SC boat registrations changing to yearly process

Act 223 will be implemented in January

We’ve written recently about a few notable changes in the upcoming hunting seasons for deer and waterfowl. But another change listed in the SCDNR 2019-2020 Rules and Regulations booklet impacts all boat owners in the state.

If you’ve had a boat registered in South Carolina for any length of time, you’re used to getting a new decal every three years after renewing your registration. Act 223 of 2018 will change that. Beginning in January 2020, boat owners will complete this process yearly. 

The Act closes a loophole

Lawmakers designed the Act to strengthen the process between county treasurers and the SCDNR. Currently a boat owner can pay taxes on their watercraft, receive registration decals from SCDNR, then lapse on their taxes for the next two years without the boat registration expiring. The new law will solve this dilemma.

The Act’s sponsors first introduced it in the SC House in January 2018. House members passed it unanimously in April. The Senate viewed the bill later that month. They passed it, also unanimously, in May 2018. The governor signed it into law on May 18, 2018, with an effective date of January 2020.

The state will phase in Act 223 over a three-year period. So if you’ve recently renewed, your current registration will be valid through the expiration date it shows. As of that date, you will renew every 12 months. No fees will be raised with the Act. What has always been a $30 registration fee every three years will change to a $10 yearly fee.

Click here to read about changes to the upcoming waterfowl seasons.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1444 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina.