Boat owners: Register vessels now with DMV before the summer rush

Summer is starting. Boaters can enjoy the open waters of Long Island Sound or navigate the Housatonic River. They can troll for fish on ponds. They can motor a pontoon boat or use a personal watercraft around a lake.

They also can avoid waiting in line at a state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. By going now to get a new registration or any needed assistance for a renewal, boat owners can avoid the traditional pre-July Fourth rush to have vessels ready for the summer season.

At the beginning of this traditional start of summer vacations, many boaters suddenly remember they forgot to satisfy the legal registration requirement with the DMV.

They hurry to DMV offices where the registrations are done and can meet a slow-moving line packed with others who also forgot or procrastinated.

Enjoy the water, not waiting in line

“We want to remind boat owners — enjoy your boat and get it registered early to avoid being inside when you can be outside,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey.

By mid-March, the DMV sends boat owners notices of renewals due by April 30. If they do not register the boat for a year, they will not receive another renewal notice and they must go to a DMV office to renew the registration.

First-time registrations of vessels also must be done at a DMV office.

Frequently Asked Questions about boat and other watercraft registrations can be found at

What are the requirements?

Connecticut law requires registration and numbering of all personal watercraft, all boats with motors (regardless of size), and sailboats powered by sail alone that are 19.5 feet or longer in length.

Exempted from registration are vessels less than 19.5 feet in length without motors or are propelled only by oar or paddle without any auxiliary motor.

If someone purchases a boat that is currently registered, it must be re-registered in the name of the new owner.

Provide evidence of ownership

All vessels must be registered with the 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. Connecticut vessel numbers stay with the boat as long as it is registered in the state.