Registering your Boat in New Mexico - FAQ's

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1.  I just bought a used boat that is currently registered in another state. How do I register it?

2. Do I have to register a canoe, kayak or raft?

3. Do I have to register a sailboat?.

4. Do I have to register any vessel that is propelled by an electric trolling motor?

5. My New Mexico Vessel Registration has expired. How do I renew it? Are there any late fees?

6. How do I replace my lost or misplaced registration card/certificate of number, validation decals or a replace my title?

7. What Are the Regulations for the placement of the New Mexico Vessel Registration Number?

8. Can a New Mexico Registration Number (Certificate of Number) Become Invalid?

9. If I take my New Mexico boat to another state, do I have to re-register?

10. Are military personnel exempt from registering their vessels in New Mexico? 

11.  I recently purchased a boat and a trailer.  Where do I register and title the trailer?

12. My New Mexico boat is homemade and does not have a serial number or Hull Identification Number (HIN) needed to register a boat. Do I need one, and if yes, how do I get one?

13.  What New Mexico Information Unique to Vessels should I look for when I register my vessel?

14. I purchased a boat that is documented by the US Coast Guard and want to register and title it in New Mexico. How do I do this?

15. Once I am Registered or Documented, What do I Need on my Boat?

1.  I just bought a used boat that is currently registered in another state. How do I register it in New Mexico?  Are there any late fees?

Boats, like cars and trailers are registered and regulated by the State of New Mexico.  We have a cooperative agreement with the State Motor Vehicle Division to take care of this. Please call the MVD office first (1-888-MVD-INFO) to make sure they will have someone who can do the paperwork for you if you are registering this boat for the first time.  There are also forms you might need for MVD.

 

For an initial registration you have to provide the following :

  • Proof of the sale such as a bill of sale or copy of lein.
  • If purchased directly from a manufacturer or a retail store, the Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (print a copy for your records) originals are not returned.
  • If used, the transferred and signed Certificate of Title.
  • Money to pay the excise tax (Check or Money Order only)

 

  • If it was titled:

    Get the original title signed over to you by the previous owners with date of sale and

    gross price of the boat or the fair market value. No person can sell, assign or transfer

    a boat titled by the state of New Mexico without giving you a title and no person can buy a boat titled by the state of New Mexico can purchase or otherwise acquire a boat that is required to be titled without getting the title.

    Complete the Vessel Registration and Titling form MVD 10003 at MVD.

    The form must contain the date of sale

    Pay the appropriate excise tax and registration and titling fees.

    You must file for a new New Mexico Vessel Registration immediately within 30 days upon purchasing from the former boat owner.  You may not operate under the former boat owner's Certificate of Number/ Registration.  If caught you will be cited and be liable for going to court and court costs and fines.

    If you do not apply for a certificate within 90 days of either having the boat sold to you or of the date the boat is brought into the state for delivery than the late fee is fifty percent of the excise tax due.

  • If it was not titled:

    Get a dated bill of sale with the gross price of the boat or the fair market value.  The bill of sale should

    list the Hull Identification Number, the previous State Registration Number.

    The vessel Hull Identification Number may be required to be inspected by the State Police or Sheriff or someone authorized to do a hull inspection for the verification of the Hull Identification Number.  This Law Enforcement person should also do a check of the national crime database and verifiy and certify that the vessel has been found to have no previous theft reports. Once that is done a surety bond with three years coverage may be required prior to going to MVD.

    Complete the Vessel Registration and Titling form MVD 10003 at MVD.

    The form must contain the date of sale

    Pay the appropriate excise tax and registration and titling fees.

    You must file for a new New Mexico Vessel Registration immediately within 30 days upon purchasing from the former boat owner.  You may not operate under the former boat owner's Certificate of Number/ Registration.  If caught you will be cited and be liable for going to court and court costs and fines.

    If you do not apply for a certificate within 90 days of either having the boat sold to you or of the date the boat is brought into the state for delivery than the late fee is fifty percent of the excise tax due.

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2. Do I have to register a canoe, kayak or raft in New Mexico?

If you propel the canoe, kayak or raft with any type of motor including an electric motor, and/or a sail then you must register and title it if it is used on the waters of the state of New Mexico.  Otherwise you are not required to register or title a canoe, kayak or raft in New Mexico. However, it is a good idea to at least title any vessel for any possible theft and insurance purposes.  All of these vessels must comply with the state required equipment carry on board requirements.

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3. Do I have to register a sailboat in New Mexico?

Except for a sailboard (vessel with a sail but no cockpit-no place to place feetand /or portion of a body inside the deck) or a windsurf board (vessel that has no bilge and on in which the sail is not on a stationary mast), any vessel "..propelled or designed to be propelled by sail and not documented must be titled and registered in New Mexico.  Technically that includes sit inside/sit on top kayaks with sails.

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4. Do I have to register any vessel that is propelled by an electric trolling motor in New Mexico?

Yes, if you propel the vessel, whether a canoe, kayak, rowboat, john boat, or raft with any type of motor, including an electric motor, then you must title and register it if it is to be used on the waters of the state of New Mexico.  Otherwise, any of those that are manually propelled are not required to register or title them in New Mexico.   All of these vessels must comply with the state required equipment carry on board requirements.

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5. My New Mexico Vessel Registration has expired. How do I renew it?

Currently, New Mexico does not have an on-line renewal system (2010). New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division does not send out notices for reregistration. One has to re-register by making application within 60 days after December 31st of the year of expiration as shown on your Certificate of Number and on your boat's validation decal. 

If the registration is simply a renewal you only need you current Certificate of Number/ Registration fill out the form and to pay your reregistration fee to the MVD.

Please call a MVD office first (see the New Mexico State pages under the blue pages section of your phone directory) (1-888-MVD-INFO) to make sure they will have someone who can do the paperwork for you.

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6. How do I replace my lost or misplaced registration card/certificate of number, validation decals or a replace my title?

New Mexico State Parks has a cooperative agreement with the State Motor Vehicle Division to take care of the registration process. You may have to call them if there is a problem.

You will have to replace the lost certificates or sticker and pay the duplicate registration fee. No personal checks can be used.

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7. What Are the Regulations for the placement of the New Mexico Vessel Registration Number?

The vessel registration number is issued but is not provided by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division.  You must purchase your numbers and letters for both sides of the vessel.

The vessel registration number (NM number) issued by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) must be displayed as follows:

  • Painted on or permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the vessel.
  • Be in plain vertical block letters and numbers of not less than 3 inches in height.
  • Be arranged so it reads left to right.
  • Be fully contrasting to the color of the background so that it is distinctly visible and legible.
  • Have spaces or hyphens that are equal to the width of a letter other than "I" or a number other than "1" between the prefix and the number and the number and the suffix.  See example below.

Example:  NM 1234 AB or   NM-1234-AB

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8. Can a New Mexico Registration Number (Certificate of Number) Become Invalid?

Yes, the New Mexico Registration Number can become invalid when:

  • the vessel is required to be documented with the U.S. Coast Guard
  • the vessel owner transfers ownership (you must notify MVD of the sale and

return the Certificate of Number within 30 days)

  • the vessel is destroyed or abandoned (you must notify MVD of the destruction

or abandonment and return the Certificate of Number within 30 days)

  • the vessel will no longer be primarily used in New Mexico

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9. If I take my New Mexico boat to another state, do I have to re-register?

Depends.  Only if you take your boat out of the state for more than 30-90 consecutive days are you required to re-register in that state and/or pay their use taxes.  The term for this is reciprocity and is common throughout the U.S. but is not uniform.  This means you may operate your registered vessel in another state for 30-90 days in a row without having to apply for another registration for that state.  Check with each state’s boating law enforcement section for details on the length of time and to get a copy of that state's boating laws and regulations. Failure to comply can result in substantial fines in some states. www.nasbla.org

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10. Are military personnel exempt from registering their vessels in New Mexico? 

The law requires you to register the vessel here if you live here and have the vessel in the state for more than 90 consecutive days.  In other words you are valid here for 90 days from another state then you have to register here no matter if you still have time on another state registration.

If you are domiciled outside of the state and are on active duty here however, the law allows for an exemption of the excise tax on the issuance of a certificate of title here. You have to show proof of active duty to receive this benefit. It is not automatic.

Military personnel will still pay the titling and registration fees even if you expect to live here only for a short time as long as the vessel is in the state for more than 90 consecutive days.

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11.  I recently purchased a boat and a trailer.  Where do I register and title the trailer?

Trailers are registered and titled separately through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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12. My New Mexico boat is homemade and does not have a serial number or Hull Identification Number (HIN) needed to register a boat. Do I need one, and if yes, how do I get one?

Yes, if you boat is homemade and does not have a Hull Identification Number you will need to have the boat taken in to MVD for inspection and assignment of a HIN.  The process is pretty straightforward requiring that you have an Affidavit of Hull Identification Number and you can read about it here. Once you get a HIN assigned it must be permanently affixed to the vessel in such a way that it's alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious. It's required location will be on the transom, on it's upper outer side, and on the vessel's starboard side.

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13.  What New Mexico Information Unique to Vessels should I look for when I register my vessel?

You should receive the "Handbook of New Mexico Boating Laws and State Park Regulations" when you first register the vessel in your name at the Motor Vehicle Department.  This booklet contains the current safety and registration information. Other locations for this handbook are at State Park offices or at your local Marine dealer.


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14. I purchased a boat that is documented by the US Coast Guard and want to register and title it in New Mexico. How do I do this?

1. complete a Boat Registration and Title Form

2. Include the Certificat of Documentation and Abstract of Title,

3. Provide proof of lein release in the documented owner's name

4. include a bill of sale signed by the documented owner/owners and

5. pay the appropriate fees.

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14. Once I am Registered or Documented, What do I Need on my Boat?

You will need to carry on board either your Certificate of Number or your Documentation Papers at all times. If born on or after Jan. 1, 1989 you must carry on board proof of boater education in the form of a boater education card.

As a registered owner you are required to display your current year decal on the port side as instructed on your registration materials.  You are required to display your New Mexico Boat Numbers on both sides of the vessel.

As a documented owner you are required to display the name of your vessel and port of call.  In addition, the permanent number assigned must by engraved as required in your Documentation instructions. You are not required to display the current year decal nor display a New Mexico boat number on both sides of the vessel.

Finally both a Registered or Documented Vessel must comply with required equipment to be on board.

Both registered and documented vessels have minimum equipment requirements

 

 

7. How do I find out the status of an application or renewal form that I have already mailed in?

8. I just bought a used boat, which is registered outside New Mexico. The state of registration

does not title boats.  What do I have to do to get my boat titled?

9. I just bought a used boat. Can I legally use the boat before I get my own registration and title?

10. Where can I get the various forms needed to register my boat and/or obtain a duplicate registration card,

decals and title?

 

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