Boating - Registration and Titling Information

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Get the Facts Before You Buy

Before buying a previously owned watercraft or outboard motor titled in South Carolina, check the status.

The information contained on this page are guidelines which tell you what documentation, forms and fees you need to Register or Title your Watercraft and Outboard Motor in South Carolina according to your circumstances.

Disclaimer: Due to unique situations, the information below may not be all inclusive. If your situation is not specifically discussed, please call the Boater Registration Office at (803) 734-3857.

1) S.C. Registration and Watercraft Title - Transfer

  1. Title in the seller's name. If the seller has lost his title, he must apply for a duplicate title by completing the certified true Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb) found on back of application. It must be signed, notarized and include the additional $5.00 fee.
  2. Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb), completed, signed and dated.
  3. When purchasing a watercraft from an individual in South Carolina, you are required to pay Casual Excise Tax. The tax is 5% of the purchase price up to $6,000.00. Anything over $6,000.00 caps at $300.00 Casual Excise Tax fee. Please include this fee along with your transfer fee. If purchasing from a South Carolina permitted marine dealer taxes are collected by the dealer. If the boat and motor are purchased as a unit it is 5% of the total purchase price.
  4. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  5. Fee of $16 to transfer Registration and Title. An additional fee of $30 is required if the seller's registration has expired. If the seller's registration is nearing expiration in the same calendar year, you may include a $30 fee to extend your registration for 3 years.
  6. Late Fees

2) S.C. Outboard Motor Title - Transfer

  1. Title in the seller's name - If the seller has lost his title, he must apply for a duplicate title by completing the certified true Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb) found on back of application. It must be signed, notarized and include the additional $5.00 fee.
  2. Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb), completed, signed and notarized.
  3. When purchasing an outboard motor separately from an individual, there is no cap. You are required to pay Casual Excise Tax. The tax is 6% of the purchase price. Please include this fee along with your transfer fee. If purchasing an outboard motor from a dealer taxes are collected by the dealer.
  4. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  5. Fee of $10 to transfer title.
  6. Late Fees

3) Estates

Personal representative forms must be original or true certified copy and bear the raised seal of probate court.

  1. The administrator or personal representative(s) must submit the Probate Form giving the authority to act for the estate. If there is more than one administrator or personal representative(s), then each person must sign the probate form.
  2. Personal representative(s) gives the purchaser a Signed Bill of Sale for watercraft/outboard motor. This does not apply if the watercraft/outboard motor is kept by the personal representative(s). If there is more than one administrator or personal representative(s), then each person must sign the Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb).
  3. Original watercraft/outboard motor Title in the Deceased Name. If the title is lost, personal representative(s) must complete Application for Duplicate Title - (Adobe PDF format - file size 57Kb) (Fee $5 each)
  4. Purchaser's Casual Excise Tax or Tax Exempt Form if purchased from immediate family. (See Tax information)
  5. Purchaser completes Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb) unless the estate keeps the watercraft/outboard motor, then personal representative(s) completes application.
  6. If there was no will, contact Boat Titling & Registration for an Affidavit of Inheritance Form (Adobe PDF - file size 33Kb) at 803-734-3857
  7. Fee
  8. Late Fees

4) Watercraft - Previously registered/titled and/or purchased from another state

  1. Title in seller's name if seller is from a titling state.
  2. Current Owner's Registration Card, if available, otherwise, provide the registration number.
  3. Pencil Tracing, if traceable or Photograph of Hull ID Number.
  4. Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb), signed and dated.
  5. When purchasing a watercraft from an individual, you are required to pay Casual Excise Tax. The tax is 5% of the purchase price up to $6,000.00. Anything over $6,000.00 caps at $300.00 Casual Excise Tax fee. Please include this fee along with your transfer fee. If purchasing from a dealer taxes are collected by the dealer. If boat and motor are purchased as a unit it is 5% of the total purchase price.
  6. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  7. Fee of $40 for SC Registration and Title
  8. Late Fees

5) Outboard Motor - Previously titled in another state or purchased from another state

  1. Title in seller's name if you are purchasing from a titling state (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas or Utah). If you are purchasing from any other state, send a Bill of Sale or statement explaining how the outboard motor was obtained.
  2. Pencil Tracing, if traceable or Photograph of Serial Number on outboard motor.
  3. Bill of Sale - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb), signed and dated.
  4. When purchasing an outboard motor separately from an individual, there is no cap. You are required to pay Casual Excise Tax. The tax is 6% of the purchase price. Please include this fee along with your transfer fee. If purchasing from a dealer, taxes are collected by the dealer.
  5. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  6. Fee - $10 for new title
  7. Late Fees

6) Watercraft - Move here from another state

  1. Title in your name if you are moving from a titling state
  2. Provide your Current Registration Card, if available, otherwise provide registration number
  3. Pencil Tracing, if traceable or Photograph of Hull ID Number
  4. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  5. Fee of $40 for new registration and title

7) Outboard Motor - Move here from another state

  1. Title in your name if you are moving from titling states (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas or Utah). If you are moving from any other state, send a Bill of Sale or statement explaining how the outboard motor was obtained
  2. Pencil Tracing, if traceable or Photograph of Serial and Model Number on outboard motor.
  3. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  4. Fee of $10 for new title

8) Watercraft - Purchased from in- or out-of-state marine dealer

  1. Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, if purchased from titling state.
  2. Bill of Sale, signed and dated.
  3. If purchased from a South Carolina permitted marine dealer, casual excise tax is paid to the dealer.
  4. There is a Use Tax fee required when purchasing a boat or motor from an out of state dealer. You must include the dealer invoice when submitting paperwork. If no taxes have been paid to dealer you must include the 5% tax along with your registration fee. Anything over $6,000.00, caps at $300.00. If you have paid a portion of the sales tax in another state and the total tax does not compute to 5% you must pay the additional percentage to one of the S.C. Department of Revenue Service Centers before submitting your paperwork to SCDNR.
  5. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  6. Fee of $40 for new registration and title
  7. Late Fees

9) Outboard Motor - Purchased from in- or out-of-state marine dealer

  1. Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, if purchased from titling state. (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas or Utah)
  2. Bill of Sale, signed and notarized
  3. If purchased from a South Carolina permitted marine dealer, tax is paid to the dealer.
  4. There is a Use Tax fee required when purchasing a boat or motor from an out of state dealer. You must include the dealer invoice when submitting paperwork. If no taxes have been paid to dealer you must include the 6% tax along with your registration fee. If you have paid a portion of the sales tax in another state and the total tax does not compute to 6% you must pay the additional percentage to one of the S.C. Department of Revenue Service Centers before submitting your paperwork to SCDNR. There is no cap on Outboard Motors purchased separately.
  5. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  6. Fee of $10 for new title
  7. Late Fees

10) Watercraft - Purchase used and previously exempt from titling

  1. Statement from Seller explaining why the watercraft is exempt.
  2. Pencil Tracing, if traceable or Photograph of Hull ID Number.
  3. Bill of Sale completed, signed and dated.
  4. When purchasing a watercraft from an individual, you are required to pay Casual Excise Tax. The tax is 5% of the purchase price up to $6,000.00. Anything over $6,000.00, caps at $300.00 Casual Excise Tax fee. Please include this fee along with your transfer fee. If purchasing from a dealer, taxes are collected by dealer.
  5. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  6. Fee of $40 for new registration and title

11) Watercraft - Homemade

(A reworked manufactured boat is not considered a homemade boat) Your watercraft may be subject to an inspection by a law enforcement officer.

  1. Application for Hull ID Number, (Adobe PDF - file size 32Kb) signed and notarized.
  2. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  3. Submit Pictures of the bow (port-left-starboard-right) transom of boat and of the whole boat.
  4. Fee of $40 for new registration and title

12) Watercraft/Outboard Motor - Duplicate or Corrected Title

NOTE: In order to receive a duplicate or corrected title all existing liens (PDF) must be satisfied.

  1. Titled owner Completes and Signs Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  2. Check appropriate boxes and include fee of $5.00 for each duplicate.

13) Watercraft - Registration Renewal

  1. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb) or registration Renewal Card
  2. Fee of $30
  3. Late Fee of $15 is required if your application or renewal card is not received within 30 days after registration expires.
  4. Late Fee of $30 is required if your application or renewal card is not received within 60 days after registration expires.

14) Watercraft - Duplicate Registration Card

  1. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  2. Fee of $5

15) Watercraft - Duplicate Expiration Decal
       Outboard Motor - Duplicate Decal

  1. Completed and Signed Application - (Adobe PDF - file size 57Kb)
  2. Check appropriate box and include $5 for each duplicate set of decals.

16) Watercraft/Outboard Motor - Found/Abandoned

To title or register a watercraft or outboard motor that has been found, abandoned or where proper paperwork cannot be obtained to issue a clear title then you will need to complete an Affidavit In Support for Application for Title for Watercraft/Outboard Motor.

  1. S.C. Law prohibits the sale or purchase of watercraft or outboard motor without a valid title issued in the seller's name to assign over to the purchaser at the time of sale. If you purchase a watercraft and/or an outboard motor without a title then you will need to obtain the proper chain of paperwork from previous owner(s), along with the fees and then you will need to complete an Affidavit In Support for Application for Title for Watercraft/Outboard Motor.
  2. Affidavit In Support for Application for Title for Watercraft/Outboard Motor can be obtained by calling Boat Titling and Registration at 803-734-3857 for information and a form.

17) S.C. Registration and Watercraft and/or Outboard Motor Title –
       Previously Documented Vessel

  1. Documented Vessels are exempt from registration in South Carolina. If you purchased a vessel that was previously documented and wish to register and title it in S.C. then a complete list of instructions are under Documented Vessels.
  2. If the documented vessel is propelled by outboard motor(s), the outboard motor is required to be titled, if the state of principle use is South Carolina and it is five (5) horsepower or greater.

Disclaimer: Due to unique situations, the information above may not be all inclusive. If your situation is not specifically discussed, please call the Boater Registration Office at (803) 734-3857.