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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.


Vessel Licensing Guide

All boat registrations in Washington expire on June 30.

State law (RCW Chapter 88.02) and Department of Licensing (DOL) rules (WAC 308-93-060) determine the length and dates of the boat registration period, which begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year.

Boat registrations that are current can be renewed starting January 1 for the upcoming registration year (beginning July 1).

Renewing your boat registration has never been easier. Boat owners can renew their boat registrations online, at one of eight local licensing subagencies located across Thurston County or directly at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in Olympia. If you renew online through DOL, there is no additional cost and you have the choice of receiving your registration through the mail or picking it up at the local Thurston County subagency of your choice. You can also renew in-person at one of the eight local licensing subagencies or directly at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office and receive your registration at the time of transaction.

Boat owners caught driving a boat with an expired registration are subject to a $125 ticket.

If your registration has expired, you must first renew for the current year (ending June 30) before renewing for the upcoming year (beginning July 1). For example, if your boat registration has expired and you renew in 2018, your renewal will only be valid through June 30, 2018. If you only want to renew for the upcoming year, you may wait until July 1 or afterward to renew.

Yes. If you renew after January 1, you can renew for both the current year (ending June 30) and the upcoming year (beginning July 1) during the same transaction. If you choose this option, you will be charged the cost of registration for both years. You cannot renew for any period beyond the upcoming registration period.

As long as your boat registration is current, renewals are valid through June 30 of the following year and the fees are the same regardless of when you renew. For example, if your boat is currently registered and you renew in 2018, your registration will be valid through June 30, 2019 regardless of whether you renew in January or in June. We recommend beating the rush and renewing earlier rather than later. The rush for boat registration renewals as June 30 approaches often results in customer wait time at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office. Renewing earlier, online or at one of the eight local subagencies will save you time.

The cost of renewals varies. Boat owners can calculate the cost by using DOL’s Boat Registration Fee Calculator linked at the bottom of this page under “You may also want to” (there is no direct link).

DOL no longer sends out courtesy renewal reminders. DOL does send out email reminders for boat registration renewals. You can sign up for these email reminders here, go to the "When do I need to renew my tabs?" section (there is not direct link).

Contact us at 360.786.5406 for any questions you have about boat registration.