State switching to email renewal reminders for boats

By Brad Benfieldvessel email renewal reminder

The current owners of Washington’s 286,597 registered boats and watercraft will receive a postcard this week encouraging them to sign up to receive annual registration renewal reminders by email because paper renewal notices are being discontinued. Paper renewal notices for boats and other watercraft are being discontinued to save about $150,000 per year and to gain the environmental benefits of sending them electronically.

Signing up is fast and easy. The reminders will link to a DOL webpage that provides fee details and the necessary information to renew online. Renewing online can have new registration decals ordered and on their way within minutes of receiving the reminder notice. Boat registrations also can be renewed in person, but the owner should make sure to note the registration number on the bow of the boat or watercraft and take that information to a neighborhood vehicle licensing office. 

UPDATE: Please sign up for this new service using the DOL email renewal reminder page on the DOL website. When signing up, please do not enter the first “WN” characters from your vessel registration number. Skip the “WN” portion and enter the rest in the correct box on the online form to complete your request for email renewal reminders for your boat or watercraft. DOL is currently working to make this step of the process work better.

Boat and watercraft registrations all expire on the same day every year—June 30. In addition to sending email renewal notices for boats each year, DOL will send an annual press release to help remind owners to renew their boat registrations and post reminders on the agency’s website, blog and Facebook page.

DOL also would like everyone to consider signing up for email renewal reminders for cars and trucks, but paper renewal notices for those will continue to be sent unless owners choose to receive an email reminder.

“These cost savings are immediate and substantial,” Luce said. “Every time we send a boat or vehicle owner an email renewal notice instead of paper, the state saves 55 cents.” 

19 Responses to State switching to email renewal reminders for boats

  1. Ken Cave says:

    For boat licensing renewal, you require a registration
    number. Many boats are documented and do not have
    a WA registration number!! Please change your format
    to accept documentation numbers as well as registration

    Ken Cave

  2. John M says:

    I am seeing conflicting information on the postcard and the website. I simple have a yes or now question: If do not sign up for email reminders, will I receive an reminder via US Postal mail?

    • DOL Blog says:

      Renewal notices for boats and personal watercraft are being eliminated due to the budget cuts. We will no longer send them to any boat or watercraft owners.

      We also offer email renewal reminders for cars and trucks, but that is an optional program and we will continue to mail paper renewal notices to people who do not sign up for email reminders.

      I hope this answers your question.

  3. Cindy R says:

    Would you please make a PDF form available for boat renewals, so that those of us who just signed up for email renewals can mail in the registration right away and finish this all at once? I don’t see a form available in the PDF form list.

    I’d like to mail this in rather than use a credit card, but according to your website, I’ll receive instructions in the email when it’s time to renew. There’s no indication when that email will arrive, and I’m wondering if the email would have already arrived, since I received the postcard in the mail already. I also tried calling your phone number, but due to high volume there’s not even an option to wait.

    Additionally, what if your emails are intercepted as junk?

    • Cindy R says:

      Maybe I can clarify my question so that I can get a reply from DOL? I signed up for the email reminder after receiving the postcard, but I’ve not received an email yet that includes the mail-in instructions. Your website indicates that included in our email notification, we will receive instructions on how to send in the renewal by mail. Did that email already go out to those who signed up, and since I signed up later I won’t be getting the reminder email?

      I can’t use a credit card and need to mail something in. Would you please make a form available on your website?

      • Cindy R says:

        Or perhaps we can use an electronic check?

      • DOL Blog says:

        We’re sorry it has taken so long to get back to you.

        Email renewal notices will be sent to you in future years. You can contact our Customer Service Center to get your fee total and learn more about how to renew by mail this year. If you are having trouble reaching them on the phone, I suggest you contact them by email at:

      • Cindy R says:

        I sent an email to the “titles” address on May 1st and haven’t heard back. It appears that the only option for non-credit card users is to make a trip to a registration office. Is there any other way to pay the fee? I don’t understand why there’s either:

        1) A PDF form on your website we can mail in with a check, or
        2) An electronic check option for renewing online.

        The information on your website about how to renew includes this:

        ” * Renew by mail. If you are signed up to get email renewal reminders, you may renew by printing the email reminder you received and mailing it to any vehicle/boat licensing office with a check or money order for the fees.”

        So, it appears that you DO accept mail in renewals, just not this year because I signed up for the email option AFTER you’d sent out the emails for the year. Don’t you do a reminder email? There appears to be a large gap in your system.

  4. david kelleher says:

    hey guys, i don’t want to hear how much you’re saving…state agencies ad nauseam have my personal info and can not or do not communicate with one another…why, for example, can’t you tell me who i am and what i have registered with the state by using my surname?…why have different divisions, and numbers, and codes and passwords?…why have you managed to make it more difficult for us, while saving yourselves money?…my county recently sent me a letter explaining they couldn’t afford an envelope for me to send them taxes…horsecookies!…

    • DOL Blog says:

      Hey there Mr. Kelleher,

      You’ve asked a very thoughful question. When I have some extra time over the next couple of weeks I’m going to try to write an article for this blog explaining why our computers are set up the way they are and give a peek about what might be on the horizon.

  5. Greg Raven says:

    The website isn’t working, it doesn’t find my boat license number. The link you click on isn’t visible on the website.

  6. David Wordinger says:

    Since the email notices are less expensive and will save $150,000 a yer, how much will my renewal cost be reduced?

  7. Kathy Quistad says:

    please send a boat license renewal reminder by email

    • DOL Blog says:

      Thank you for your interest in email renewal notices, Ms. Quistad. However, we don’t have enough information to sign you up from this blog. Please visit the signup page on the DOL website to sign up. You will find the link to this page in the story above.

  8. Don Davis says:

    remind me of boat license renewal by email

    • DOL Blog says:

      Thank you for your interest in email renewal notices, Mr. Davis. However, we don’t have enough information to sign you up from this blog. Please visit the signup page on the DOL website to sign up. You will find the link to this page in the story above.

  9. Don Davis says:

    please remind me of boat renewal license by email

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