You might have noticed that spring training has started down in Florida and Arizona. It’s one of those reliable first signs of spring, like the return of robins or the need to crank up the AC again.

It’s also a reminder to check your boat’s registration status, so you and your vessel will be legal once you head out on the water again.

In Virginia, most boats need to be registered and titled with the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, a division of the Department of Wildlife Resources.  The registration is good for a period of three years, after which your boat’s registration must be renewed.

(At Lynnhaven Marine, we will assist our customers with registration and titling when we sell a new or used vessel. If we sold you your boat, check with us for the current status of your registration).

  • All motorboats in Virginia must be registered and titled. If the boat is used primarily in the state of Virginia, it must be registered here and not in some other state.
  • All sailboats over 18 feet in length must be titled in Virginia; no registration is required.
  • New watercraft must be registered before being used in the state.
  • Used watercraft with a current, valid registration may be operated for 30 days before the registration must be renewed with the current owner.
  • Owners bringing a watercraft into Virginia from another state have 90 days before they must register the vessel in Virginia.

You can download a copy of the registration and title form from the state here. You can return the application by mail to the state at Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400, Henrico, Virginia 23228. It typically takes about two weeks to process.

All the rules and regulations (and the associated fees) can be found at the state’s website, here.

The fees? Depends on your boat’s size.

  • Less than 16 ft: $27.
  • 16 up to 20 ft: $31.
  • 20 up to 40 ft: $42.
  • 40 ft and longer: $50.

If you are renewing your boat’s registration, you can do it online, and pay with a credit card.  Visit this page to get started.

While you’re dealing with pre-season, it might be a good time to enroll in a boating safety course, either for yourself, or anyone in the family who might operate your boat.

The state requires passage of a boating safety course for anyone who operates a boat of more than 10 HP, or for teens aged 14-15 who wish to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).

To fulfill the state requirements you can take

  • An online course.  Visit here for a list of approved courses.
  • A classroom course.  Here’s a list of approved locations.
  • A boating safety exam.  (for experienced boaters with general knowledge of VA boating rules and regulations)—Schedule of testing locations in Virginia. 

Once you’ve completed a course (and paid a $10 fee), you will receive a lifetime Boating Safety Education card.