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Titling Vessels in Idaho

Click here for information on: Registering Vessels with the Department of Parks and Recreation


This fact sheet provides basic information on the types of vessels that must be titled, the types of vessels that may be optionally titled, and the types of vessels that cannot be titled. It also specifies the documents that are required to title a vessel.


January 1, 2000, (See Sections 49-501A, 67-7039, 67-7040 and 67-7041, Idaho Code.)


Vessel: Any watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. It does not include float houses, inflatable air mattresses, single inner tubes, beach and water toys, and other non-motorized devices not designed or modified to be used as a means of transportation on the water.

Float House: A floating structure which is designed and built or modified to be used as a stationary waterborne residential dwelling, is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility linkage to a source originating on shore, and has a permanent continuous connection to a sewage system on shore.

Tender: A vessel employed to attend other vessels, or a vessel used to commute between shore and another ship.

Documented Vessel: A vessel documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. (Vessel documentation is a national form of registration.) Documented vessels are over five net tons in size and must be wholly owned by a U.S. citizen. They are typically used in fishing activities on navigable waters of the U.S. or the Exclusive Economic Zone, or used for coastwise trade. (Most vessels over 25 feet in length are five net tons or more.)


When any of the following vessels are acquired after December 31, 1999, the new owners are required to title them:
  • Any vessel with a permanently attached mode of propulsion, model year 2000 or newer. Examples: model year 2000 inboard and inboard/outboard motorboats, sailboats, and personal watercraft (jet skis).

  • Any non-exempt vessel, model year 2000 or newer, over 12' in length, regardless of the mode of propulsion. Example: model year 2000 13' outboard.

  • Any non-exempt vessel that is being financed.


All types of vessels listed in the “vessels that must be titled” category that were acquired prior to January 1, 2000 may optionally be titled. These types of vessels (model year 1999 or older) may be optionally titled unless they are being financed, in which case they must be titled. Once a vessel has been titled, every subsequent Idaho owner must also title it in his name.


The following types of vessels are exempt and cannot be titled:
  • rowboats (manually propelled by oars)
  • canoes
  • kayaks
  • drift boats
  • inflatable vessels
  • rafts
  • barges
  • non-motorized paddle vessels
  • sailboards
  • tenders
  • seaplanes
  • documented vessels
  • vessels owned by the U.S. or a foreign state or political subdivision
  • outboard motorboats 12 feet or less in length


Titling procedures for vessels are the same as for vehicles. If a vessel requiring title has been acquired from a licensed Idaho dealer, that dealer is required to prepare an application for title and file it with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) or an ITD agent within 30 days of the sale. If a vessel was acquired at any time from a seller other than a dealer, the owner may apply for title at any county assessor motor vehicle office. The following is a list of documents and fees required to be submitted to this office:

1. OWNERSHIP DOCUMENT(S). Submit either A, B, or C

A. Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO), or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO). An MCO or MSO is “required” for new vessels of model year 2000 or newer that were acquired on or after January 1, 2000, and “desired if available” for other vessels not previously titled. It must be properly released by the dealer and assigned to the owner. When an MCO or MSO is submitted for a vessel acquired prior to January 1, 2000, the applicant must also provide an indemnifying affidavit (form ITD-3410) certifying that there are no undisclosed liens.

B. Title. If the vessel was previously titled, the title must be properly released by the previous owner and lienholder, if any. When a title is submitted for a vessel acquired prior to January 1, 2000, the applicant must also provide an indemnifying affidavit (form ITD-3410) for pre-2000 purchases certifying that there are no undisclosed liens.

C. Indemnifying Affidavit (form ITD-3410) and any other documents supporting the claim to ownership. The affidavit must state that no MCO or MSO exists and that the vessel has not been previously titled. These documents are acceptable if the vessel was either acquired prior to January 1, 2000, or is a pre-2000 vessel purchased “used” on or after January 1, 2000. Examples of supporting documents include vessel registration, bill(s) of sale, sales agreements, sales receipts, etc.

2. BILL OF SALE. Applicants must provide a bill of sale from the seller, unless the vessel was acquired prior to January 1, 2000, and was registered in the applicant’s name. The bill of sale must include the vessel description, sales price, buyer’s full legal name, original signature of seller, and date. (If an Idaho title is being surrendered, and the seller has entered a selling price while assigning the title, no bill of sale is required.)

3. RELEASE(S) OF INTEREST. In addition to the bill of sale from the seller (#2 above), applicants must provide a release of interest from any other party who is shown to have previously owned the vessel in the documents presented. Applicants must also provide a lien release from any party who has held a lien against the vessel if that party’s name does not appear as lienholder on the application for title. (NOTE: Once a vessel has been titled in Idaho, every subsequent Idaho owner of that vessel must title it in his name.)

4. HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER INSPECTION (required for any vessel being titled for the first time in Idaho). It must be completed by an officer of the law, county assessor or deputy assessor, DMV employee, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation employee, Coast Guard Auxiliary member, military police officer, Idaho licensed vehicle dealer, or any other agent appointed by ITD.


A. Sales tax equal to 6% of the purchase price (minus trade-in if purchased from a dealer). If the vessel was purchased out of state, tax is due unless the applicant provides documentation that at least the same amount of sales tax was paid to the state of purchase, or that the vessel was purchased by a new resident at least three months prior to moving to Idaho. (The latter exemption does not apply to businesses bringing vessels to Idaho from a non-taxing state.) A title issued in the applicant's name is sufficient documentation that tax was paid at the issuing state's tax rate. If the vessel was purchased prior to January 1, 2000, a boat registration in the applicant’s name is sufficient documentation that tax was paid.

B. Title fee - $14.00.

6. POWER OF ATTORNEY. Anyone applying for title with the County Assessor through the mail may include a power of attorney to authorize the County Assessor to sign the application for title on his behalf. The Power of Attorney must fully describe the vessel and be signed by the owner/applicant.


Once a vessel has been titled in Idaho, only licensed vessel dealers may acquire and transfer it without titling it in their name. Any other party must title the vessel in his name before transferring it.


No lien created on or after January 1, 2000, on any vessel titled under Idaho law shall be perfected until an application for title with all required supporting documents has been properly filed with a county assessor motor vehicle office or ITD.


All ITD forms required in the vessel titling process may be obtained from any county assessor motor vehicle office. Most forms are also available from the ITD web page at

For additional DMV information, contact Vehicle Services via e-mail at:
Page Last Modified: 1/14/2010 4:49:30 PM

Division of Motor Vehicles / Vehicle Services Section
Vehicle Titles: (208) 334-8663Vehicle Registrations (Special Plates): (208) 334-8649Dealer Licensing: (208) 334-8681

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