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North Dakota Game and Fish Department Website Help Center

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Website Help Center

Watercraft FAQs

Watercraft Registration FAQs

Are boats titled in North Dakota?

No, North Dakota does not title watercraft.

Do the North Dakota Registration numbers stay the same when ownership is transferred?

Yes. The ND - _ _ _ - _ _ registration numbers stay the same when ownership is transferred.

How long is my registration good for?

We have a 3-year registration cycle. All watercraft expire at the same time. If you register or renew within the 3-year period, the fees are prorated.

Why did I get new registration decals when I transferred the boat in my name, but the current registration is still good?

The decals are numbered and are nontransferable. You receive a new decal number that coordinates with your registration.

Where do I get the ND registration number?

You can buy them, make them, or custom order them. However; regulations state the numbers and letters must be in contrasting color to the hull in plain vertical block letters at least 3 inches in height excluding any border, trim, outlining or shading, and must be maintained in a legible condition so that it is clearly visible in daylight.

Can I have 2 names on the registration?

No, each watercraft may be registered to one individual or business.

Do I have to be a ND Resident to register my watercraft in ND?

No. your watercraft must be registered in the state where it is principally used.

Do I need to register a watercraft with an electric trolling motor?

Yes. Watercraft propelled by any kind of motor must be registered.

Do I need to register my canoe, kayak, or other paddlecraft?

No. However, it is common to register them for the purpose of taking them to other states or obtaining ownership documentation.

Are motors titled or registered in ND?


Are boat trailers titled or registered in ND?


Do I need anything for my trailer if I travel out of state with my boat?

Yes. A Utility trailer license issued from the ND Department of Transportation.

What do I need to use the online registration/renewal system?

Renewals: The ND Watercraft Registration number and a credit or debit card. We can also direct debit from checking or savings accounts.

New Registrations: Purchase Invoice, Title, or Registration signed by the previous owner, and online payment.

Can the online registration system be used for new registrations or transfers?


Can I renew more than one watercraft at a time?


What if I need to change my address?

You may change your address while registering or renewing online, or you may update the profile on your account.

Do I need a new registration card if I change my address on a current registration.

Yes. You will need to contact our Licensing Department at 701-328-6335. Initial registration cards need to be destroyed once the updated card arrives.

How will I know my transaction went through online?

You will receive a receipt that includes your 10-day temporary registration. A confirmation email will be sent to the email you have on record. The watercraft in question will be listed as a pending or current on your account page.

How soon after registering online will I receive my new registration card and decals?

Renewals are mailed typically by the next business day.

New Registrations are reviewed for processing. You can expect to receive your registration in 7-10 business days.

What if I lost my current registration decals?

Replacement decals can be purchased online for $10. You need to login to your My account page and click renew watercraft. You will then see the option to purchase replacements. You will receive a new registration card and decals by mail. Destroy your original registration card once the new card is received.

Watercraft Selling FAQs

I’m selling my watercraft, what do I need to do?

  1. Sign the back of your registration card & provide a bill of sale listing the boat, motor and trailer with your name, address, signature, and date.
    • If you are selling to someone out of North Dakota, they need to check the regulations of the state they intend on registering it in.
  2. Change of ownership needs be reported to the department within 15 days.
  3. Decals are nontransferable.

Watercraft Purchasing FAQs

I am purchasing a watercraft, what do I need?

  1. Register the watercraft online with the required documentation and payment.
    1. Purchasing from a Business: Purchase Invoice and proof of Taxes Paid Receipt or Tax-Exempt Document.
    2. Purchasing from an Individual: Registration Card or Title.
    3. *Recommend also getting a Bill of sale indicating the boat, motor and trailer with the names, addresses, signatures, and dates of both parties.
  2. Registration Numbers:
    1. ND Watercraft Registration numbers stay with the watercraft as long as it’s registered in North Dakota, however you will need to remove the previous owner’s decals. Your new decals will need to be applied to a clean, dry surface.
    2. New Watercraft are issued a new ND registration. It is the owner’s responsibility to display the registration number on either side of the bow.
  3. Registration Cards and Decals are mailed to the watercraft owner.
  4. Apply decals and carry the registration card aboard the watercraft.

Watercraft Taxes FAQs

Do I pay sales tax on my watercraft if I bought it from an individual?

Watercraft purchased from an individual not in the business of buying and selling watercraft is considered a casual sale and is not subject to state and local sales tax.

Do I pay sales tax on my watercraft if I bought it from a business?


Where do I pay my watercraft purchase sale tax to?

Office of State Tax Commissioner:
600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 127
Bismarck, ND 58505-0599