Colorado Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Colorado boat bill of sale form serves as acceptable proof of vessel ownership in the state. It includes the date of the sale, the buyer’s personal information, and a short description of the boat. In addition, the buyer and seller must enter their full names and signatures. The purchaser can use the bill of sale document as a temporary registration for thirty (30) days. After that time, they must provide the state-given registration, or law enforcement can ticket them.

What is a Colorado Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Colorado vessel bill of sale is the legal document buyers and sellers utilize during a boat transaction. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) provides a simple form for residents to download or print. It has multiple uses as individuals can also use it for off-highway vehicle (OHV) and snowmobile purchases.

The seller submits the signed bill of sale, registration form, and payment to the CPW. They receive a statement of approval or denial from the state in exchange. If approved, they obtain a registration number and decal, which they must affix to each side of the boat. Denied applicants must learn why the state denied them and re-apply with the updated information. Otherwise, they cannot operate the vessel in Colorado waters.

Did You Know?

Colorado residents sixteen (16) and older can operate a vessel by themselves without taking a boating safety course. Individuals fourteen (14) or fifteen (15) years of age can only drive a boat if they have passed a boating safety education course and have the certificate on board. While not required, anyone can take a boat safety exam to receive a boater education card.

How to Register a Boat in Colorado (5 Steps)

Motor-powered vessels and sailboats operated in Colorado waterways require registration within thirty (30) days of purchasing. Owners can drive their boat while they wait for their registration to process as long as they have the original bill of sale on board.

Step 1 – Requirements

Unmotorized vessels and boats without a sail, such as kayaks and canoes, do not need registration.

Out-of-staters with valid registration from their state of residence do not need a Colorado registration unless they use the boat for less than sixty (60) consecutive days. After that time, they need to register their vessel with the CPW.

Step 2 – Register

Colorado boat registration can occur by mail or at a local CPW office. Registrars must remain organized during this process, ensuring they provide the necessary forms and fees.

Bring the Following:

Step 3 – Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Sticker

Lakes and rivers contaminated with ANS destroy ecosystems and boats. When creatures, such as zebra mussels, attach to the vessel engine, they eventually destroy it. Colorado, among other states, created laws that minimize the growth of ANS in its water systems (§ 33.10.5-104.5).

As a result, the state requires watercraft to undergo inspection in the following situations: 1) entering Colorado waterways after boating in another state, 2) leaving rivers or lakes in Colorado infested with ANS, 3) upon request, and 4) before registering an out-of-state boat.

If the vessel passes inspection, the owner must pay to receive an ANS stamp. The CPW charges in-state boaters $25 per registration period and out-of-state boaters $50. The proceeds go to organizations that fight ANS in the state’s water systems. Owners must always have an electronic or printed receipt when operating their vessel. Individuals who cannot provide proof of purchase can receive fines up to $150.

Step 4 – Number + Decal

After the state approves registration for the first time, the owner must follow the instructions for adhering the number and decals to their boat. Individuals must remove previous registration numbers and decals before applying the new information.

Colorado registration numbers have eight (8) digits. All numbers begin with “CL,” followed by four (4) unique numbers and two (2) distinctive letters. For example, a registration could appear as CL-4850-NR.

Both sides of the boat must display the number in three (3) inch high, block-style lettering. A space or hyphen must enclose each section of numbers to make it easily readable. In addition, the owner must choose a color that stands out against the boat’s paint. The number does not change as long as the vessel remains registered in Colorado.

Unlike the number, decals change yearly. Every time the owner renews the registration, they receive a new decal, which replaces the previous. Individuals must remove the old decal before affixing the new one. The sticker must appear on both sides of the vessel to the left of the registration number. The owner cannot place other numbers, designs, and stickers (aside from the ANS stamp) in this area.

Step 5 – Renew

A Colorado boat registration lasts for one (1) calendar year. It starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st. The CPW accepts applications beginning November 16 of each year (or forty-five (45) days before expiration). Renewals can occur online as long as the owner knows their registration number. If they do not, they can reapply by mail or phone (303-297-1192).

Mailing Address:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife-Registration Unit
13787 S Highway 85
Littleton, CO 80125