Gone Outdoors

How to Register a Boat Trailer in Massachusetts

by Will Charpentier

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, or MassDOT, requires that all boat trailers be registered with the state. To register a trailer you have recently purchased, you must present proper documentation to the state's Registry of Motor Vehicles. This registration process must be completed before you use the boat trailer, whether you purchased the trailer in Massachusetts or elsewhere. Completing this process is a straightforward task, but you will have to visit a state registry office.

Obtain a completed, stamped and signed Form RMV-1 from your insurance agent. This will prove that you have insurance on the trailer. You also must include full and correct information on any liens on the trailer's title as well as full and correct information on the lien holders on this form.

Take Form RMV-1, along with proof of ownership, to the nearest MassDOT RMV branch office. If the trailer was purchased new from a dealer, the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin establishes proof of ownership. If you bought the trailer used from a private party, you need a bill of sale or a copy of the previous owner's title.

Hand-print your name on the document of sale, and sign it. The seller's hand-printed name and signature must also appear on the bill of sale or on the previous owner's title or registration, if the transfer is made on one of those documents.

Check the gross weight of the trailer listed on the trailer's certificate of origin. If the trailer weighs 3,001 pounds or more, it must be titled as well as registered.

Present the completed Form RMV-1 and the proof of ownership or MCO at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles office for filing. You must also pay a filing fee. This fee will be 6.25 percent of the sales price or the National Automotive Dealer Association trade-in value, whichever is greater.

Items you will need
  • MassDot Form RMV-1
  • Proof of ownership


  • Past registration, an old title or a tax bill that names the seller as owner proves ownership. The bill of sale must include the seller's name and address, the buyer's name and address, the price, the trailer's vehicle identification number, its make and its model.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

  • massachusetts flag image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com