How to Register a Boat in Colorado

Boating is a popular pastime in Colorado, with its many beautiful lakes and rivers providing ample opportunities for water activities. If you're planning to operate a boat in Colorado, it's essential to register your vessel with the state. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of registering a boat in Colorado.

Step 1. Determine if Your Boat Requires Registration

Before you begin the registration process, you'll need to determine if your boat requires registration in Colorado. In general, any motorized watercraft or sailboat must be registered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Kayaks, canoes, and other non-motorized watercraft do not require registration.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documentation

Before you can submit your application to CPW and register your boat, you should make sure you have all the necessary information ahead of time. For Colorado residents, you must show proof of ownership when applying for a boat registration. Proof of ownership may take the form of one of any of the following documents.

·        Bill of sale that includes the buyer’s and seller’s names and signatures, the hull identification number (HIN), the boat’s make, model, and year, and the date of sale

·        Previous registration certificate that lists the applicant as the registered owner

·        Manufacturer’s Certificate or State of Origin

·        Title

·        Any court document proving ownership

·        A collection of personal property by affidavit form

·        A physical inspection form competed by a CPW agent

In addition to proof of ownership, you will also need to find your boat’s HIN. The HIN is a unique serial number that identifies your vessel and is usually located on the transom of the boat. Most boats will also have the HIN stamped on the hull in the starboard-aft (right-rear) corner of the boat. If your boat does not already have a HIN, you will need to call CPW or take the boat to a state park office for a physical inspection by a CPW officer.

Step 3: Complete the Boat Registration Application

To register your boat in Colorado, you'll need to complete a Boat Registration Application, which can be found here on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. The application will require you to provide information about your vessel, including its make, model, year, length, and propulsion system.

Step 4: Pay the Registration Fee

The registration fee for a boat in Colorado varies depending on the length of the vessel and the type of propulsion system. You can find a fee schedule on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website or listed below. The registration fee may be paid with check made payable to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, or may be paid with credit card by filling out the credit card information section of the registration form.

·        Less than 20’: $35.25 + $25 aquatic nuisance species (ANS) fee

·        20’ – 29’11”: $45.25 + $25 ANS fee

·        Over 30’: $75.25 + $25 ANS fee

Once you have completed the Registration Application Form and attached payment with either check or credit card, you can submit your application in person or by mailing the form, along with payment and any necessary proofs of ownership to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Registration Unit

13787 S. Hwy 85

Littleton, CO 80125 (at the SW corner of Sante Fe and C-470)

Step 5: Display the Registration Decal and Number

Once you've completed the registration process and paid the fee, you'll receive a registration decal and number that must be displayed on your boat. The registration decal should be placed on the port (left) side of the vessel, and the registration number should be displayed on both sides of the bow of the boat. The registration number should be at least three inches in height and in a contrasting color to the hull of the boat. Along with your registration decals, you must also display your ANS stamp.

Step 6: Renew your Registration

Registration in Colorado is valid from January 1st through December 31st of each year. You will receive a registration renewal card from CPW in the mail some time in November. In order to renew, you must have your current registration number. You can renew your registration by mail, in person, or online at the CPW website.


In conclusion, registering your boat in Colorado is a straightforward process that involves determining if your vessel requires registration, obtaining a hull identification number, completing the registration application, providing proof of ownership, paying the registration fee, and displaying the registration decal and number on your boat. By following these steps, you can ensure that your boat is legal to operate in Colorado's beautiful waterways.