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Florida Boating Registration and Licensure

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On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 1:09PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

If you are new to boat ownership in Florida, or if you are a non-resident boat owner, you are probably wondering about the registration and licensing requirements in the state. Here are some important tips on staying in compliance with boat registration, fees, renewals, boater license and safety course requirements in Florida waterways.

If your boat is a non-motor powered vessel less than 16 feet in length, it is not required to be registered or titled. However, if the vessel is 16 feet or more in length, it is required to be registered and titled. And, all vessels with any kind of motor must be titled and registered to be used on Florida's public waterways.

The state of Florida allows you 30 days from the day you purchase your boat to register it at the county tax office in the county where you reside, or where your vessel is located. Make sure to take with you:
• Completed registration application
• Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, or its equivalent.
• Receipt showing you paid the sales tax (if applicable).
• Fee payment.

Keep the registration certificate at hand at all times—and during the 30-day grace period after purchasing the vessel, be sure to keep your purchase receipt with you—when operating your vessel.

Registration fees fluctuate, depending on the length of the vessel, ranging from $14.25 for a 12-15 ft. vessel, up to $126.25 for vessel that is 110 ft. or longer. Many counties add additional charges, as well.

Registrations are valid one year. For privately owned boats, the yearly registration renewal period begins on the first day of the owner's birth month. For corporate-owned vessels, the annual registration period begins in June.

If you need to renew your registration, be sure to take with you the following items:
• Current registration
• Current decal or number
• Renewal card

There is also an option to renew your boat registration online, or call (866) GO-RENEW or (866) 467-3639 to renew by phone. Be sure to have the personal identification number printed on your renewal card available. There is an also an option to mail the required documents and payment to the county office for registration renewal.

For replacement of a lost registration, simply contact the county tax office and fill out a duplicate registration form, there is a small replacement fee.

For those who are under age 22 who intend to operate a boat in Florida, (including personal watercraft) with and engine of 10hp or greater, you'll need to have a Boating Safety Education ID Card which requires that applicants complete a certified course given by an approved third-party provider, or complete a course given by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Florida non-residents who don't have the equivalent of a safety ID from their home state may apply for a temporary certificate, for details call (850) 488-5600.

Florida does recognize valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time.


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