Boat Registration and Quagga/Zebra Mussel Fee Stickers Now Offered Separately

Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

September 1, 2021

Mussel sticker available to purchase online

Sacramento – The California Department of Motor Vehicles is advising boat and vessel owners that registration and the Quagga and Zebra Mussel Infestation Prevention Fee stickers are now available as separate transactions online. This change comes after the California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways revised its rules to meet federal requirements. 

Quagga and zebra mussels pose serious risks and costs to recreational boat owners. The mussels can block a boat’s engine and cause overheating, increase the drag on the bottom of a boat, and/or jam a boat’s steering equipment. The spread of these invasive freshwater mussels also threatens aquatic ecosystems and fisheries, water delivery systems, hydroelectric facilities, agriculture, and the environment in general.

The DMV will send renewal notices to all registered boat and vessel owners in September and registration is due by December 31, 2021. The renewal notices will no longer display the mussel fee, nor will there be an option to purchase the sticker at the same time the registration is renewed. While a sticker is required for boats that operate in fresh water, the sticker and registration card will be purchased and mailed separately.

State law requires boats and vessels registered in California to display the sticker if they are operated in fresh waters. This includes inland waterways, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Owners of vessels used exclusively in marine waters are exempt from purchasing or displaying the sticker, as are exempt government vessels. Failure to properly display the sticker may result in denial of access or citation.

The DMV created a web page allowing boat and vessel owners the opportunity to purchase the Quagga and Zebra Mussel sticker. Customers are encouraged to buy the sticker online at and will no longer have the option to buy a sticker via telephone, mail or third-party vendor. 

The $16 sticker fee provides funding for infestation prevention and education efforts through grant funding, administered by the Division of Boating and Waterways, to eligible agencies for quagga and zebra mussel prevention programs at reservoirs that allow boating and fishing, and supplementary funding for California Department of Fish and Wildlife prevention activities. Boat and vessel owners can complete their registration online at Customers can also get more information about title transfers, access forms, and review fees on the DMV’s boat and vessel owners page.


Never miss the latest news from the California DMV. Sign up now to receive customized information on DMV related topics. To subscribe or unsubscribe, visit DMV News Alerts: