Boat Registration and Titling Requirements in Hawaii
According to Hawaii’s boat registration requirements, to operate a boat in Hawaii, your boat is required to have a Hawaii Certificate of Number and registration stickers.
Hawaii’s Boat Registration Exemptions:
- Human-powered craft (non-motorized).
- Boats that are 8 feet in length or less and that are propelled by sail only.
- Boats that are used exclusively for racing.
- Boats that have been registered in another state or country, and are being used on Hawaii waters for 60 days or less.
- Federally documented boats.
- Boats owned by the United States government.
- A boat’s lifeboat (so long as it is only used for lifesaving purposes).
- Boats that have a valid, temporary Certificate of Number.
The Certificate of Number must be carried on board during operation and must be available for law enforcement to inspect.
You can obtain a Certificate of Number and registration stickers by submitting an application form and paying a fee to the Hawaii Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. Fees will vary.
You must be able to provide the following information when registering your boat:
- Proof of boat ownership.
- Personal I.D. (i.e. driver’s license or Hawaii I.D. Card).
- Boat registration form.
Once registered, you’ll be provided with a registration certificate, a boat decal and a Certificate of Number.
Expiration of Registration:
Your Certificate of Number is valid for 1 year and can be renewed at any time without penalty, for up to 90 days before the expiration date.
Number and Decal Placement:
- The registration number must be painted or permanently affixed to each side of the forward half of the boat.
- The number must be read from left to right.
- The number may not be placed on the underside of a flared bow where it cannot be seen by another boat, or from shore.
- The letters and numbers of the registration number must be separated by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
- Stickers displaying the current registration must be placed on each side of the boat, 3 inches aft (towards the stern) of the number, and directly in line with it.
- The registration number must be in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat.
- The numbers must be maintained, be clearly visible, and be legible at a distance of 100 feet.
- The numbers and letters must be at least 3 inches in height, and in block letters.
- No other numbers, letters or devices may be placed near the state number.
- Boat owners who have applied for registration are able to operate their boat so long as they have a valid temporary Certificate of Number on board during operation.
- Before a boat operator can obtain a mooring permit from the HDLNR, they must first register their boat and have proof of liability insurance.
- If the Certificate of Number or registration sticker is lost or damaged, you must apply to the HDLNR to obtain a new one within 7 days (and pay a fee).
- The owner of a registered boat must notify the HDLNR within 7 days if any of the following occur:
- The owner of the boat changes their phone number or home address.
- The boat is sold, destroyed or abandoned.
- Owners of trailered boats must pay an annual fee for a boat ramp permit decal at the time of boat registration or renewal. You must have a boat ramp permit decal before your boat trailer may be operated at a state ramp. The boat ramp permit decal must be affixed to each side of the forward end of the boat trailer’s tongue.