How to Register a Boat & Trailer in New Hampshire

by Teo Spengler

Register boats that are more than 12 feet long in the Granite State.

motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com

If you live in New Hampshire and keep a boat and trailer there, you may have to register both. You'll need the boat registration application, proof of ownership and the proper fee to register a boat with the Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, while trailer registration is largely a matter for your city clerk.

Registering Your Boat with the New Hampshire DMV

All motor-operated boats operated on public waters in New Hampshire must be registered with the state's Division of Motor Vehicles. This includes any boat with an inboard or outboard motor, excluding sailboats under 12 feet. Boats owned by the U.S. government and those just passing through are exempt.

You'll want to start your registration process by filling in a DMV boat registration form, called DSMV form 157A. You'll also need proof of ownership, like a bill of sale in your name and your picture identification.

If your boat doesn't have a 12-digit hull identification number, you must also obtain a DSMV form called Verification of Vessel Identification. It has to be completed and signed by a New Hampshire law enforcement officer under penalty of perjury.

Expect to pay a registration fee. The fee depends on the length, age and type of boat. Check both RSA 270-E:5 Vessel Registration Fees, and RSA 72-A:3 Boat Fees to figure out the fee for your boat. Or, you can call the DMV and ask about boat registration fees.

Once you collect these documents, you can register the boat in person at certain DMV offices in New Hampshire. Check the DMV website for a list of those accepting boat registration. You can also register your boat at an authorized boat agent. These are often town clerks, but see the list in the DMV website. Alternatively you can mail the documents to the Concord DMV at: NH Dept. of Safety, DMV – Boat Registrations, 23 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03305.

Registering Your New Hampshire Boat Trailer

You'll have to register your trailer if it is 15 years old or newer. You'll also have to title the trailer if it weighs over 3,000 pounds and was manufactured later than 1999. The trailer registration process starts at your local town clerk's office. Bring identification and proof of residency and call ahead to find out the charges.

If you have your trailer title, present the certificate of title or a copy of your title application for registration. If your trailer is exempt from titling, present a bill of sale, proof of the Vehicle Identification Number, or a copy of an earlier New Hampshire registration.

You can usually process the entire registration transaction at the same office. If you need to title the trailer, you may have to file a title application with the DMV.

Photo Credits

  • motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.