Boat Ownership 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Boat in Texas

Posted June 7, 2021 in Self Storage Tips

Marina in Texas set against the city skyline

From Lake Travis to the Gulf of Mexico, Texas boasts a broad collection of rivers, lakes, and other waterways. To help you take advantage of these blue waters are boats of seemingly every size. Best of all, there are boats to fit nearly any need and any budget.

But while boating is a uniquely rewarding experience—especially if you own your own watercraft—it can be a difficult hobby to get into. Do you need a boating license? What about Texas boat registration? What kind of boat storage facilities are there? Here at Premium Spaces, we’ve got you covered with affordable boat storage and some answers to help you set sail for adventure.

Texas Boat Registration and Licensing

You’ll need to register your boat as well as be properly licensed with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) in order to operate it. Here’s what you’ll need to know:

Texas Boat Registration

All motorized vessels up to 115 feet in length and all non-motorized watercraft 14 feet or longer must be registered with the TPWD. Coast guard documented boats must also be registered. All registrations are valid for two years.

In order to register your boat with the TPWD, you’ll need:

  • Valid payment for fees
  • TPWD identification number (or TX Number)
  • If owned personally: the last name of the owner
  • If owned corporately: the business name of the owner
  • Personal identification information (DL/ID & DOB or EIN)

If you are renewing your boat registration, you may do so online at the TPWD renewal website. However, if you are registering your boat for the first time, you must do so in person at one of the TPWD offices throughout Texas. The registration fee is different depending on the size of your vessel; you can see the fees at the online TPWD fee chart.

Do You Need a Boating License?

Yes, if you’re born on or after September 1, 1993, you will need a boating license. If you are born before that date, you do not need a boating license. You’ll need a boating license for all motorized vessels—including personal watercraft like jet skis—and for non-motorized vessels longer than 14 feet.

How Do You Get a Boating License?

To get your boater education certificate, you’ll need to take a TPWD certified online boating examination course. The courses include information about navigation rules, how to properly operate your boat, and laws regarding boating. You can find information about courses on the TPWD boater education website.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Operate a Boat?

Anybody operating a boat that is at least 13 years of age, or born on or after September 1, 1993, must have a boating license (also called a boater education certificate card). If you are under 13 years of age, you may still operate a boat; however, you must be accompanied by an individual at least 18 years of age and who themselves has a boater education certificate card.

Can You Operate a Boat With an Out-of-State License?

If you’re born after September 1, 1993, the state of Texas requires you to have a boating license. However, Texas does honor out-of-state boating licenses as long as those licenses were accompanied by a NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved course.

Texas Boat Storage

Once you’ve got your boat registered and have acquired your boating license, it’s just about time to get out onto the water. However, there’s still another factor that you’ll need to determine—where to store your boat. Luckily, there are many different boat storage options near you.

On Your Property

The easiest way to store your boat is to simply keep it on your property. Depending on the size of your boat, you’ve got multiple options: in your garage, in your driveway, in your yard, or even on the street by your house.

However, there are lots of downsides and potential roadblocks to storing your boat on your property. If your boat is larger than 20 feet, you’re probably not going to fit it in your garage or your driveway. Even if you can fit it in your garage or driveway, it’s going to be taking up space that you could use for your car or other items.

In addition, you may not even be able to store your boat at your property. Many homeowner’s associations do not allow you to permanently store a boat or RV at your property at all. If that’s the case, you have no other choice but to look elsewhere.


There are few things quite as convenient as storing your boat directly at a marina. If you only visit one location, keeping your boat there all the time makes sense. Furthermore—provided they have the space—you can store your boat at a marina by the day or week, making them a great extreme short-term storage solution.

Of course, marinas also have their own downsides and limitations. If you enjoy boating at multiple different locations, storing your boat at a marina makes it less convenient to take it to other locations. Marinas charge by the length of your boat, and charge extra for power hookups. And for the convenience, you pay a premium, as marina storage is often the most expensive option.

Texas Boat Storage Facilities Near You

If you can’t store your boat at home, don’t want to store your boat at a marina, or simply want a convenient storage option near your home, self storage is a great way to store your boat. Self storage is rented monthly and there are no long-term contracts, making it easy to store your boat over the offseason or get a different storage option if need be.

Here at Premium Spaces, we have affordable Texas storage facilities all over the state. If you want optimal protection, select a facility with drive-up, indoor storage units. We also provide cost-effective outdoor storage to store even larger boats up to 50 feet. No matter if you’re a new boat owner or just looking for a new place to store your boat, contact one of our facilities today.