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Barbara Ford-Coates - Florida Tax Collector serving Sarasota County
Exceptional Staff - Exceptional Service

Vessels (Boats, Jet Skis, Canoes, etc.) Overview

Boating Safety - Before getting on the water, be sure to review boating safety requirements. Click here to read more.

Title - Vessels with motors, including jet skis, must have a Florida title as proof of ownership. There are some exceptions: owned by the US Government; non motor-powered and less than 16 feet in length; federally documented; operated, used and stored exclusively on private lakes or ponds; registered in another state and used in Florida for less than 90 consecutive days; amphibious and issued a Florida title and registration; used solely for demonstration, testing or sales by a registered dealer or manufacturer; or operated by the state or a government subdivision. Titles may be held in paper form or electronically in the database of the Florida DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles).

When you purchase a new vesselbring a vessel into Florida, or purchase a vessel from an individual, you must apply for a registration and title in your name. Fees apply for these transactions; contact us for more information.

Registration - All vessels operated, used, or stored on Florida waters must be registered. There are some exceptions: owned by the US Government; non-motor-powered less than 16 feet in length; a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell, or rowing scull, regardless of length; operated, used, or stored exclusively on private lakes or ponds; or used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat. The registration consists of a:

  • FL Number - displayed on both sides of the vessel.
  • Validation decal - issued according to the registered owner's birth month and renewed for one-year or two-years (biennial registration).
  • Registration certificate - issued showing the owner and vessel information, the expiration date and the FL number. The registration certificate should be with the operator whenever the vessel is on the water.

Biennial Registration - If renewing for two years, registration fees are doubled. Note: if the vessel is sold - refunds are not permitted.

Registration Expiration Dates:

  • Owned by individual - midnight on the owner's birthday
  • Owned by company - midnight on June 30

Lost Decal or Registration: