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Boat registration

Before you begin, make sure you have all the required documents for boat registration and titling.

How to register your boat

Step 1: Complete, accurate and signed application and forms

If a boat registration is submitted online, the online process includes an electronic attestation in lieu of a signature.

  • All fields on the application and forms are required unless stated otherwise. Incomplete applications will result in processing delays. A complete list of applications and forms is provided here.
  • All primary and additional owners that are individuals must provide their name, address, date of birth and one of the following identifiers:
    • DNR Customer ID number
    • Social Security Number
    • Driver’s license number
  • All primary and additional owners that are non-individuals (businesses, trusts, or state/local governments) must provide the name, address, and taxpayer ID number (FEIN or Social Security number) of the business/trust/government.
  • Application must also include the boat’s model name and model year of vessel.

Step 2: Certificate of Registration

To register your boat, you will need to provide the information from the previous owner’s certificate of registration (wallet-sized card) in addition to your application and fees.

Step 3 (may be required): Certificate of Title or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO)

Boats previously registered in Wisconsin

Boats 16 feet in length or greater previously registered in Wisconsin are titled. The seller must provide you with the original Certificate of Title for you to transfer the boat into your name. The Certificate of Title must be signed; if the Certificate of Title lists more than one owner and the names are separated by the word “and”, all owners listed on the title must sign. If the word “or” separates the names, any of the owners listed on the title may sign.

Boats previously registered in another state

To register and title the boat, the DNR will need the original signed Certificate of Title if the boat is coming from a state that titles boats or a registration card if the boat is coming from a state that does not title boats.

Boats never registered before (i.e. new boats)

Applications to register new boats, or boats that have never been registered in any state, require the original Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) to be submitted in lieu of Certificate of Title.

If this is a home-built boat, copies of the materials / supplies receipt should be submitted.

Step 4 (may be required): Lien release

If the Certificate of Title identifies outstanding liens, your application must include a lien release from the listed lien holder to transfer ownership. Lien release documents must identify the lien holder listed on the title, the boat owner on account, and the boat by hull ID number or Wisconsin registration number. A lien release can include a signature from the lien holder in the lien release section of the Certificate of Title, a signed letter (on company letterhead) from the lien holder or the signed lien notice provided by the Department.

     

    Where to register your boat

    You have two options for submitting your registration application.

    Option 1: Online

    Sign into your GoWILD customer account at GoWild.WI.Gov and fill out your boat registration application online. Using the online site to transfer a titled boat will require you to mail in the boat Certificate of Title and any supporting documents to complete the transfer of ownership. Once your online boat registration application is submitted, you will have the option to print a 60-day temporary operating receipt which can be used to immediately operate your boat until registration materials arrive in the mail.

    Note: For boats 16 feet or longer, you must mail in the boat title, MSO and other supporting documents to complete the transaction. Until then, your boat transaction will be in “pending” (incomplete) status.

    Option 2: Mail

    All fields on the Boat Registration and Titling Application (Form 9400-193) or on the Fleet Boat Registration and Titling Application (Form 9400-624) are required unless stated otherwise. See below for additional application and forms. Incomplete applications will result in processing delays. If you mail in your complete registration application, you must wait until your new certificate of registration and decals arrive in the mail before you can legally operate your boat. The only exception is if the application was completed and submitted on your behalf by a DNR authorized boat dealer.

    Mail complete application to:
    DNR Processing Center
    PO BOX 78701
    Milwaukee, WI 53278-0701

    After the DNR processes your application, all DNR registration documents such as your certificate of registration, expiration decals, or Certificate of Title will be sent to you via US mail at the address on file. If you are registering a boat that meets Wisconsin Titling Requirements, the Certificate of Title will be mailed in a separate envelope from the registration documents. Registration and Titling documents cannot be printed at DNR Service Center locations.

    Updating your contact information

    It is important the department has your updated address on file so you receive registration renewal notices and other registration materials sent by the Department. State law requires boat owners to notify the department within 15 days after moving. (State statute 30.55(2))

    To update your contact information you can log into your DNR GoWILD customer account. After logging in, you will be asked to verify or edit your address and contact information.

    If you have difficulties accessing your DNR GoWILD account, you may also email us. We ask that you include your customer ID number (if known), first and last name, date of birth, old address, new address, phone number and email address.

    Application and forms

    Select the appropriate application or additional forms required to complete your transaction.

    Renewal and Replacement Materials:

    • Boat Registration Renewal and Replacement Materials Request [form 9400-622]: Used by the current owners of record to renew the registration or request replacement materials (decals and/or certificate) for a boat that is already registered in their name. You may also complete the renewal or replacement request [online]. If you need to transfer a boat into your name, you will complete the Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application [online or mail]
    • Certificate of Title Replacement Request [form 9400-618]: Used by the current owners of record to request a replacement Wisconsin Certificate of Title that has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or damaged/illegible when there is no change in ownership. You may also complete the replacement title request [online]. The owner of record will complete the request and submit with the required $5 fee. The replacement titles will only be mailed to the primary owner on record.

    Additional Forms:

    • Release of Ownership Interest Request Form [form 9400-617]: Used by the current owners of record or their legal representative to apply for a replacement Wisconsin Certificate of Title and release ownership interest of the boat to a new owner. The owner of record or legal representative will complete the form, assign the ownership to the new owner, sign the form presence of a notary public and submit with the required $5 fee. Any co-owner with tenancy in common (AND ownership) or any co-legal representatives must also complete the form. The request must be submitted with a Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application completed by the new owner. See the form instructions for additional information on completing the form.
    • Affidavit of Authority to Transfer Boat Title from Trust [form 9400-620]: Used by the trustees of a trust to transfer ownership interest of a boat that is registered and titled in the trust name. The trustees will complete the affidavit and sign it in presence of a notary public. The certificate of title must be signed by trustees along with any co-owners with tenancy in common (AND ownership). The affidavit and title must be submitted with a Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application completed by the new owner. See the affidavit for instructions if the certificate of title is unavailable, additional information on completing the form, and additional form requirements.
    • Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Domestic Partner [form 9400-471]: Used by a surviving spouse or domestic partner of a deceased owner of record to authorize the transfer of ownership interest in a Wisconsin titled boat to themselves or third party. The surviving spouse or domestic partner will complete the affidavit and sign it in presence of a notary public. The Wisconsin Certificate of Title must be signed by the spouse or domestic partner along with any co-owners with tenancy in common (AND ownership). The affidavit and title must be submitted with a Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application completed by the new owner. See the affidavit for instructions if the certificate of title is unavailable, additional information on completing the form, and additional form requirements.
    • Affidavit of Authority to Transfer Boat Title [form 9400-619]: Used by a legal representative of the current owners of record, an individual awarded a boat by court order, or other reason deemed necessary by the department to support the request and authorization to transfer of ownership interest in a boat. The affiant will complete the affidavit and sign it in presence of a notary public. The legal representative or individual must provide supporting documentation. The certificate of title must be signed by legal representative along with any co-owners with tenancy in common (AND ownership). The affidavit and title must be submitted with a Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application completed by the new owner. See the affidavit for instructions if the certificate of title is unavailable, additional information on completing the form, required supporting documents, and additional form requirements.
    • Boat Repossession Affidavit [form 9400-470]: Used by a lienholder on a Wisconsin titled boat to request transfer of ownership interest in a repossessed boat. The repossessor will complete the affidavit, assign ownership to the new owner (if applicable), and sign the affidavit in presence of a notary public. The Wisconsin Certificate of Title must be surrendered, if available. The affidavit and title (if available) must be submitted with a Boat or Fleet Registration and Titling Application completed by the new owner.