Vessels

Vessel Title Information

All Florida vessels with motors, including personal watercraft, must be titled, registered, and issued a decal, which must be affixed to the port side of the vessel. You can apply for a vessel title at any Tax Collector’s office in Pinellas County, except the main office at the courthouse.

Exemptions from Titling in Florida

  • Vessels owned by the United States Government
  • Non motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length
  • Federally documented vessels
  • Vessels operated, used and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds
  • Vessels already covered by a number of another state (pursuant to the federally approved numbering system), provided the vessel will not be located in the state for 90 consecutive days
  • Amphibious vessels for which title is issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • Vessels used solely for demonstration, testing or sales by a registered dealer or manufacturer
  • Vessels owned and operated by the state or a governmental subdivision

Exemptions from Registering in Florida

  • Non-motor-powered vessels or a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell or rowing scull, regardless length
  • Vessels operated, used and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds
  • Vessels owned by the United States Government
  • Vessels used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat
  • Vessels covered by numbers in full force and effect that have been awarded pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system (provided that such vessels are not operated in state waters more than 90 consecutive days)

Procedure for Obtaining Florida Vessel Title

The owner of a new vessel must have the manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO) completed by the seller (dealer/store). The MCO is the “birth certificate” for the vessel. For a used vessel, the owner must present us with the title. If the vessel was previously registered in a state that did not issue a title, the registration and a notarized bill of sale signed by the owner must be provided. New owners have 30 days to transfer the title or they will be subject to a $10.00 delinquent fee. Note: on Florida vessel titles, notarization is no longer required for the seller and buyer’s signatures. All new owners must be present to sign the title or the title application form and must present legal ID. You may also apply for a regular vessel fast title for an additional fee of $5.00.

Applying for a Duplicate Vessel Title

You can apply for a duplicate vessel title at any Tax Collector office. The cost is $6.50, and the vessel title will be mailed to you from Tallahassee. If you would like to receive a fast duplicate title from the tag office the same day, there is an additional $5.00 charge.

Sales and Discretionary Taxes

Florida State sales tax is 6% of the purchase price. An additional county surtax is imposed on vehicles or vessels if you reside in a county that requires one. For more information on Florida sales tax, visit the Florida Department of Revenue.

When you purchase a vessel, motor and trailer together from an individual, you will not have to pay sales tax on the outboard motor if you can provide an itemized and notarized bill of sale signed by the seller. You will pay sales tax on the vessel and trailer. (This exemption does not apply to inboard motors or if you have purchased the motor from a dealer of store.)

Vessel Registration

Registration fees for commercial vessels and pleasure vessels are based on length. Vessel registrations expire at midnight of the registered owner’s birthday, except for company owned vessels, which expire June 30.

Current Vessel Registration Fees

Class A-1 Less than 12 feet in length, and all canoes to which propulsion motors have been attached, regardless of length: $15.50
Class A-2 12 feet or more and less than 16 feet: $31.63
Class 1 16 feet or more and less than 26 feet:  $50.38
Class 2 26 feet or more and less than 40 feet: $124.63
Class 3 40 feet or more and less than 65 feet: $198.88
Class 4 65 feet or more and less than 110 feet: $236.38
Class 5 110 feet or more in length: $291.88
DEALER $43.50

Replacement Vessel Decal 

If the decal is current, the vessel owner may apply for a duplicate decal at any Tax Collector office for $6.25. The owner must submit the old registration and complete form HSMV 87015, certifying the old registration has been lost or destroyed. Proper ID is required.

Documented Vessel Registration

All vessels five net tons or more meeting the criteria of a commercial vessel as defined by the U.S. Coast Guard must be federally documented. Pleasure yachts five net tons or more may be federally documented or titled at the owner’s option. For more information, contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center.

To register a documented vessel please bring the following items to the Tax Collector’s office:

  • Form HSMV 87244, Application to Register Non-Titled Vessels, accurately completed.
  • Copy of documentation papers
  • Copy of executed bill of sale
  • Proof of sales tax paid or proof of sales tax exemption
  • Payment of a registration fee based on length of vessel

Hull Identification Number Verification

Hull identification number verification is not required each time a vessel is brought into Florida as long as the vessel has a title. If the vessel is brought in from another state or a foreign country that does not issue a title, or if the vessel was built after 1972 and has only a partial hull number (less than 12 properly formatted characters) on the out of state or foreign country title/registration, a pencil tracing should be submitted for verification of the hull identification number. A Florida Fish and Wildlife officer must conduct the hull number verification.

Contact

Pinellas County Tax Collector
315 Court St, 3rd Floor
Clearwater FL 33756
 
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