How to Register a Homemade Boat in Texas: How to Make it Official

If you’ve built your boat, you’ll need to know how to register it with the state of Texas. This process can seem daunting, but it’s pretty simple.

This blog post will walk you through the steps necessary to make your homemade boat official. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make the registration process as easy as possible. Let’s get started.

Steps on How to Register a Homemade Boat in Texas

How To Register A Homemade Boat In Texas

The first step in how to register a homemade boat in Texas is to complete the application. This can be done online or by mail. You will need to provide your name, address, and contact information, as well as the make and model of your boat.

You will also need to provide documentation that shows you built the boat yourself. This can include photos, receipts for materials used in construction, or any other evidence that proves you made the boat yourself.

Once you have applied, you will need to wait for your boat to be inspected. This inspection is necessary to make sure your boat meets all safety requirements.

The inspector will check things like the stability of the boat, the condition of the hull, and the presence of flotation devices.

Once your boat has passed inspection, you will need to pay the registration fees. The amount you pay will depend on the size and type of your boat. You can find a list of all applicable fees on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Finally, you will need to display your boat registration decal. This can be done by attaching it to the bow of your boat or affixing it to your trailer.

Now that you know how to register a homemade boat in Texas, you can rest assured that your vessel is legal and safe for use on state waterways. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be ready to hit the open water.

Also read: How to Bait a Crappie Hole: Tips and Tricks for Anglers

What Is Needed for Registration?

To register a homemade boat in Texas, you will need the following items:

  • Completed Boat Registration form
  • $30 registration fee
  • Manufacturer’s statement of origin (MSO) or bill of sale*
  • Hull identification number (HIN) if applicable
  • Proof of ownership/purchase
  • Texas registration decal

*If you do not have an MSO, you will need to provide a bill of sale from the seller, which includes the following information:

  • Seller’s name and address
  • Boat make, model and year
  • Purchase price
  • Date of purchase
  • Vessel hull identification number (if any)

If you cannot provide any of the required documentation, you may need to contact your local county tax assessor-collector’s office for assistance.

How Much Does Registration Cost?

The cost of boat registration in Texas varies depending on the length and type of vessel. However, for most boats, the fee is $50.

However, for a sailboat or powerboat over 26 feet in length, the fee is $100. You can find more information on specific costs on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

There are also a few optional fees that you may need to pay to register your boat. These include:

  • A $25 decal fee, which is used to fund the state’s boating safety program
  • A $15 fee for each life jacket required on board
  • A $30 annual inspection fee, if the boat has an electric motor
  • A $5 transfer fee, if you want to move your registration to another boat
  • A $2.50 convenience fee for credit or debit card transactions over the phone or at a store

The total cost of boat registration may vary depending on how many of these optional fees apply to your situation.

What Are the Benefits of Registering a Homemade Boat in Texas?

How To Register A Homemade Boat In Texas

One of the best things about registering a homemade boat in Texas is that it makes the boat much easier to prove as yours, especially when you have to do things like file an insurance claim.

If your boat sinks and you need to claim it, having the registration number allows officials to identify how much money your policy is entitled to claim on the boat.

If you’ve purchased a boat that is not brand new, you can still make it legal by registering it with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

By doing so, you’ll be able to access all of the same benefits as boats registered in other ways, including being able to prove how much insurance money your policy can claim if the boat is destroyed, damaged, or stolen.

Being able to prove how much money your policy can access when your homemade boat is lost or destroyed not only makes it easier to get money back that you might have lost, but it also protects you by preventing others from falsely filing claims on your boat policy with their own insurance companies.

How Do I Change Ownership Of My Old Boat To New?

If you purchase a boat, your first step is to transfer the vessel’s title into your name. You can do this by visiting the DMV website and filling out an application for boat registration.

After submitting it along with payment, allow one week before heading back to pick up your new title. This transfer occurs automatically whether you purchased or received the boat. It’s how you know that the vessel is now legally yours.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Boat Registered in Texas?

The boat has to be inspected first. Once that’s done, you can buy a temporary registration certificate for up to 30 days. Then if everything is good on the inspection report, you can purchase a permanent registration certificate.

How long this takes depends on what time of year it is and how busy the DMV offices are. We bought temporary certificates, inspected the boat, and purchased our permanent registrations.

We went to the local tax office in Pearland because it’s right down the road from where we live. After we bought the boat, it took us about a month to get everything registered with no problems.


Registering a homemade boat in Texas is not complicated, but it can be time-consuming. If you feel overwhelmed, call your local tax office, and they should be able to help you through the process.

Keep in mind the costs and time involved, and be prepared to deal with any complications that might arise. Once you have your homemade boat registered, enjoy it. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve taken steps to ensure your boat is legal and official.