Follow these steps to ensure that you’re legally registered to operate a boat in Maryland. 

The sparkling, deep waters in Maryland are some of the most gorgeous in the nation. With over 200,000 registered boats and more than 12,000 personal watercrafts on the water, spending a day out on the water is an integral, fun piece of many Marylanders lives. From waterskiing to fishing to swimming, Maryland water is a great place to be. 

But, boating in Maryland does come with strict safety, registration and titling requirements. Before you head out on the freshwater or the saltwater, check out our guide to boat registration in Maryland. 

How Do I Know If My Boat Needs to Be Registered? 

In Maryland, the following boats need to be registered:

  • Any motorized boats (both commercial or recreational)
  • Any boats that are used most in Maryland during a calendar year

What Boats Are Exempt From Boat Registration in Maryland?

The following boats and vessels are exempt from boat registration in Maryland:

  • Non-motorized vessels

How Do I Know If My Boat Needs to Be Titled in Maryland? 

In Maryland, you must title your boat alongside its registration.

How Do I Register and Title My Boat in the State of Maryland?

In Maryland, you may title and register your boat in person at a DNR Service Center, or you may mail in your application. You will need the following documents in order to apply for registration and titling of your boat:

  • A completed and signed DNR Form B-240
  • The original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
  • Original Certified/Notarized Bill of Sale (if the Certificate doesn’t include purchaser, purchase price, date of sale and signature of all owners)

In Maryland, all documents must clearly identify the vessel using hull identification number, assigned boat number or USCG boat documentation number.

How Much Does Boat Registration and Titling Cost in the State of Maryland?

To register and title your boat in Maryland, you will pay the following fees.

Registration Fee – 2 years:

  • over 16 ft. or over 7.5 hp $24.00
  • 16 ft. or under with 7.5 hp or under NO FEE
  • 2-year Documented Use Decal (documented vessels only) $10.00
  • Security Interest Filing Fee $15.00 (— remit only if a lien is to be recorded)

In addition, Maryland boaters must pay a 5% vessel excise task on the purchase price or fair market value of all vessels. There is a minimum tax of $5 and a maximum tax of $15,500.

How Do I Transfer Boat Ownership to My New Boat?

To transfer boat ownership, you will follow this process:

If the boat is registered in a title state:

  • DNR Form B-240
  • Original title
  • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale (if purchaser’s name, sale date or price is missing from the assignment of the title)
  • Original lien release if seller’s title shows a recorded lien.

If the boat is registered in a non-title state:

  • DNR Form B-240
  • Copy of out-of-state registration card
  • Original Certified / Notarized Bill of Sale
  • Original lien release if card or record shows a recorded lien

Will I Need to Take a Boater Safety Education Course?

In Maryland, all boaters born on or after July 1, 1972, will need to complete a boating safety course in order to operate any motorized boats. The certificate, which is non-renewable, must be carried by the boat operator at all times when operating the boat.

By taking a boating course such as BOATsmart!’s, you’ll be perfectly safe and ready to boat in Maryland. Recognized by the US Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, BOATsmart!’s course includes a fully narrated and engaging curriculum that’s as fun as it is effective. Since boaters operating their vessels without the proper certificate may receive a fine of up to $500, you’ll want to ensure that you’re prepared the right way.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Boat Registration in Maryland?

The boat owner must inform the DNR within 15 days of the boat being sold or destroyed.

If you are transferring boat ownership between family members, you are exempt from excise tax when you fill out this form.

In Maryland, you’re required to be a safe boater — so make sure you’re ready to hit the waters with a background in boating safety and a registered, titled boat. Boating in Maryland is fun and full of opportunities, as long as you stay safe and legal — so enjoy using BOATsmart! as your go-to partner for boating in Maryland.