How To Register A Boat In Wisconsin

Are you confused as to how to go about your boat registration in Wisconsin as a boat owner? Maybe you’ve heard different stories about it that got you confused. Do not worry any longer as this is the right guide for you. This content provides answers to all the questions you may have and gives all the information you need to know about boat registration.

How to go about your Boat Registration in Wisconsin

Some processes would help complete your boat registration. These processes have been categorized into steps to create an easy guide for you as you are going for your registration. 

Step 1 – ensure all forms and applications are accurate, filled, and properly signed 

This first step is the most crucial part of boat registration. You can decide to carry out your registration online rather than going physically to the office. The online process involves your signature as its attestation. Here are the responsibilities you must do for this step;

    1. You are expected to fill all the forms and applications in every field unless there is an instruction that says otherwise. Failure to fill all fields will lead to more delays in the processing of the certificate. You can check properly online to see what a full list of forms and applications looks like. 
    2. Whether you are the primary or additional owner, all names of the individuals involved in ownership should be included in the forms and applications. In addition, their address and date of birth should be filled in too. However, a person is expected to provide;
    1. Social security number 
    2. DNR Customer ID number 
    3. Driver’s license number 
    1. If the boat does not belong to an individual (that is, it belongs to a trust, business, or any level of government), there should be the provision of name, address, and the ID number of the taxpayer (Social Security Number or FEIN) of the trust, business, or government. 
    2. Also, the form should include the model name and year of the boat or vessel. 

Step 2 – Certificate of registration 

Having completely filled all forms and applications, you are a step closer to your boat registration. Nonetheless, you may also need to give information on the certificate of registration from the previous owner of the boat or vessel (if there was a previous owner). The certificate of registration could be a wallet-sized ID card. You should then add the application fees to it. 

Step 3 – Certificate of Title or the Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) 

The certificate of title is not always a constant requirement but it may be required. There are different conditions for different boats due to their origin. 

    • For boats that have already been registered in Wisconsin 

If the boat has been previously registered in Wisconsin or it is longer than 16 feet, it will be titled. The seller of the boat should provide an original Certificate of Title so that the boat can bear your name as its new owner. 

Also, there must be a signature on the certificate. In case of multiple names on the Certificate of Title due to several previous owners, all the names of the people on the certificate must sign. However, if the clause on the list of names is separated by “or,” that implies that any of the names of the listed owners can sign on the title. 

    • For boats that have been registered in another state 

If you want to register a boat from another state, the process is different from a boat already registered in Wisconsin. You must be able to provide an original Certificate of Title that is signed. However, that may apply to states that title boats; some states do not provide titles for their vessels. 

    • boats that have never been registered before you got them

If your boat has never been registered before in any state or Wisconsin, you need an original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). The MSO will serve as the alternative for the Certificate of Title. If the boat is home-built, receipts of the materials and supplies can be submitted. 

Step 4 – Lien Release 

The lien release is not a fix as it may be required or not. If the Certificate of Title shows that there are some outstanding liens, you must include a lien release in your application. Of course, the lien release must be from the lien holder listed in the certificate to show the transfer of ownership. 

Lien release documents should show the identity of the lien holder on the certificate, the owner of the boat on account, and the boat’s Wisconsin registration number or hull ID number. A lien release should have the signature of the lienholder in a section of the Certificate of Title, a signed letter with the company’s letterhead from a signed lien or lienholder from the Department.

How To Submit Your Boat Registration in Wisconsin

You can register and submit your boat’s application using two methods namely;

    1. Method A – Online 
    2. Method B – Mail 

Once you have completed your application and the DNR has processed it, you will receive the registration documents from DNR. The documents include a certificate of registration, certificate of title, or expiration decals. DNR can choose to send the documents to your mail address via US mail. 

Also, if your boat registration is in tandem with the titling requirements of Wisconsin, you will receive your Certificate of Title in a different envelope and not the same envelope that contains the registration documents. It is important to note that the DNR Service Center is not a location where you can print your titling and registration documents. 

How to Update Your Contact Information?

The DNR service department should have any updated information on your form. It could be a change in name or address. The department needs to know these updates to be able to notify you when there is a need for registration renewal or to send you other important materials needed for registration. According to State law, you are expected to inform the department of a change in address during the first 15 days after you must have moved. 

You can always update every information when you log into your customer’s account. After you have been able to log into the account, you will be required to edit or verify your contact information and address. However, you can send an email to the department if you are encountering difficulties while trying to access your account. 

What Are The Other Forms and Applications? 

There are also additional applications or appropriate forms that are necessary to fulfill your registration. 

For Applications 

    • Boat Registration and Titling Application

The owner needs this to apply for a certificate of title or/and registration. You may fulfill the application via mail or online. 

    • Fleet Registration and Titling Application 

The owner needs this application to apply for registration and/or a certificate of titling. Also, it is necessary if you want to get a new boat and more to your fleet. You may complete the application online and by mail. 

    • Add or Remove Lien Application 

The current owner uses this application to update their certificate of title. You can remove or add a lien as a co-owner or add their boat. The recorded real owner of the vessel is expected to complete all the details on the application and send them via mail. You should also include your required fees and Wisconsin Certificate of Title. 

Renewal and Replacement Materials 

    • Boat Registration Renewal and Request to Replacement Materials 

You need this to renew your boat registration or to make a request for materials you may have lost but already registered in your name. However, you can use your mail or online to complete your replacement request or certificate renewal. 

Also, you can transfer the boat to your name by completing the fleet or boat registration and titling application. 

    • Certificate of Title Replacement Request 

You can use this certificate to request a replacement Certificate of Title that may be stolen, lost, destroyed, illegible, or damaged (illegible applies for a change in ownership). Also, you may need to complete the request for a replacement title. 

You may need to complete and submit the request with a $5 fee. The titles will be sent to your mail. 

Additional Forms 

    • Release of Request Form for Ownership Interest 

You or your legal representative may need this form to get a replacement of your Wisconsin Certificate of Title. You can also use it when releasing the boat to the new owner. Either you or your representative can complete the form, give the new owner the owner of the vessel, and append your signature on the form. Also, add the $5 fee. 

Any co-owner can fulfill the form. You can submit the request with the Titling application and fleet or boat registration that you have completed. You can check out the form for additional information. 

Other documents can include;

    1. Affidavit of Authority to Transfer Boat Title from Trust 
    2. Affidavit of Domestic Partner or Surviving Spouse
    3. Affidavit of Authority to Transfer Boat Title 
    4. Boat Repossession Affidavit 


Your next boat registration should not come with much hassle having read this content. You can compile your form online or take advantage of the mail. Register your boat now and enjoy every boat cruise without legal restrictions.

You would have to include your last and first name, date of birth, customer ID number, date of birth, phone number, old address, new address, and email address.

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