How to Register Motorcycles, Boats, and More in California

Other Vehicle Registration in California
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California has a bit of everything for everyone if they’re willing to register other vehicle types. One can enjoy a fun morning on the lake by boating. Or, take a trek through the wilderness during the afternoon by off-road vehicles. The coastal highways have been an iconic trip for motorcycle riders, too!

Sometimes you undertake a fixer-upper project, restoring old cars. Salvaged vehicles may be your business or pleasure. Whatever your preference, you’ll need title & registration just the same as you would a car or truck.

You need to know this about other vehicle titles & registration in California.

California Motorcycle Registration

Motorcycles follow a mainly similar process to car registration. You’ve got 20 days to register a motorcycle upon ownership. From there, a trip to a local CA DMV will quickly have you on your way.

Registering a motorcycle in California:

  1. Complete the Application for Title or Registration (REG 343)
  2. Have your motorcycle license and inspection
  3. Complete the Verification of Vehicle (REG 31)
  4. Pay the $58 registration plus any taxes, and fees

Dealerships will provide the state with the cycle’s title. Complete a title transfer, create a bill of sale, and pay application fees when registering the motorcycle. Out-of-state motorcyclist will provide their title & registration during this process, then follow the same steps.

You will also pay a California Highway Patrol Fee, Vehicle License Fee, County/District fees, and a Use tax. Refer to the CA DMV’s fee calculator for specifics for your make, model, and year.

For Mopeds & Scooters

If it has 2-3 wheels, can’t go faster than 30 mph, and has an automatic transmission, and electric motor, then California recognizes the cycle as a moped. You’ll still need an M1 license or endorsement to drive legally. And you’ll need to register the moped with the DMV.

File and submit the Motorized Bicycle Instructions/Application (REG 230). You may operate a basic scooter with your CA driver’s license.

California Boat Registration

California offers a boater’s dream with its lakes, waterways, and iconic coasts. Those who want to putter around on the waterways must register their boat. This includes any motor-driven boats, commercial vessels, and sailing boats over 8 feet long.

Motor-powered boats require title registration within 120 days of ownership.

What You Need to Register a Boat in California:

  1. Complete and submit the Application for Registration Number
  2. Complete and submit a Certificate of Ownership
  3. Complete and submit a Certificate of Number for Undocumented Vessel
  4. Submit a bill of sale
  5. Pay the registration fees

Fees typically range from $29 – $57 for residents and non-residents. Refer to the vessel fees for specific information about your boat.

California Salvaged Vehicle Registration

Those having experienced an unfortunate accident, totaling their car, must apply for a salvage certificate and a few other items. The insurance company may provide these services, too.

To get a Salvaged Certificate:

  1. Complete an Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C)
  2. Provide proof of ownership, bill of sale, odometer disclosure, and license plate
  3. Pay the $21 salvage certificate fee

You must get a salvaged vehicle inspected if you plan to restore and drive it. You will follow a similar car registration process for salvaged and junked vehicles. Bring the Application for Salvage Certificate with you during this process.


If you were to total your vehicle, you could apply for a salvage certificate, which will require several documents and a $21 fee. You must also have the vehicle inspected if you plan to restore and drive it. The process is similar to registering a standard car.  Good luck!