How To Register A Boat In South Carolina

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Bordered by North Carolina, South Carolina is known for its subtropical beaches and excellent weather. This coastal state is full of lakes and rivers. There are Lake Murray, Lake Greenwood, Lake Hartwell, Edisto River, Great Pee Dee River, Lake Jocassee, Santee River, Waccamaw River, and many more.

All these public water bodies are ideal destinations for leisure boat rides, swimming, fishing trips, and water sports. Be it a recreational boat or a small personal watercraft you own; you must go for its registration in South Carolina. To help the new boat owners along the way, we have answered some frequently asked questions.

What Type of Boats Must be Registered in South Carolina?

The South Carolina state government is pretty serious about boat registration and titling. According to federal law, all motorized boats are subject to boat registration in South Carolina. You can skip registration only for a few types of watercrafts such as sailboats, documented vessels, windsurfers, etc. If your watercraft is driven by oars or paddles, you may not need a boat registration in South Carolina. Apart from this, if your outboard motor of the watercraft features less than 5 horsepower, don’t worry about registration and titling in South Carolina at all.

What Information is Required to Register a Boat in South Carolina?

You will need to submit a few essential legal papers to the counter of the boat registration office. First, you must show the concerned authority your watercraft ownership certificate. If you don’t have one, you can make a watercraft ownership transfer affidavit or simply show them the bill of sale. In the case of motorized vehicles, the boat owners need to show the outboard motor number and purchase papers. If you are going for boat registration and titling, it would be better if you keep your identity proof and boating license with you.

How Much Does it Cost to Register a Boat in South Carolina?

For new registration, the fee is around 20 dollars. In case of an annual registration renewal, you will have to pay only 10 dollars. Suppose your boat is registered in some other state within the USA, and you wish to transfer the registration certificate, you will have to pay 20 dollars. For acquiring a boat title, the charge is 10 dollars. In case of duplication of your registration card or boat title, you must pay 5 dollars. Some excise tax will be levied on the purchase price. So, it is evident that registration cost is pretty low in the state of South Carolina.

Where Do You Go To Register Your Boat in South Carolina?

You must visit the South Carolina DNR office for boat registration and titling. You can give them a call at the number of 803-734-3857 for queries related to fees and others. Apart from this office, you can also go to the Driving Motor Vehicle Division of South Carolina to collect the registration application form. They will tell you where to go next for the further process of boat registration. They might want to see all the aforementioned documents for verification before issuing you the registration certificate. So, carry all of them with you.

Can You Mail Your Boater Registration Form in South Carolina?

Yes, you can email boater registration form to the email address of the SCDNR office. The department has an official website where their email address and contact numbers are provided. They even reply to boat owners’ queries over mail. If you want to complete the process of boat registration over mail, please send them the respective fee via net banking or money order.

Where Do You Have to Keep the Boat Registration Number in South Carolina?

To ply on South Carolina Public Waters, you must display your registration number on the forward bow part of the watercraft. Paint this number on both sides of the vessel. The number should be at least 4 to 6 inches tall. You can install some floodlight nearby the number for night visibility.

Where Do You Display Hull Identification Number in South Carolina?

The HIN is located on the stern, transom, or deck joint. Some people put this number on the inside of the watercraft as well. So, adjust all the boat furniture accordingly.

Once your boat registration is done, you can wander on the public waters of South Carolina freely. Please keep plenty of life jackets on your boat and follow the U.S. Coast Guard Water safety guidelines.




South Carolina Department of Natural Resources