration

Boat Registration

Tennessee law requires that all mechanically powered vessels (including documented vessels) and all sailboats which are principally used in Tennessee must be registered. Mechanical propulsion includes electric trolling motors but does not include boats powered only by oars or paddles. Boats which require registration must be properly registered before using them upon any public water of Tennessee. Currently registered boats from other states may use Tennessee waters for a period not to exceed 60 consecutive days. Exception: Sailboats brought into Tennessee by persons from states that do not require numbering of sailboats are exempt from registration provided that Tennessee is not the state of principal use and that the vessel will not be used on Tennessee waters over 60 consecutive days.


Registration Fees

Registration fees are determined by the length of the boat. The vessel may be registered for one, two or three years upon option by the owner. However, if an owner acquires another boat, there is no transfer of fees from one boat to another.

Vessel Fee Category
1 Year
2 Years
3 Years
16 feet and under
$13 (10)
$24 (19)
$35 (28)
Over 16 feet to less than 26 feet
25 (20)
48 (38)
71 (56)
26 feet to less than 40 feet
38 (30)
72 (57)
107 (84)
40 feet and over
51 (40)
97 (76)
142 (112)
Dealer / Manufacturer
32 (25)
64 (50)
95 (75)









How to Register

Persons who wish to register a boat must complete a registration form, available through a county court clerk’s office or from the dealer that sold you the boat.


Initial Registration: The Tennessee Department of Revenue requires that boats which have never been registered before must show certification that their sales tax was paid when purchased. The owner needs to have the appropriate county court clerk’s office or boat dealer stamp on the application verifying that the tax was paid. The registration form is then mailed to or taken to the address shown on the form for processing.


Registered Boats transferred from one individual to another: Follow the same process as described for previously unregistered boats above. If a dealer is not involved, the county court clerk’s office will require a notarized bill of sale from the individuals involved.


Renewing a registration that does not involve a change of ownership: You may renew instantly by going to any business that sells TWRA hunting and fishing licenses. You must have the boat registration TN number and it is very helpful to have your TWRA ID number with you. You will receive a temporary registration which will allow you to operate your boat until your new decals and registration card arrive by mail, in about 2 weeks.


Registration by Dealers or Manufacturers: Dealers or manufacturers may apply for registration which can be transferred from one vessel to another. A copy of the business license and sales tax number must accompany the application for a dealer or manufacturer number. Such vessels are to be used for demonstration purposes only and more than one vessel may not be operated simultaneously with the same number. In addition, vessels being demonstrated must have the Certificate of Number on board and the registration number must be correctly displayed. However, such vessels may display the number by having it attached to removable signs which can be temporarily but firmly attached to the vessel.


Source: http://www.state.tn.us/twra/boatregistrations.html