Boat Registration Requirements
According to Michigan’s boat registration requirements, all boats in Michigan are required to be registered with the Department of State and must also display a registration decal. Once registered, boat owners will be provided with a Certificate of Number, which must be carried on board during boat operation and be available for inspection by law enforcement, at all times. The Certificate of Number will be valid for 3 years.
Michigan’s Boat Registration Exemptions:
- Privately owned boats that are less than 16 feet in length and propelled by oars or paddles.
- Privately owned, non-motorized canoes and kayaks, rafts, surfboards and swim floats, regardless of length.
- Boats registered in another state that are using Michigan waters for 60 days or less.
Boat Registration Number and Decal Placement:
- The numbers must be painted or otherwise permanently affixed to each side of the boat’s bow, as high above the waterline as possible (no other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow).
- The color of the registration number must contrast with the color of the boat.
- The numbers must be in plain block letters and be at least 3 inches high.
- The numbers must be read from left to right.
- The numbers and letters must be separated by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
- Decals are valid for 3 years and will expire on March 31st of the third year.
- Each decal must be placed on the boat’s bow, at the same level as the registration number.
- Decals must be attached 3 inches to the right of the registration numbers on both sides of the bow.
Michigan’s Boat Titling Requirements
All boats that are over 20 feet in length and all boats that have permanently installed engines, must be titled.
Other Registration Info
Boat owners must notify the Secretary of State within 15 days and surrender the Certificate of Number if:
- The boat is abandoned or destroyed.
- The boat is sold, or the ownership is transferred.
- There is a change of address.
If a Certificate of Number or registration decal is lost or destroyed, the boat owner must pay a fee and apply to the Secretary of State to obtain a replacement.