Boat Registration and Titling Requirements

In order to legally operate a boat in Delaware, you must obtain a Certificate of Number (registration card) and validation decals. The Certificate of Number must be on board and be available for inspection by an enforcement officer during boat operation.


  • Non-motorized boats.
  • Boats documented by the Coast Guard.
  • Boats that have been registered in another state or country and are using Delaware’s waters for 60 days or less.

The Certificate of Number and validation decals are obtained by submitting an application and fee to any authorized licensing agent. Boat registrations are valid for 1-3 years (at the owner’s choice).

Registration Numbers and Decal Placement:

  • The numbers must be applied as a decal, painted or permanently affixed to each side of the boat’s bow (boat owners are not permitted to display any other numbers in this area).
  • The number must be in bold block letters that are at least 3 inches high and in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat.
  • The numbers must be separated from the letters by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
  • The number must be read from left to right.
  • Validation decals must be:
    • Affixed on both sides of the boat.
    • Displayed within 6 inches of, and in line with, the registration number.
    • They must either precede or follow the registration number.
    • If they have expired, they must be removed. 

Other Boat Registration Info

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement must be notified within 15 days if:

  • The boat has been destroyed, lost or abandoned.
  • The boat has been stolen or recovered.
  • The boat owner has changed their address.
  • The boat owner transfers the ownership of the boat.

If you lose or destroy your Certificate of Number or decals, you must apply to the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife (or an authorized licensing agent) for duplicates and submit processing fees.