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Game and Fish

How to register your new boat

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03/01/2012 - You've finally done it: bought that boat you've always been dreaming of. Your summers are about to get a lot better. But before you can launch your new vessel you need to make sure you have the proper inspection, title, and registration to keep everything legal. So where do you start?

All boats purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2010 are required to have a title, just like a vehicle. A boat purchased prior to 2010 does not need to be titled but you must provide a notarized bill of sale and a sales tax receipt that shows the date of purchase. Simply bring these items to any Game and Fish Department office and fill out an application to get your boat registered.

For boats that are required to have a title, your first step will be to complete a Hull Identification Number (HIN) inspection. This is the same process as a VIN inspection for vehicles, and the inspection can be performed by any law enforcement agency including Game and Fish, county sheriff's offices, and city police. Once your HIN inspection has been completed take all your paperwork to your county courthouse to get a title. Again, this is the same process you would go through to obtain a title for a vehicle.

Many older boats may have a Hull Identification Number that does not contain at least 12 digits. If your HIN is less than 12 digits you will need to have a new number assigned prior to obtaining a title, as the U.S. Coast Guard now requires 12-digit HINs for all boats. The certificate of title HIN number must met Coast Guard requirements before we will issue a registration. Assigning new HINs can only be done at a Game and Fish Department office. The HIN should be located on the aft of the boat on the starboard side. Check your number to ensure it meets Coast Guard requirements.

Now that you have a title your next step is to get your boat registered. Bring your title to any Game and Fish Department office and you will be asked to complete a boat registration form and to pay for your registration. You can register your boat for 1 year for $15, or 3 years for $40. This would also be a good time to purchase your annual Aquatic Invasive Species decal, which costs $10 for motorized watercraft registered in Wyoming.

When registering your boat at a Game and Fish office, you will receive a registration card and stickers. The registration card must remain in your boat at all times while the boat is in the water. The stickers must be affixed to your boat as shown in Figure 1. Please note there was an error on page 13 of the 2012-2013 Wyoming Watercraft Regulation brochure. The diagram for affixing the stickers on the starboard side of the boat is incorrect. The sticker with the current year number should be placed before the WY sticker, as shown in Figure 1.

You will keep the same numbers when transferring a boat registration. The numbers stay with the boat and are not changed when ownership changes. However, numbers are only kept in the system for 5 years. If you allow five or more years to pass without renewing your registration, the number assigned to your watercraft will be dropped and you will be assigned a new number. You will be provided with a WY sticker, but will need to purchase the remaining numbers on your own. Most hardware stores sell these numbers.

Now your boat is properly inspected, titled, registered, and your AIS decal is properly affixed, and you are ready to go. Remember to check your boat for the required life jackets and safety equipment. Once you've done that, the only thing left to do is to go out and have fun.

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