Register a boat
All boats—including personal watercraft (PWC)—with an engine of 3kW or more must be registered when they are on the water in Queensland.
If your boat is not used entirely for private recreation or is not owned by a school, a surf lifesaving club or other community group, you will need to get commercial registration.
How to register your boat or PWC
Register your boat at a transport and motoring customer service centre or, if you live in a rural area, you can visit a QGAP office, Magistrates Court or local police station that provides registration services.
To register your boat, you must have the following:
- a completed Queensland regulated ship registration application (F3525)
- evidence of the boat’s origin (such as a purchase receipt)
- evidence of your identity (such as a current driver licence)
- payment for registration costs (if applicable)—you may qualify for a registration concession. Third party insurance is not included in the registration cost—you will need to take this cover out with an insurer.
Boats 15m or more in length
If your boat is 15m or more in length (PDF, 55KB)—applications for new registration, transfer of ownership or change of boat details must be endorsed by Maritime Safety Queensland before the registration can be processed by Transport and Main Roads. Email your completed Queensland regulated ship registration application (F3525) to Maritime_Standards@tmr.qld.gov.au for endorsement, or take the application to a transport and motoring customer service centre or, if you live in a rural area, a QGAP office, Magistrates Court or local police station that provides registration services.
Registration numbers and labels
Once registered, you will get registration numbers allocated to your boat and a registration label.
You must display registration numbers so they can be read from 30m away and in a contrasting colour to the hull of the boat. The size of the registration numbers depends on the type of boat:
- Boats capable of planing—at least 150mm high on both sides.
- Boats not capable of planing—at least 75mm high on both sides or the stern.
- PWCs— must be at least 100mm high and on both sides.
The registration label must be displayed:
- on the outside of the boat
- above the waterline
- near the registration numbers.
If the registration numbers are displayed on the side of the boat or PWC the registration label should be displayed on the left (port) side.
Renew your registration
You will receive a renewal notice about 5 weeks before your registration expires. Make sure you renew your registration before the due date or you cannot operate the boat or PWC.
After we receive your payment, we will send you a new registration label and certificate in the mail. It may take at least 10 working days to receive your label and certificate—depending on how you paid and if you live in a remote area.
Once you have received your new registration label in the mail, remove your expired label and attach your new registration label to your boat.
If you do not remove your expired label, you can be fined. Remove the old label as soon as the new label is attached—or within 21 days of the date that your registration would have expired. If you pay your registration after the due date, attach your new label within 21 days of the date that you paid. If you do not attach your new registration label, you can be fined.
When registration has expired
Your registration expires if you don’t pay the registration fee by the expiry date.
If your registration has expired, your boat or PWC is unregistered—and possibly uninsured—until the fee is paid. If you operate an unregistered boat you can be fined.
You have 3 months to renew your registration after the expiry date. After this date, you will need to apply for a new registration.
Should you renew your registration during the 3 month grace period, your registration will be backdated to the anniversary date of the expired registration. A late renewal fee will apply. If you don't want this to happen, you may apply for a new registration.
Change or transfer your registration details
You can change your boat registration details at a transport and motoring customer service centre or, if you live in a rural area, you can visit a QGAP office, Magistrates Court or local police station that provides registration services. Take with you a completed change of Queensland regulated ship particulars notification form (F3527).
If you have sold your boat, you may be eligible to transfer the registration online as the seller.
If you have bought a recreational boat, you need to change the ownership details into your name within 14 days of the purchase. Take with you:
- a completed Queensland regulated ship registration transfer (F3521)
- evidence of the boat’s origin (such as a purchase receipt)
- evidence of your identity (such as a current driver licence).
Alternatively you may be eligible to transfer the registration online as the buyer. Note: The seller needs to complete their part of transfer online or in person before you can transfer the registration into your name online.
If you have bought or sold a boat with a registered trailer, you also need to transfer the trailer registration.
If your boat or PWC is a tender to a registered ship, it is exempt from registration if all of the following apply:
- it is only used within 2 nautical miles of the parent ship
- it is being used to transport people or provisions between the ship and the shore—this does not include fishing or sightseeing activities
- it is smaller than the parent ship
- it is 6m in length or smaller.
The tender must be marked on the exterior with the word 'tender' and the parent ship’s registration numbers, in characters at least 75mm high. If this is not possible, markings should be on the inside of the boat in the largest characters possible. If the tender is used for more than 1 ship, it may be marked with the owner's name.
Interstate and overseas registration
Recreational boats with valid interstate or overseas registration can operate in Queensland:
- for up to 1 year if the boat has current registration from a foreign country
- while on interstate voyages if the boat has current registration from another state or territory.