Boat Registration Requirements:

To legally operate a motorized boat in the state of New Mexico, you must obtain and carry a Certificate of Number on the boat during operation.

A Certificate of Number can be obtained through the Motor Vehicle Division by submitting the required documentation and fees. Upon application, boat owners will receive their Certificate of Number and decals.

Certificates of Number are valid for three years, and expire on December 31st of the third year. Additionally, the MVD must receive the renewal for a registration within 60 days of the old registration expiring. The registration number will stay assigned to that boat for it’s lifetime, unless the boat is destroyed, abandoned or is registered in another state.


  • Boats that have been federally documented by the Coast Guard.
  • Motorized boats from another state or country that are temporarily using New Mexico waters, for a period of less than 90 consecutive days.
  • Motorized boats owned by the U.S. government, or by the state of New Mexico, or any subdivision of those governments.

Boat Registration Number and Decal Placement:

  • Numbers must be applied as a decal, painted or permanently affixed to the forward half of each side of the boat (boat owners are not permitted to display any other numbers in this area).
  • The registration number must be in bold block letters that are at least three inches high and in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat.
  • The numbers in the registration number must be separated from the letters by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
  • The numbers must be read from left to right.
  • Validation decals must be affixed to the port (left) side of the boat and must be six inches to the right of the registration number.
  • These placement requirements also apply to personal watercraft (PWCs).

Other Boat Registration Information

If a boat is destroyed, sold, or abandoned, the owner of the boat must notify the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) within 15 days. If a boat owner changes their address, they must provide the MVD with their new address, and pay a fee to receive a new Certificate of Number with the updated address.

If a boat transfers ownership, the new owner must obtain a new Certificate of Number before they can operate the boat.

Titling Requirements

All boats being operated in New Mexico must be titled at a fee of $10. Boat owners are required to apply for a title within 30 days of transferring a boat into their name or purchasing a boat.

For boats that must be registered, the Certificate of Number will not be issued until the boat is titled. This applies for registration renewals.

Titling fees also include excise tax.

New Mexico’s Boat Registration Fees:

  • Class A (boats less than 16 feet in length): $28.50
  • Class 1 (boats 16-26 feet in length): $36
  • Class 2 (boats 26-40 feet in length): $43.50
  • Class 3 (40-65 feet in length): $51
  • Boats greater than 65 feet in length: $66

Note: There is an excise tax (5% of the sales tax) that is only applicable to motorized boats and sailboats that are 10 feet in length or greater.