Is Insurance Required to Register a Boat in the State of New York?

Is Insurance Required to Register a Boat in the State of New York?
••• motorboat image by Dave from

You don’t need insurance to register a boat in New York as of 2011, but the state does require insurance to register a boat trailer. New York law requires registration for pleasure boats propelled by motors whether you use the engine all of the time or just occasionally. While the state does not require boat insurance, lenders generally do if you borrowed money to buy the boat.

Boats Required To Register

New York registers recreational powerboats operating in state waters. Unlike some states, it requires registration for Coast Guard documented vessels used exclusively for recreational purposes. Documented vessels don’t need to display New York registration numbers on their bows, but do need to display a current registration sticker. You can operate a boat registered in another state in New York for up to 90 days. New York exempts documented commercial vessels, lifeboats, racing boats and boats that don’t use any type of mechanical propulsion from registration. A tender with a small outboard is not exempt; a tender that you always row is exempt. The state requires registration for sailboats with auxiliary motors.

Boat Registration Paperwork

While, you don’t need proof of insurance to register a boat with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you do need other documents. To register a boat, you need to complete the department’s Form MV-82B and pay a registration fee. New York requires proof of ownership, proof that you paid sales tax on the purchase and a bill of sale to register a boat.

Trailer Registration

If you trailer your boat on New York roads, you need a New York registration for the trailer or a valid out-of-state registration if you’re just visiting. New York requires proof of insurance and inspection for boat trailers, along with proof of ownership, identity and payment of sales tax. Use Form MV-82 to apply for a trailer registration.


Boat U.S., a national association of boaters, says it’s not aware of any state or federal laws requiring owners to carry insurance on a boat as of 2011. If you keep your boat at a marina or boatyard, it may require insurance. If you’ve spent a lot of money on a boat, you may not even consider whether the state, a lender or a marina requires insurance; the decision on buying a policy is simply a decision about whether the cost of the premiums is worth the benefit of protecting yourself from a large loss.