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Boat Registration

Connecticut law requires that all boats with motors, regardless of size, and sailboats powered by sail alone, 19 1/2 feet or longer in length, be registered and numbered before launching. If you purchase a boat that is currently registered, you are responsible for seeing that it is registered in your name.

All vessels must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Evidence of ownership must be submitted at the time of registration. Upon receipt of the application and fee, an identification number will be assigned and a certificate of number/registration will be issued along with two validation decals. The registration will be valid until April 30 of the following year. Connecticut vessel numbers stay with the boat as long as it is registered in the state.

Normally you will receive a registration renewal from DMV early in the calendar year. If you do not register the boat for a year, you will not receive another renewal notice and you must go to a DMV office to renew your registration.

Position of Vessel Number and Decals

The numbers, which must be at least three inches high, contrasting in color to the background and of block form, must be painted on or attached to both the port and starboard bow so positioned as to be distinctly visible and legible from at least 100 feet away. The two validation decals must be placed two inches to the right of and in line with the assigned boat number. No other numbers and only current decals shall be displayed.

Certificate to Be On Board

A certificate of number/registration or certificate of decal/registration must be on board the vessel whenever the owner or any person authorized by the owner is aboard, except that rented boats may carry a rental agreement in lieu of a certificate.

Hull Identification Number

The Hull Identification Number (HIN) is a unique 12-14 digit number (numbers and letters) assigned by the manufacturer to boats built after 1972. (Like the Vehicle Identification Number / VIN on a car.) It is engraved in the fiberglass or on a metal plate attached to the upper right hand corner of the transom.

Owners of vessels manufactured after October 1, 1972 (including home built boats) that do not have a HIN can get a temporary registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) but they will be given a HIN Application form which must be processed through the DEEP before receiving their permanent registration. There is no charge for this service.

Content last updated April 13, 2015.
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