Boat Excise

In Massachusetts, all boats that are registered for operation are subject to an excise tax in the community in which the boat is habitually situated, moored or docked for the privilege of using the waterways. You should expect to receive excise tax bills for any boats moored, docked or sitting on a trailer in Orleans as of July 1st sometime in September or October. Boat excise bills are not prorated on a monthly basis like motor vehicle excise bills; if you buy a boat and keep, moor or dock it in Orleans after July 1st, your boat will show up on our excise tax rolls the following year.

Our boat excise tax rolls are derived from forms of list and lists of active registrations sent to us by the MA Department of Environmental Protection's Boat Registration Bureau. If you're not on one of these lists but you still keep your boat in Orleans, you should fill out State Form 2BE-1 (PDF) and submit it to the Assessing office no later than August 1st.

Boat excise tax is computed by multiplying your boat's value by a tax rate of $10 per $1,000 of value. Your boat's valuation is determined by the following schedule that is based on length and age.

Length of VesselMore Than 4 Years Old4 to 6 Years OldLess Than 7 Years Old
Under 16 feetNo TaxNo TaxNo Tax
16 feet but less than 17.5 feet$1,500No TaxNo Tax
17.5 feet but less than 20 feet$3,000$2,000$1,500
20 feet but less than 22.5 feet$5,000$3,300$2,500
22.5 feet but less than 25 feet$7,500$5,000$3,800
25 feet but less than 27.5 feet$10,500$7,000$5,300
27.5 feet but less than 30 feet$14,000$9,300$7,000
30 feet but less than 35 feet$18,500$12,300$9,300
35 feet but less than 40 feet$24,000$16,000$12,000
40 feet but less than 50 feet$31,500$21,000$15,800
50 feet but less than 60 feet$41,000$27,300$20,500
Greater than 60 feet$50,000$33,000$24,800


You may be eligible for an abatement on your bill if you sold your boat or moved your boat to another community. No abatement application is required, but you would need to provide us the following documents:

  • If you sold your boat, we need a copy of the boat's bill of sale
  • If you moved your boat to another community, we need a copy of a paid excise bill from that community or proof that you have paid for a mooring for the boat there

If you sold or moved the boat prior to July 1st, the bill will be abated in full. If you did so after July 1st, the bill will be prorated on a monthly basis down to a minimum of $5.

Failure to pay or abate an issued boat excise tax bill can prevent you from being able to purchase beach and transfer station stickers. If you get a boat excise bill in the mail that you think you do not owe, please do not ignore it! Contact the Assessing office immediately and we'll be happy to help you get it sorted out.


Boats under $10,000 in value that are used for commercial fishing are exempt from boat excise tax in Massachusetts. If you use your boat for commercial fishing, you should submit a Form 2BE-1 (PDF), along with a copy of your Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License and the top page of your most recent Massachusetts state income tax return listing your profession as some form of commercial fishing, to receive the exemption.