A party who wants to register a boat trailer in Florida can do so at a county tax collector or license plate office. Sometimes a party can register a boat trailer at another type of business or at a landfill office. These offices will issue a registration based on the empty weight of the trailer. A trailer over 2,000 pounds must be titled.
Read More: DOT Laws for Gooseneck Trailers
Titling New and Used Trailers
To title a used trailer over 2,000 pounds, a party will need a notarized bill of sale and copy of the previous registration. If the registration is not available, the party must have the trailer weighed. Florida counties have weigh stations to facilitate this step. To title a new trailer, the dealer will provide a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO).
The dealer will also provide a sales tax statement showing the description of the trailer. This document will include the empty weight and payment of sales tax. A party needs a valid driver’s license or identification card, or a U.S. or foreign passport to notarize a signature.
Read More: How to Register an Untitled Trailer in Florida
How Long Does Registration Last?
An owner has the option to register a boat trailer for one year at a time or two years at a time. A party who buys a new or used boat trailer has 30 days to title and register the trailer. During the 30-day period, the owner must carry proof of the date of purchase while he is using the trailer. A trailer’s registration expires at midnight on the owner’s birthday if owned by an individual, or midnight on June 30 if owned by a company.
To renew in person, a party must bring with him the registration or renewal notice. He can also bring in a valid driver’s license, identification card or a U.S. or foreign passport.
How to Register an Out-of-State Trailer
A party can register an out-of-state trailer with a bill of sale, an out-of-state title signed by the seller or registration and a state-issued photo ID. The party also needs a weight slip if the empty or net weight is not indicated on the title or registration. If the trailer was previously titled in a non-titled or non-registered state, the bill of sale must include the year, make and trailer identification number (TIN). It must also identify the state where the trailer was previously located.
When a certified weight slip is required, an office may issue a temporary license plate so the party can legally take the trailer to be weighed.
How to Register a Homemade Trailer
A homemade trailer is a trailer built from parts a party bought or owned at the time of construction. To register a homemade trailer, a party will need to provide the year she built the trailer, a certified weight slip and a state-issued photo ID. If the trailer is 2,000 pounds or less, the computer will generate a TIN. The party should die cut or affix the number to the trailer.
If a trailer is over 2,000 pounds, a party can make an appointment with the Florida Division of Motorist Services. After the department inspects the trailer, a compliance examiner will assign and affix a TIN.
When Vacationing in Florida
A party who is vacationing in Florida for 90 days or less does not need to register and title a boat trailer. Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for 90 days or less. A party who stays in Florida over 90 days and registers his boat trailer may retain his out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time.
Read More: Florida State Boat Trailer Laws
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Vessel Titling and Registrations
- Florida Tax Collector, Barbara Ford-Coates, Serving Sarasota County, Florida: Trailers (Vessels, Utility)
- Florida Tax Collector, John Power, Serving Alachua County: Motor Vehicles General Information
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Motor Vehicles, Tags & Titles: Registration
- Hernando County, Florida: Vessels and Vessel Trailers
- Legal Beagle: Florida State Boat Trailer Laws
- Legal Beagle: DOT Laws for Gooseneck Trailers
- Legal Beagle: How to Register an Untitled Trailer in Florida
- Legal Beagle: How to Get a Florida Driver's License
- Legal Beagle: How to Get the Tag for a Home Built Utility Trailer in Florida
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.