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How to Register a Jet Ski [Registration Tool and Guide]

How to Register a Jet Ski [Registration Tool and Guide]

Purchasing a new jet ski always means a lot of excitement, but also some paperwork, of course.

When it comes to jet ski registration, there are many questions out there.

Do jet skis have to be registered? How much does it cost per state? Do you need a title on a jet ski? Since the U.S. Coast Guard considers jet skis boats, you should know and follow the laws to stay legal on the water. For your convenience, we, at JetDrift, have gathered the most important information on the topic. Moreover, you can also find our Jet Ski Registration Tool in this post!

Do Jet Skis Have to be Registered?

Just like your car, your jet ski also needs the proper documentation and jet ski license, in some states, to stay legal on the water. In the past, jet skis were much like “water toys” but today they look more like small boats.

It means today’s biggest jet skis weigh more than 1,000 pounds and can reach 60-70 mph on the water. So this is why it seems they’re not toys anymore! Because of this, they are strictly regulated by law in many states. Let’s see what you need to know to stay legal!

Do Jet Skis Have to be Registered?

Yes, jet skis have to be registered if they’re operated on public waterways. Since the U.S. Coast Guard considers jet skis Class-A inboard boats, it means they have to be registered in the same way as any other motorized boats. Additionally, the registration numbers and the HIN numbers have to be displayed on the jet ski, and the registration papers must be kept on board.

Don’t forget that the regulations regarding jet ski registration may vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check the local laws before you register your jet ski!

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Jet Ski?

The average cost of registering a jet ski is around $5 to $40, depending on the state. For example, in New York, the current jet ski registration fee is just $22.50, while you’ll need to be prepared to pay $37 in California, or $32 in Texas.

If you want to register your jet ski, you have to pay for the registration fee for a Class A inboard boat (boats less than 16 feet).

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Jet Ski in Florida?

If you want to register a jet ski in Florida, it costs only $5.50. Surprisingly, Florida has one of the smallest jet ski registration fees in the US, as other states may request $20-$40 to register your jet ski. Don’t forget that beyond the registration you’ll also need a jet ski license in Florida!

How to Register a Jet Ski?

Jet skis have to be registered in the same manner as any other motorized boat. Since the fees and requirements to register a jet ski vary from state to state, you have to check the local laws first. To register a jet ski, simply click on your state on this map below, and follow your state’s instructions! Be prepared to fill out a form to provide information on your jet ski like its manufacturer, engine and fuel type, and many others.

Don’t forget that jet skis are considered Class A inboard boats by law, so if you can’t see an individual registration category for jet skis (PWCs), it probably means you have to register your jet ski under th Class A category.

You also have to pay the applicable fee. Many states allow you to pay the jet ski registration fee online for your convenience. In many cases, jet ski registrations are transferrable, which means it can be transferred to the new owner if you sell your jet ski. If you buy a new jet ski, you can also ask the dealerships to register your jet ski before you pick it up.

Jet Ski Registration Tool


Registering in Other States

Be aware that you have to register your jet ski with your state. But what if you want to ride your jet ski in other states as well? Don’t worry, as it’s legal, since all states allow you to ride your jet ski on their waters. But riding in another state is just for a designated period of time which varies from state to state!

This means if you use your jet ski mainly in another state, you’ll have to transfer the jet ski’s registration to the new state. Finally, as a rule of thumb, your jet skis must be registered in the state where it is primarily used. For example, if you live in Georgia, but ride your jet ski mainly in Florida, it means you have to register and pay Florida registration fees.

For the allowed time frames and specific laws, please check the local regulations in both states!

Jet Ski Registration Stickers

What do the Jet Ski Registration Numbers Mean?

Once you’ve registered your jet ski, you get a registration number which allows the authorities to identify your jet ski. Because of this, the registration number has to be displayed on the jet ski.

Keep in mind that the required design of the letters varies depends on the individual state! Are you wondering where you put numbers on a jet ski?

Where do Jet Ski Registration Stickers Go?

The best place to install the registration stickers on a jet ski is the side of the bow (front of the jet ski). Due to the design of the registration numbers, its required position depends on your state, but in most states you have to install one on each side of the bow, usually on the front third of the jet ski.

Since many other requirements like the numbers’ size, color, or font may differ from state to state, don’t forget to check your state’s boating website for further information.

As a rule of thumb, the jet ski registration numbers should be clearly visible, and they should be read left to right. It’s always wise to make a plan before you start to put on the numbers. Here is a helpful tutorial video on how to install the registration numbers on your jet ski:

Jet Ski Registration Sticker Ideas

How you can display the registration numbers? The best practice for displaying the registration numbers on your jet ski is by installing vinyl stickers. You can find many services from which you can order your sticker online, or you can choose from pre-cut vinyl numbers.

Speaking of the material and the design of the numbers, there are plenty of sources to choose form. Let’s see what your options are one by one.

Mailbox numbers: Although they’re very cheap and available everywhere, mailbox numbers are not recommended. They don’t just look dumb, but are much less durable and don’t meet the requirements in many states. After spending thousands of dollars on a jet ski, it doesn’t make sense to spend your money on bad-quality mailbox numbers.

Pre-cut vinyl numbers: Pre-cut vinyl numbers aren’t the best solution, but are still a better option than mailbox numbers. They’re cheap and arrive in many sizes and colors, and if you’re looking for something stylish, they’re also available in 3D form.

Drawbacks? They’re hard to install properly, as you have to install them one by one, so therefore, it’s not easy to get a nice result. Moreover, they can be less durable than the custom-made numbers.

Custom-made vinyl numbers: Your best option is inarguably the custom-made jet ski registration stickers. They’re made of durable vinyl which lasts much longer on a jet ski compared to the cheap pre-cut numbers.

Since you can choose from endless fonts, colors, and sizes, you can be sure that your jet ski registration sticker meets the requirements.

Additionally, you can install these numbers much easier since they’re printed on transfer tape, which means they’ll line up on your jet ski perfectly. You just have to smooth out every bubble under the numbers and remove the transfer tape; that’s all!

Jet Ski Registration Decal

Beyond the registration number, you may also get a registration decal in some states, which shows the expiration date of the registration period. Simply put, a jet ski registration decal is a small sticker provided by your state which should be installed near the registration number.

As this expiration decal indicates, you have to renew your jet ski’s registration after a specified time, which is usually one to three years depending on your state.

Does a Jet Ski Have a Title?

Many jet skis have a title as it’s a required legal document in several states. The title provides ownership, so it’s recommended to title your jet ski. The best practice is to check your state’s jet ski title regulations carefully as the requirements vary by state!

Do You Need a Title for a Jet Ski?

In many states, you need title for your jet ski, but even if your state doesn’t require one, it’s highly recommended you get one. This is because the title provides ownership protection to you, going beyond the jet ski registration. It can also come in handy if you want to finance or sell your jet ski!

Can You Buy a Jet Ski Without a Title?

It’s highly recommended not to buy a jet ski without a title, as it proves the ownership of the current owner. Instead, the best practice is to ask the current owner to order the title, which can be transferred to you after the purchase. The requirement in the purchase of a jet ski without a title varies from state to state, so again, check the local laws upfront.

How Do You Get a Jet Ski Title?

To get a jet ski title, you have to contact the boating department in your state. They can provide you with appropriate instructions and information on how to get a title for a jet ski, as the process may differ in each state. In general, you have to fill some forms, pay a fee of around $10-$20, and you will receive your jet ski title by mail.  To reach your state boating department, just click on your location on the map above.


If you buy a jet ski, don’t overlook the paperwork as you’ll need some legal documents to prove ownership and stay legal on the water.   Since jet skis are considered boats by law, they have to be registered in the same way as motorboats of a length less than 16 feet.

Once your jet ski’s unique registration number is issued, you have to display it on both sides of the jet ski. The requirements of the numbers’ design and location may vary, so check the applicable regulations.

Simply put, the jet ski registration stickers do the same job as car’s license plates, as they allow the jet skis to be identified by authorities.  When it comes to jet ski titles, some states require them, while others don’t. Even if your state doesn’t require one, it’s wise to obtain as it may come in handy in many cases.

Beyond the registration and the title, don’t forget that you’ll need a jet ski license in many states to ride a jet ski legally!  Moreover, it’s always wise to have insurance on your jet ski as well.

As a final word, the jet ski registration requirements may vary from state to state, so to stay legal, always check and follow the applicable regulations to stay safe and legal on the water!