Federally Documented Vessels

Information Packets

Download a package of instructions, all necessary forms, and a checklist of documentation needed.

Vessels are documented by the Federal Government (United States Coast Guard) and not by individual states. All vessels, five net tons or more, meeting the criteria of a commercial vessel as defined by the United States Coast Guard must be federally documented. (See below for address and telephone number of the United States Coast Guard.)

United States Coast Guard
National Vessel Documentation Center

2039 Stonewall Jackson Drive
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419
(800) 799-8362

The information in the following section applies to vessels that have not been titled.

The following documentation must be provided:
  1. A completed Application to Register a Non-Titled Vessel HSMV 87244. Please make sure application is completed in its entirety.
  2. Copy of the current certificate of documentation issued by the US Coast Guard. If there is a discrepancy with the hull identification number (HIN), a certified pencil tracing will be required.
  3. A copy of one of the following proof of identification:
    1. A Florida driver license or identification card w/ photo
    2. An out-of-state driver license or identification card w/ photo
    3. A US passport
    4. A Canadian driver license, identification card, or passport
    5. A driver license or identification card from any U.S. Territory
    6. An out-of-country passport

Please note that while a copy of a Florida driver license or identification card IS NOT required to be submitted, it makes the process simpler. Find out more information about obtaining a Florida driver license.

  1. Bill of Sale. Evidence that the sales tax on the vehicle has been paid is necessary. Click here for a Vessel Bill of Sale Form.
    • As required by Chapter 212 of the Florida Statutes, sales tax in Florida is 6% on the balance of the purchase price, less trade in, if any.
    • Some transactions such as gifts, trade down or even trade, court order in divorce proceedings, inheritance, transfer to/from spouse, change of name only, etc., may be exempt from sales tax.
    • If the motor vehicle or mobile home was purchased and used less than 6 months in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, the full amount of the 6% sales or use tax, plus any local discretionary sales surtax is required to be paid before title and registration can be issued by the department. However, a credit may be allowed for a like tax paid in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, against the amount of Florida sales or use tax and local discretionary sales surtax.
    • The registrant's county of residence determines whether an additional local discretionary sales surtax is collected. For additional information view the Department of Revenue’s Discretionary Sales Surtax Information.

If you bought the vessel in the last six months, tax paid to another jurisdiction may be credited toward the sale tax due in Florida.

Registration Fees - Recreational or Commercial
Registration fees are determined by several factors (hull length, length of registration period, etc.).

Vessel Length Annual Fee
1'-11" $12.25
12'-15' $23.50
16'-25' $36.00
26'-39' $85.50
40'-64' $135.00
65'-109' $160.00
110' and above $197.00
Dealer Classification $32.75

Note: Branch fees may apply.

Commercial Fees
An additional $50 commercial vessel license fee is required for all non-residents or aliens unless specifically exempted by statute.