Many look forward to spring and summer days to spend time on Maine’s waterways, from quiet ponds and majestic larger lakes to meandering rivers and streams. The key to an enjoyable day on the water, whether on a motor-powered boat, a canoe, kayak, or wind propelled watercraft, is to be safe and prepared. Here are a few reminders to keep you and your passengers safe:

  • Always wear a life jacket. If you think you will have time to put it on after you are in the water, think again.
  • Stay alert and be aware of others on the water.
  • Always operate your boat at a safe and reasonable speed for your surroundings.
  • Remember that the law requires you to operate at "headway speed" within 200 feet of any shoreline, including islands, and within a marina or an approved anchorage in coastal or inland waters. "Headway speed" means the slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering and control of the watercraft.
  • Never drink and drive!
  • Check the weather before leaving shore and carefully observe changing weather.
  • Always wear an engine cutoff switch.
  • Watch out for wildlife.
  • Become familiar with the water body. Look at a map for depths and any potential hazards. Lake associations, Maine guides, and local wardens can be a great resource.
  • Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and wear a hat and sunscreen to avoid overexposure to the sun.
  • Always tell someone where you are going, and when you will be back

Protect our waters from aquatic invasive species

Maine waters, as well as the fish, wildlife, and recreation they support, are threatened each year by introductions of fish, plants, diseases, and other aquatic invasive species that compete with and displace native natural communities. Do your part by learning how to properly clean and dry your watercraft, motor, trailer and equipment before leaving water access.

Learn more


Where can I register a boat?

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) Office in Augusta is the central office for boat registrations and registration records. Many Maine municipal tax collectors or town clerks are Recreational Vehicle Agents for MDIFW.

Boat registrations may be renewed online if your town is part of the program. This online service allows you to register your Boat (vessel) with the State of Maine. Following your transaction, you will receive a confirmation page to print for immediate use. Your official registration and stickers will arrive at the shipping address specified within thirty days.

If you are registering a watercraft in a town other than your town of legal residence, you must first pay your excise tax in your town of residence. Be sure you have a receipt that shows the annual excise tax has been paid on your watercraft or your watercraft cannot be registered at another location.

  1. All motorboats of any size, including airmobiles and personal watercraft, must be registered in Maine to be used on the waters of this State, except the following:
  2. Watercraft required to have a valid marine document as a watercraft of the United States. Vessels over 5 net ton used for commercial fishing must be documented. Call the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-800-799-8362 for further information;
  3. Watercraft with valid registration from another state, provided the watercraft registration number is displayed on the motorboat and the motorboat will not be in Maine over 60 consecutive days after the state of principal use has been changed;
  4. Military or public watercraft, except recreational type watercraft of the United States;
  5. A motorboat owned by the United States, a state, or subdivision thereof, which is used for governmental purposes and clearly identifiable as such;
  6. A ship's lifeboat;
  7. Motorboats from another country which are not within Maine over 60 consecutive days; and
  8. Motorboats used exclusively for racing purposes and displaying a valid boat number issued by a recognized racing association.

Fees (*Fee includes $1.00 agent fee.)

0-10 Horsepower Motor - $31.00* with lake and river protection sticker
0-10 Horsepower Motor - $16.00* without lake and river protection sticker

11-50 Horsepower Motor - $36.00* with lake and river protection sticker
11-50 Horsepower Motor - $21.00* without lake and river protection sticker

51-115 Horsepower Motor - $42.00* with lake and river protection sticker
51-115 Horsepower Motor - $27.00* without lake and river protection sticker

Over 116 Horsepower Motor - $50.00* with lake and river protection sticker
Over 116 Horsepower Motor - $35.00* without lake and river protection sticker

Personal Watercraft - $50.00* with lake and river protection sticker
Personal Watercraft - $35.00* without lake and river protection sticker

Duplicate Boat Registration - $1.00 agent fee

Duplicate Boat Registration & Sticker - $2.00

Boat Temporary Transfer - $4.00

Agents may charge a fee of $1.00 for renewals and duplicates, and $2.00 for new registrations, rollovers, or transfers.

Boat excise tax must be paid by a resident to the tax collector of their town before registration. A nonresident, prior to registering a motorboat which is located in Maine more than 75 days during a calendar year, must pay an excise tax to the Maine town where the boat is principally moored, docked or located. If the boat is exempt from tax, a tax exemption form must be completed by the owner and submitted with registration application and registration fee.

Proof of payment of sales tax is required for new registrations (resident and nonresident).

Registrations may be obtained from licensing agents or by mail. For applications and agent information please call (207) 287-8000.

Watercraft registrations are issued for a specific calendar year and are valid through December 31st of the year issued.

Lake and River Protection Sticker required.