Virginia Boating Safety Course


CHAPTER 9: State Rules and Regulations


Successful registration results in a certificate of number, physical boat numbers and a decal. Your registration MUST be kept on board the vessel at all times. (It is advisable to keep the registration in a dry-bag on board.) Boat numbers must:

  • Be affixed on both sides of the bow (forward half of the vessel above the waterline);
  • Be block letters, three inches high and contrasting with the color of your boat;
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or a hyphen (the separation must be greater than the width of the letter I or the number 1). For example: VA 1234 BX or VA-1234-BX.

This is a federal and state requirement.

Lack of the correct documentation can result in delays and fines.

Make sure all boats are properly marked and documented. It is important to keep your papers with the boat – be particularly aware when transferring ownership of your vessel.

See the chart below for a list of registration fees.


Registration of watercraft less than 16 feet length


Registration of watercraft 16 to less than 20 feet length


Registration of watercraft 20 to less than 40 feet length


Registration of watercraft 40 feet length and longer


Livery of up to 10 watercraft


Livery of more than 10 watercraft