|North Carolina Boating Registration
North Carolina law prohibits the sale, transfer or purchase of watercraft without a valid title issued in the seller's name to assign over to the purchaser at the time of sale.
The following watercraft are required to have a current title and registration:
ExceptionsThe following watercrafts are exempt from having to be titled in North Carolina:
The following vessels must be registered before being operated on North Carolina's public waters:
ExceptionsThe following watercrafts are exempt from having to be registered in North Carolina:
Your boat's classification is determined by its length and type of propulsion. The class will determine applicable laws, required equipment and the registration fees you will pay upon initial registration and at renewal.
|Class A Vessels (less than 16’ in length)|
|Class 1 Vessels (16’ to less than 26’ in length)|
|Class 2 Vessels (26’ to less than 40’ in length)|
|Class 3 Vessels (over 40’ in length)|
How to Obtain Your Title and Registration
The Certificate of Number (Registration number) and validation decal are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).
Although many vessel transactions are conducted by mail, you have the option of conducting them with over 400 Wildlife Service Agents statewide, or by visiting the NCWRC office located at
1751 Varsity Drive
Find the location of the Wildlife Service Agent nearest to you.
Once a proper application is submitted with the required fee, you will receive a Title and Certificate of Registration and one (1) validation decal. The Certificate of Registration must be carried on board when boat is in use. The registration numbers and validation decal must be affixed to the boat. See below for placement instructions.
Numbering Your Vessel
Once your boat has been assigned a registration number and decal, you must display them on your boat correctly. The registration numbers must be painted or permanently affixed and displayed on each side of the bow, read from left to right and in a position to be distinctly visible. The letters and numbers must be of a plain BLOCK design, at least three (3) inches tall and of a color that contrasts to the color of the hull. There must be a letter size space or hyphen between letter and number groups:
Correct: NC 1234 YZ or NC-1234-YZ
Upon renewal, the old registration decal is to be removed and the current one applied.
Before you can register your homemade boat, you must first apply for a Hull Identification Number (HIN) with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).
You can find how to affix the HIN here.
How to Renew Your Boat Registration
Approximately 60 days before the expiration of your one-year or three-year term of registration, the Wildlife Commission will print a Renewal Notification form. This will be mailed to the first owner listed on the registration at the latest address on file.
Renew In Person
To renew in person, visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission office during normal business hours at
1751 Varsity Drive,
Or Find the location of the Wildlife Service Agent nearest to you.
Renew By Phone
Call 1-800-628-3773, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and renew your registration with your Visa or MasterCard.
Renew By Mail
To renew by mail, complete the Renewal Notification form, enclose a check or money order, and mail back to the Wildlife Commission. With this method, you can update your name or address and have a choice of one-year or three-year renewals. Your new Registration Card and Decal will be mailed from the Wildlife Resources Commission office within fifteen business days.
Wildlife Resources Commission
Renew online using your renewal number from the Notification Form.
How to Replace Your Lost Registration
Complete the VL-1 form, including names, current addresses, and signatures of all owners, the Registration Number, and Hull ID number. Notarization of signatures is not required. Enclose a check or money order for the $5 "Duplicate Registration" fee, and mail to the Wildlife Commission Transaction Management Department at the above address.
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