Q: When do I have to renew my boat registration?

A: You must renew your boat registration by Dec. 31 of every odd-numbered year (i.e., 2003, 2005, etc.) regardless of use. DMV mails a renewal notice approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date.

The department issues a Certificate of Number (registration certificate) and registration stickers to identify a boat as currently registered. These stickers must be securely affixed to each side of the boat three inches after and directly in line with the registration numbers and must be clearly visible at all times. Do not place any numbers, letters, or devices in the proximity of the registration sticker. For a visual guide on how to affix the stickers to your boat, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov.

Q: Is everyone eligible to get special interest license plates?

A: Anyone who has a currently registered California auto, truck, trailer, or motorcycle may order these license plates. Special Interest License Plates have a special graphic design depicting an image relative to the organization’s interest, and require extra fees that are used to support programs pertinent to each organization’s interest. They are available with configurations of numbers, letters, or both, which have been personally chosen by the applicant (personalized) or are standard issue configurations (sequential). Motorcycle plates are not yet available for all special interest plate programs.

Environmental License Plates are the standard California plates, which do not have graphics, and are only available with personalized configurations. The fees are used to support environmental programs. 

To view the various options for special interest license plates, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov, click on More Online Services and then the tab labeled Order Special Interest and Personalized Plates.

Q: What fees are included in my registration payment?

A: Your annual vehicle registration payment consists of various fees that apply to your vehicle. Your annual renewal notice and registration card itemize these fees.

The following is a list of the various fees that may be included in your annual vehicle registration payment:

• Registration Fee

• Vehicle License Fee (This is the fee that may be an income tax deduction)

• Weight Fee

• Smog Abatement Fee (This fee is charged to vehicles exempt from biennial smog inspections)

• Special Interest/Environmental Plate Fees

• County/District Fees

• Motorcycle Safety Fee (charged to motorcycles only)

• Owner Responsibility Fee

George Valverde is the director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.