Boat Registrations

Registering in Windham

Any motorized boat operated on the public waters of New Hampshire, including tidal and coastal waters and all inland waters, must be registered and must display the bow number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as part of the registration process, unless the boat is exempt as provided in Section RSA 270-E:4. Boats may be registered at any time of year, but each boat registration expires on December 31 of the year it was registered.

How to Register a Boat in New Hampshire

To register a boat in New Hampshire, the owner of the boat must provide the following:

  • Completed Boat Registration Application.
  • Proof of ownership (i.e., a Bill of Sale and Owner's Driver License). The proper boat registration fees. Please review both RSA 270-E:5 Vessel Registration Fees, and RSA 72-A:3 Boat Fees. To determine the proper amount that is due for your particular vessel. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Boat Registrations at 603-227-4030.
  • Verification of Vessel Identification if the boat is homemade or when a 12-digit Hull Identification Number (HIN) was not assigned to a vessel manufactured after 1972 or when there is no HIN present for any vessel manufactured for any given year.
  • If you don't have a previous Boat Registration from the previous owner, be prepared to execute the HIN verification form 690 process.

Where to Register a Boat in New Hampshire

Registrations for privately-owned boats may be processed in person at certain Department of Motor Vehicles offices, at authorized boat agents (Windham is a boat agent), or may be sent by mail to the Concord Department of Motor Vehicles at:

NH Department of Safety
Department of Motor Vehicles - Boat Registrations
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305

Adding an Additional Owner

To add an additional owner to your boat registration you need to provide the following:

  • Current boat registration
  • A letter of request to add an additional owner that includes:
    • The full name, address and date of birth of the additional owner
    • Both owners signatures; and
    • Brief description of the boat that includes the Bow Number.
  • Photocopy of the additional owner's driver license, non-driver identification or birth certificate.
  • A completed Application for a Copy of a Registration (Department of Motor Vehicles 110).
  • $15 fee

Registering a Homemade Boat

Please provide a bill of sale, a Verification of Vessel Identification, receipts from materials purchased, floor plans or blueprints, and a driver's license when registering a homemade boat.

Registering Your Boat if You Live in Another State

If you live in another state, and if your boat is used primarily in New Hampshire, (51% or more) it may be registered in New Hampshire.

Boat Registrations

Once a boat is registered, the owner will be issued a registration certificate along with a decal. The registration certificate must be kept on the boat at all times when the boat is being operated. Every New Hampshire registered boat must display a bow number and current registration decal.

Boat Renewals

All boat registrations expire on December 31 of the year in which they were registered. The Department of Motor Vehicles mails renewal notices to boat owners prior to the December 31 expiration.

To renew a boat registration, the owner may complete and return the renewal notice along with a check for the proper fee (as indicated on the boat renewal notice) to the Concord Location, or they may be renewed in person at any New Hampshire authorized boat agent (Windham) or certified marina. If you wish to have another person renew a boat registration on your behalf, you must provide him/her with the current boat renewal notification notice signed by you, the owner. If you did not receive a renewal notice or are unable to locate it, you may provide your previous registration certificate and a completed and signed Boat Registration Form instead.

Hull Identification Numbers (HIN)

The Hull Identification Number is a unique 12-digit number assigned by the manufacturer to vessels built in 1973 to present. Owners of older vessels manufactured without a HIN or of homemade vessels that have not been assigned HIN should have a Verification of Vessel Identification completed by a New Hampshire law enforcement officer. If you need to complete this form for a new boat registration, you will have to go to the closest Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a new HIN number.

Bow Numbers

Boats are assigned a bow number upon initial registration of that boat in New Hampshire. Boats previously registered in New Hampshire will keep the same Bow number for the life of the boat. Bow numbers begin with "NH" followed by four numbers and either one or two letters. Bow numbers are assigned automatically and sequentially; the Department of Motor Vehicles does not issue specific bow numbers upon request.

Replacement Decals

A duplicate copy of a registration or a replacement decal is available when a current registration or decal has been misplaced, lost or has been destroyed. For a replacement boat decal, please complete an Application for Replacement Boat Decals form. You may bring the form to any Department of Motor Vehicles office, or mail it with your current boat registration along with the $3 fee to:

Department of Motor Vehicles Concord
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305

Please note: Additional fees may apply for those transactions completed at a Municipal Agent location. The cost would be $20 at a Municipal Agent.

Abandoned Boats

If you encounter an abandoned boat on the water, please contact the New Hampshire Marine Patrol. If you encounter an abandoned boat on land, please contact the local police department. Please see RSA 270-B:7 for more information.