Boats and Watercraft

According to South Carolina law, you are required to pay personal property taxes on watercraft. We receive a list monthly from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources of all watercraft registered in Horry County. This list is used to generate tax bills for the current year. The registration and title requirements for all boats and outboard motors are determined by the SCDNR. These requirements and the necessary steps for registering watercraft and outboard motors can be found on the SCDNR website at

If you receive a New Registration bill, that means you purchased your boat or motor directly from a dealer and the dealer applied for a DNR registration on your behalf. Upon registration, SCDNR sent your information to the County so that you can be issued the tax bill for the first 12 months of ownership. The New Registration bill is due no later than 120 days from the purchase date.

If you dispose of a watercraft prior to paying the New Registration tax bill, you are still liable for the taxes from the date you purchased the watercraft until the month you cancelled the title and registration with SCDNR and disposed of the watercraft. Please contact the Auditor's office for more information.

If you no longer own the watercraft, the seller must notify SCDNR in writing using the Request for Boat and/or Motor Status Change within 30 days of any change of ownership of watercraft or outboard motor. Not only is it required by law but it provides notification to SCDNR and your county that you no longer own the boat/motor. This will prevent you from receiving any future property tax notices. Mail your request, furnishing full information to SC Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202. Seller should keep a copy for tax records.

S.C. Law prohibits the sale or purchase of watercraft without a valid title issued in the seller's name to assign over to the purchaser at the time of sale.

Change of Address: You must fill out a Notification of Address Change within 30 days of any change and mail to SC Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 Fax to 803-734-4138

Purchasing a Used Boat: SCDNR strongly recommends that prospective buyers research the registration and tax status and any potential recorded liens of any S.C.-registered boat BEFORE purchasing it, using our free online look-up service. Get the facts before you buy! General information and commonly asked questions regarding S.C. boating laws, titling and registration can also be found at this location.

In-State Changes of Ownership (transfer of an already-titled/registered SC boat from one owner to another): After purchase, the new owner will need to visit their county tax office FIRST to pay the property taxes due for the coming year. The new owner can then apply for title and registration in his name using the paid tax receipt and other required documents. The new owner will need to apply within 30 days of purchase to avoid late fees.) The registration date will be based on DATE OF SALE. The date of sale will determine the month your property taxes are due and your registration will be renewed.

Appeals (value/district) must be made to one of the Auditor's offices before the tax due date.

For questions concerning your title or registration, contact SCDNR @ 843-734-3857.

You may pay your tax bill by mail, internet, and telephone or by visiting any Treasurer's office locations.