All states have specific boating laws and regulations. Most require titling. In addition, most boats are required to be registered in the states where they will be used. Both titling and registration are important when you first go to buy your new or used aluminum boat; lenders as well as buyers will want to confirm that the boat has appropriate, clean paperwork. And proper registration is critical before you cast off the docklines - you'll want to make sure that you have placed the registration numbers and validation sticker in a prominent location and have stored the appropriate documents safely in a waterproof bag onboard.
For new boaters, the National Association of State Boating Laws Administrators is an excellent resource. If you're interested in state-specific information, click on the "People" tab at the top of the home page, scroll down, and then click on "State Boating Contacts." When you enter your state into the search engine, it will provide a list of key contacts - with phone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses - as well as your state's Department of Natural Resources Web site. From there, you can get more information about local laws and regulations, and you can access the necessary registration application.
Another great resource for documents, laws and regulations specific to your state is the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation's "Take Me Fishing" Web site. This site also provides important information about fishing licenses.