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Boating - Title and Register a Watercraft or Outboard Motor in SC
Purchased from an SC owner with SC Titles
If you purchased a boat and/or outboard motor in South Carolina with SC titles you must title and/or register it in your name with SCDNR. You will need to submit the following:
- Paid property tax receipt in your name for the coming year from your county of residence.
- Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application (completed and signed)
- Original Title(s) (completed and signed)
Effective January 1, 2020 your watercraft registration will be valid for one year from the date you purchased the boat. The fee will be $10.00 per year for an annual registration. In 2021, the $10.00 renewal fee will be included with your county property tax notice. SCDNR will send renewal notices for tax exempt boats.
(completed and signed)
You will need to send in Titles for each one (so if you have more than one motor on the watercraft, there should be titles for each Motor and the Watercraft). All the information on the back side of the titles must be completed and signed by the owner(s).
All purchasers must be listed on the title.
Altered titles are invalid. If you scratch out or white out any information on the title it is not valid and will not be accepted. A signed, notarized bill of sale on the SCDNR watercraft/outboard motor application will be required. There will also be a $5 duplicate title fee for an altered title. You may still submit the original title if altered but it must be accompanied by the signed, notarized bill of sale.
If the boat/motor is titled in more than one name as “and” all owners must sign the back of the title. If the boat/motor is titled as “or” then only one of the owners has to sign.
Hints: Original titles from SC do not have to be notarized. The owner's driver's license number is not required. Titles issued in previous years were required to be notarized. Owner's driver's license number was previously required.
Make checks payable to SCDNR. Do not mail cash.
- SC Title and Registration ($20) if you purchased a boat
- SC Outboard Motor Title ($10) if you purchased a motor
- If it has been more than 30 days since you bought the boat/motor $15 If it has been more than 60 days since you bought the boat/motor $30
Casual Excise Tax:
Casual excise tax is charged upon the issuance of a title or proof of ownership for a boat or motor. The casual excise tax for a boat or boat and motor purchased as a package is 5% of purchase price with a maximum fee of $500.00. The casual excise tax for a motor purchased alone is 5% of purchase price with a maximum tax of $500.00.
- Boat and Motor or Boat Only: Purchase Price X .05, the maximum tax is $500
- Motor Only: Purchase Price X .05, the maximum tax is $500.
If you did not pay taxes out-of-state, then you submit 5% tax or maximum tax of $500 with the registration fee. If you paid a portion of the taxes, you are only required to pay the remainder, up to 5% or $500.
Tax Exempt if Purchased from Immediate Family
If you acquire the watercraft or outboard motor from immediate family, you are exempt from the excise tax. Immediate family includes:
You must complete the exempt form on the back of the Watercraft/Outboard Motor Application to be exempt.
Military persons are not exempt from Casual Excise or Use Tax on boats and Outboard Motors.
Casual Excise tax can also be paid to the S.C. Department of Revenue Tax Service Centers.
You will have to verify that County Taxes are paid and that there are no unsatisfied liens on any of the items that you are titling and/or registering.
Hints: Before mailing in your paperwork check SC Boat Facts to verify there are no personal property taxes due or unsatisfied liens. If an outstanding lien is being displayed you must have the lien satisfaction completed on the title or a completed Lien Satisfaction Form.
If taxes are due, please contact the county tax office for the county listed.
If you owe someone money for property (like a boat or motor) it is called lien. A lien is a legal document filed by a creditor (lender) to record it's claim on the borrower's property. This ensures repayment by the borrower. If the borrower fails to repay the debt, the lender can seize the asset.Lien Satisfaction is proof that a borrower has paid the lender in full. A lien satisfaction can be noted on the title, a notarized statement from the lienholder (person or group that acts as the lender), or the Lien Satisfaction Form.
Note that if you have an outboard motor of less than 5 horsepower, or if it is an inboard motor (an engine that is enclosed within the hull of the boat), then you DO NOT need to title it.
Ready to send it all in?
After all of the paperwork is complete, you will need to mail all of the original documents to SCDNR. Please verify all documents are properly signed and make photocopies to keep for your records. Incomplete paperwork will be returned.
Mail documents here:
Attn. Titling & Registration
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
If you have submitted everything correctly, you will receive the following documents from SCDNR:
- SC Titles (will be sent to the lienholder if there is a lien)
- Outboard Motor Decal (if you purchased a motor)
- Registration Card and Watercraft Decals