Delaware Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Delaware boat bill of sale form outlines an arrangement between a buyer and seller. It provides the identifying information of both parties and a brief description of the boat. The document can also transfer motors and trailers (if included in the deal). However, the buyer and seller can also choose to complete separate bill of sale forms for the items.

  • Statutes: § 1.0 to 12.2.4
  • Signing Requirements: The buyer and seller must sign before a notary public.

What is a Delaware Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Delaware vessel bill of sale serves as a payment notice when transferring a boat from one person to another. It illuminates the main points of the sale, such as the condition of the boat and its value. The buyer and seller inscribe their full names and signatures to agree to the information listed therein. After paying the seller, the buyer receives ownership of the boat and add-ons (if applicable).

In most cases, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Fish and Wildlife requires a notarized bill of sale form. The only exception is if the buyer and seller visit the office, present their identification card, and sign in the presence of the registration agent.

Did You Know?

Delaware requires that all boat operators complete and pass a boat safety course. A driver who cannot present an education card will be fined (even if they are a resident of another state). There is no minimum age requirement to take the course. However, anyone under the age of fourteen (14) cannot legally drive the boat, regardless of whether or not they have passed the safety course.

How to Register a Boat in Delaware (5 Steps)

The DNREC requires all motorized boats, including homemade vessels, to have a registration. Residents and non-residents have sixty (60) days to register their boat after purchasing or transferring from out-of-state (§ 2113(c)).

Step 1 – Residency Status

Owners must consider where they plan to use their boat the most. If they primarily operate it in Delaware waterways, they can register it in the state. However, if they mostly drive it outside of Delaware, they would need to obtain an out-of-state registration.

For example, if a Delaware resident uses their boat in New Jersey most often, they must have a New Jersey registration. If they only bring it to New Jersey sometimes but still use it in Delaware the most, they can acquire a Delaware registration.

In addition, an owner cannot register their vessel in Delaware if they use or store it in another state for more than sixty (60) continuous days.

Step 2 – Register Boat

Residents must make an appointment with a boat registration agent to submit the required documentation and fees. Upon creating a meeting, the registrar should inquire about the necessary forms to ensure they have the paperwork in order beforehand.

Bring the Following:

Step 3 – Obtain Certificate + Sign

This section only applies to non-residents planning to use or register a boat in Delaware.

Out-of-state owners must hold a certificate to launch their vessel from a Delaware boat ramp. Individuals can obtain this certification by submitting the required form and fees in person, through the mail, or online.

Non-residents who keep their boat in Delaware year-round can apply for registration in the state. They must send an affidavit (Form MV725) that includes their in- and out-of-state addresses, driver’s license number and state, signature, and trailer information.

Step 4 – Display Decals + Number

Approved applicants receive an official card with the boat’s information. The document must remain on board when the owner operates the vessel. It helps to identify the vessel if it becomes lost or stolen. In addition, drivers must present the card if they are in an accident or boat patrol stops them. Law enforcement tickets boaters who do not have a registration card present.

Delaware registration numbers begin with the letters “DL,” followed by (4) digits and two (2) letters. For example, a registration number could appear as DL-4859-HF. Per state law, the owner must imprint the number and decals on the boat correctly.

The person applying the number to the boat must make sure they use permanent paint or a sticker. Each section of letters and numbers must have a space or hyphen (such as in the example listed above). In addition, it must have block-style lettering with a height of three (3) inches and be colored so that others can easily see it against the boat’s paint.

The owner should place the decal no more than six (6) inches after the registration number and align it with the number. They must remove and replace the sticker each year they receive a new sticker.

Step 5 – Renew Each Year

In-state boat registrations last for one (1) year with an annual expiration date of December 31st. Residents can renew through the online portal, mail, or in-person.

Owners who lose their cards or decals during the active registration period must apply for new ones. The state provides an online service for individuals to use for a small fee. Shortly after submitting the forms, they will receive the new cards and/or decals through the mail.

Mailing Address:
DNREC Boat Registration
Division of Fish and Wildlife
89 Kings Highway
Dover, DE 19001