Sailors are responsible for knowing and abiding by the maritime laws applicable to them and their vessels. Whether new or experienced in sailing, you have to know the rules. Part of that is registering your sailboat with the proper authorities.
Sailboat registration in Maine is done to help authorities in the region maintain safety on the water. Having information on vessels allows for faster identification when necessary. The same principle applies to the reasons you need to register your car.
Who Regulates Sailboat Registration in Maine?
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is responsible for the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the wildlife resources and inland fisheries of the state. It was established in 1880 and has since evolved to enable responsible and safe enjoyment of outdoor activities, including sailing. To accomplish that, they require new and used sailboat owners to register their vessels.
You can visit the central MDIFW office in Augusta to register your sailboat. Additionally, several Maine municipal tax collectors also provide Recreational Vehicle Agent services for the department.
What Are the Requirements to Register Your Sailboat in Maine?
The primary document you need to register your sailboat in Maine is the bill of sale proving your ownership of the vessel. If you purchased a second-hand boat and previously registered in Maine, you should bring the old registration number.
The state sales tax is based on the purchase price and collected during private sales. Dealers collect this at the time of the sale. Also required is an excise tax, which is computed based on the length, age, and power of the vessel.
The last step is to pay the appropriate registration fees.
How Much Does It Cost to Register a Sailboat in Maine?
Registration fees for a sailboat in Maine are based on its horsepower. See the list below for specific fees:
- Personal Watercraft – $50 if including lake and river protection sticker, $35 without
- 0-10 Horsepower – $31 if including lake and river protection sticker, $16 without
- 11-50 Horsepower – $36 if including lake and river protection sticker, $21 without
- 51-115 Horsepower – $42 if including lake and river protection sticker, $27 without
- Over 116 Horsepower – $50 if including lake and river protection sticker, $35 without
All prices include the $1 agent fee.
What Is the Lake and River Protection Sticker?
Any vessel having a motor operating on inland waterways is required to have the Lake and River Protection sticker, otherwise known as the Milfoil sticker. These stickers are to be placed on each side of the vessel.
You can get the sticker while registering your sailboat with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Displaying Registration Number and Stickers
After registering your sailboat, you will receive the official registration number and appropriate stickers. These need to be displayed properly on the vessel.
The registration number and validation sticker should be visible on both sides of the sailboat. These details should be above the waterline at the bow of the boat, without any obstruction around them. Here are guides on how to do that:
- Paint or permanently attach the registration number on the hull of the sailboat.
- Use contrasting colors to maximize visibility.
- Do not use varying colors or complicated font styles.
- Write all characters in block letters or numerals.
- The details should measure three inches in height.
- They should read left to right.
No one can operate a sailboat on the inland waterways of Maine without placing the lake and river protection stickers. They should be placed on each side of the bow, ideally three inches behind the validation sticker.
Renewal of Sailboat Registration in Maine
To renew your registration, you can visit the online renewal website. You will need the following details:
- Information about the registrant
- All information about the sailboat, including serial number and registration number
- An accepted payment method
- A printer, if you want to print the temporary registration
The service is only available to those who have registered their sailboat previously and reside in a town or city participating in the program. Otherwise, visit the MDIFW for renewals. You can check this list to see if your residence is included.
When to Renew Sailboat Registration in Maine?
All registrations of sailboats in Maine are valid from January 1 to December 31 of that year. As a boat owner, make sure you renew before the deadline. Otherwise, you may pay additional fees.