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Boating - Title and Register a Watercraft or Outboard Motor in SC

Boating - Documented Vessels

If you choose to document your vessel (instead of titling and registering it in SC), please contact the US Coast Guard: United States Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center

If a vessel is documented with the US Coast Guard it does not have to be titled or registered in SC.

If your boat is Documented with the US Coast Guard, you will be required to pay personal property taxes to your county of residence if your boat is determined to be taxable by your county.

Outboard Motors: If a documented vessel has outboard motors and is primarily housed in SC, the motor(s) must be titled.

Lifeboat: A vessel's lifeboat does not have to be titled or registered if used only for lifesaving purposes

Purchased a previously documented vessel and would like it titled and registered?

  1. Bill of Sale Completed, signed, and notarized. (page 2 of the Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application)
  2. Need appropriate documentation from the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.)
    Note: A letter of deletion will not be issued if a preferred mortgage is still existing.
  3. Completed and Signed Application
  4. Pencil tracing (if traceable), or printed photograph of Hull Identification Number
  5. Fees for Registration and Title
  6. Casual Excise Tax

Outboard Motor on your Documented Vessel

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.The outboard motor(s) will be titled based on the purchasing situation. Please see “How to Title and Register a Watercraft or Outboard Motor in SC.

Any vessel that is documented by the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.) can be operated on the waters of this state with no additional S.C. registration issued by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Documented Vessels are exempt from registration in South Carolina.

Hull Identification Number (HIN)

All boats manufactured for sale must have a manufacturer's serial number or Hull Identification Number (HIN). It is unique to your boat.

HINs are typically engraved in the fiberglass or on a small metal plate attached to the transom. Record your HIN and put it in a place away from the boat. It can be useful if warranty problems arise or if your boat is lost or stolen.