Boating Enforcement

Hunting Regulations Icon Mississippi Hunting & Fishing

A Federal Regulation went into effect May 1, 1995, which requires operators of all boats to have at least one wearable life jacket or personal flotation device for each person aboard. In addition, boats 16 feet and over must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved throwable device on board. Under the new regulation a throwable PFD (Type IV) will no longer qualify as a life jacket on boats less than 16 feet. PFD requirements remain unchanged on boats 16 feet and over. A person shall not operate a personal watercraft (PWC) unless each person on board or being towed behind is wearing a personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard. Any vessel with an enclosed fuel tank must have a fire extinguisher on board.

Section 59-21-31 of the Mississippi Code which prohibits the removal or alteration of awarded numbers or identification numbers affixed to vessels, boats, outboard motors, and trailers has been amended. Additional language added to this section provides that no person may buy, sell or possess a vessel, boat, outboard motor, or trailer, on which any awarded number or identification number has been removed or altered.

Due to the increase in marine theft, a closer look is being taken at applications for boat registration when received. Applications for boat registration with required information missing or information which appears to be incorrect will be returned. The applicant will be required to have their boat inspected by a conservation officer. A “Boat Inspection Request Form” can be purchased through point of sale license agents and an inspection will be arranged with an officer in the area. The cost of the inspection is $10.00 (plus transaction fee). The application should then be resubmitted along with the completed boat inspection form. All homemade boats will require an inspection prior to registration.

The Alcohol Boating Safety Act makes it unlawful to operate a watercraft on the public waters of the State of Mississippi while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other substance which has impaired the person’s ability to operate a watercraft.

a. As a condition of operating a watercraft on the public waters of this state, the person operating the watercraft is deemed to have given consent to testing for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood.

b. “Watercraft” is defined as any motorized vessel with a motor of twenty-five horsepower or greater used for transportation on public waters, and any personal watercraft (jet skis).

c. “Public waters” is defined as all public waters over which the State of Mississippi has jurisdiction.

d. Penalties for conviction under this law are:

  1. First conviction – Fine no less than $250 nor more than $1,000, or imprisonment in jail for not more than twenty-four hours or both. Violator must complete a boating safety course.
  2. Second conviction (within a five-year period) – Fine no less than $600 nor more than $1,000 and imprisonment not less than forty-eight consecutive hours nor more than one year of community service work for not less than ten days nor more than one year. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for one year.
  3. Third conviction (within a five-year period) – Fine no less than $800 nor more than $1,000; and imprisonment not less than thirty days nor more than one year. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for two years.
  4. Conviction of a fourth or subsequent violation (within a five-year period) is a FELONY OFFENSE. Fine no less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000; and imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than ninety days nor more than five years. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for three years.

Any person born after June 30, 1980 must have successfully completed a Boating Safety Course prior to operating a boat. Persons under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a person 21 or older on board the boat in order to operate the boat.

For persons who wish to learn more about Mississippi Boating Basics and the legal and safe practices for boat operators, a six hour course taught by trained instructors is available for groups. The Mississippi Boating Basics home-study course is available for persons who are unable to attend an instructor taught course. Online courses are available at www.mdwfp.com. Most insurance companies honor these courses by offering reductions in insurance premiums on completion.

Effective July l, l998, Mississippi will offer the option for titling boats and motors. This is not a mandatory requirement, however, a more complete record will be obtained for boat owners. A $12.70 fee will be charged for original applications, duplicates, transfers, and corrected titles. A watercraft is required to be registered prior to titling.

For more information related to boating and Boating Safety Classes, call (601) 432-2181, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com or write to:

Boating Enforcement, 1505 Eastover Dr., Jackson, MS 39211-6374.

Boat Registration

In Mississippi, all boats equipped with propulsion machinery and sailboats (anchored or not) which use the public waters of the state must be registered and numbered for identification. A person must register his/her boat no later than ten days after the actual purchase.
Effective July 1, 2006, all boat registrations are valid for a period of three years from the last day of the month of receipt of the original or transfer application. You must have your registration card on board the vessel at all times.

How to Apply for Registration of a Boat

Owners of new or used boats may get the registration form at any local county tax collector’s office, most places where boats are sold or serviced, MDWFP Regional Offices, or online at www.mdwfp.com. Complete the form, attach any necessary documents, sign and mail to the Jackson Office with the appropriate fee.

To register a new boat, if purchased from a dealer, the sales invoice showing proof of payment of Mississippi sales tax must be included. If the boat was purchased in another state you may pay Mississippi state sales tax at the local county tax collector’s office. Include this proof of payment with the registration application. If registering or transferring ownership of a used boat you must include a notarized or witnessed bill of sale describing the boat being purchased. If a boat was previously registered and titled in a state that requires mandatory titling you must also include the previous state’s registration and title.

The registration application requires a Hull Identification Number or serial number. This number should contain 12 digits if the boat was manufactured after November, 1972. Examples of proper 12 digit Hull Identification Numbers will be: ABC456781272 or ABC45678A484. Boats manufactured prior to 1972 will have a serial number.

How to Renew a Boat Registration

Once a boat is registered, a notice to renew the registration will be mailed to the owner by the MDWFP. For convenience and faster service you may renew your boat registration wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT (1-800-546-4868) which is available 24 hours a day, or online at www.mdwfp.com. You may also mail your renewal to the MDWFP Boat Registration Department. You should notify the MDWFP Boat Registration Department of any address changes.

How to Obtain a Duplicate Boat Registration

If you lose your boat registration card and/or decals or if you need an additional boat registration card you may obtain a duplicate wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold or by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT (1-800-546-4868) available 24 hours a day. You must provide your MS boat registration number and hull I.D. number/serial number in order to purchase a duplicate.

Registration, Transfer, Renewal, & Duplicate Fees*

Effective July 1, 2006, all boat registrations are valid for a period of three years from the last day of the month of receipt of the original or transfer application. Fees for original, transfer of ownership, renewal, livery, dealer and duplicate registrations are as follows:

Less than 16 feet $10.20

16 feet but less than 26 feet $25.20

26 feet and over $47.70

40 feet and over $47.70

Dealer Number $40.20

Duplicate $7.70

Boat inspection fee $12.70

* Boat registration fees are subject to change.

Assignment of Registration Number

After processing a new boat registration, the department will assign a registration number to be displayed on the boat. This number is also noted on a water resistant, pocket-sized boat registration card which is mailed to the owner. This card must be aboard the boat when in operation. In addition, boat owners will receive two validating decals of appropriate color. The emblem should be displayed within six inches (6”) of the number (See Boat Registration Numbering System and Proper Display). The decals correlate with the year the boat registration will expire. The registration number assigned by MDWFP for a boat becomes a permanent number. That registration number will remain the same in the event that the boat is transferred to a new owner within the state of Mississippi.

Boat Registration Numbering System & Proper Display

The numbering system consists of three parts: the first part consists of the symbol MI, which designates Mississippi; the second part consists of a numerical group having a maximum of four digits; and the third part consists of an alphabetical group having a maximum of two letters. Each part shall be separated by hyphens or equivalent spaces.

The assigned number shall be painted on or attached to each side of the bow of the vessel for which it was issued. The numbers shall be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel in such position as to provide clear legibility for identification.

The numbers shall read from left to right and shall be in block characters of good proportion not less than three inches (3”) in height. The numbers shall be of a color which will contrast with the color of the background and so maintained as to be clearly visible and legible, i.e., dark numbers on a light background, or light numbers on a dark background. No other numbers shall be carried on the bow of such vessel. The decals should be displayed within six inches (6”) of the numbers.

Sold or Lost/Stolen Boats

Should you sell your boat, you are required to report such transaction to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, who issues the registration number. The new owner must, within ten (10) days, make application to transfer the registration. If a numbered boat is lost, stolen or abandoned, the owner should first report it to the local authorities having jurisdiction, and then report it to Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Boat & Motor Titling

Boat and outboard motor titling is available in Mississippi but is not mandatory. Boat and motor titling is an optional choice for lending institutions and boat owners. The cost is $12.70 each for an original title, duplicate title, or corrected title. A boat must be registered prior to being titled. If the title is submitted indicating a lien, the original title will be sent to the lending institution until the lien is satisfied. Once the lien is satisfied, an original clear title will be provided to the owner. When a titled boat is sold, the owner must provide the original title to the purchaser along with a bill of sale in order for the boat to be eligible for transfer of ownership. Boat and Motor title applications may be obtained online at www.mdwfp.com, through your lending institution or the MDWFP Boat Registration Department.

Example of Correct Number and Decal Display

Validating decal should be displayed within
six inches (6”) of the number.

2017 Senate and House Bills

HB 455

Amends Miss. Code Ann. §49-7-31.5, on Nuisance Animals, to remove the repealer that was previously in this section. It also removes the paragraph that addresses transportation permits for transporting live wild hogs, as that paragraph appears in another section of the code and was redundant.

SB 2271

Amends Miss. Code Ann. §49-7-5 (Hunting Licenses) and §49-7-9 (Freshwater Fishing Licenses), to add a new exemption from having to purchase a license. The bill provides that, for any veterans, who were wounded in combat (“wounded warriors”), who will be participating in a hunting or fishing event just for wounded warriors, hosted by an organization recognized for sponsoring such events, the participating wounded warrior(s) will not have to purchase or possess a hunting or fishing license, in order to participate in the event.