Boater Registration

What do I need to know about boater registration/licensing?


Boats over 12 feet long and motorboats of any length, including those using electric trolling motors, must be registered to be operated on public waters. Boat registration, transferring of boat ownership and replacing lost boat registration stickers are done through your local county treasurer office. New boat owners have 45 days from the date of purchase to complete the licensing and registering process through their local treasurer’s office.  Boats purchased from a private party or dealership must have current registration prior to being operated on the water.  A temporary permit can be purchase through your local treasurer’s office. 

Boats are registered for a one year period. Fees are based on the length of boat and the type of propulsion. All registration needs to be done at the county treasurer's office in the county of residence, not where a boat is kept or primarily used.

Boats registered in another state may be in South Dakota for 60 consecutive days before registration is required in South Dakota. However, nonresident boats need to be licensed in South Dakota if they have been subject to a contract for a berth for a period of more than sixty consecutive days during any calendar year in marina facilities located within this state.