Montana boat owners are required to obtain a free validation before launching their watercraft next year, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials in Region 6 are offering assistance in completing the necessary paperwork.
Boat owners can stop by FWP offices or their county treasurer’s office or go online to pick up documents that will help them comply with the state’s new boat registration law.
The free validation stickers are required to help Montana comply with a federal statute that requires periodic vessel registration. Montana’s permanent water vessel registration law that went into effect in 2003 didn’t comply with federal guidelines that limit the length of registration to three years. Montana must comply to continue to receive federal money used for boating enforcement and safety education.
Boaters have another reason to comply with the validation requirement: If they travel out of Montana they may be in violation of another state’s registration laws.
In order to keep Montana compliant with federal boating laws, a new 2005 state law requires Montana owners of motorboats, sailboats and personal watercraft to display the following on their watercraft: a permanent registration decal and two new, free validation decals that expire every three years.
“Boaters will need to have all three decals properly displayed on their boats before putting them in the water next year,” says Ron Jendro, FWP’s state boating-law administrator.
In order to assist boaters with the new validation requirement, FWP offices in Glasgow and Havre will have information packets that boat owners can use to guide them through the process. Boaters can also find the information online at http://fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/licensedraw/boat_decals.aspx or they can request that information be mailed to them by calling 228-3700 in Glasgow or 265-6177 in Havre. Boaters who have not permanently registered their boats can get both the permanent registration stickers and the free validation stickers at county treasurer’s offices.
In order to complete the paperwork, boat owners will need their current registration receipt with title number and their boat’s hull identification number. Validation decals ordered over the FWP website will be mailed; the stickers can be picked up at FWP and treasurer’s offices upon successful completion of the paperwork.