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Registering Your Boat in Ohio

Registrations are required for every recreational boat in Ohio, including powerboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and inflatable boats. NOTE: Kiteboards, paddleboards, and belly boats (or float tubes) do NOT have to be registered as boats in Ohio.

Boat registrations are good for three years and expire on March 1. There is no late fee for renewing after March 1.

What you need to get a boat registered depends on what type of boat it is. Generally you need proof of ownership, some detailed information on the boat, some detailed information on you (the owner), a drivers license or ID, and the registration fee.

Renewing a Registration
Boat registrations come up for renewal every three years. We mail you a notice a few months before your registration expires. This is why it is important that you keep your mailing address updated with us.

  • You can renew an existing boat registration (no change of owner) at any Boat Registration Agent if you bring your renewal notice with an ID and payment. Call ahead to make sure they are open and have decals available.
  • You can renew your existing boat registration online as long as you have a PIN (assigned by us, found on your renewal letter) and all information on the boat AND owner is up-to-date. NOTE: Online renewal begins January and ends October 31. 

If you did not receive your renewal notice, or if you need to change your address with us, please contact the Division of Parks and Watercraft (email the Division) for assistance.

Change of Ownership
If you are not the listed owner of the boat on the current registration, you will need official documentation of the ownership change before you can renew the registration. Renewal in these circumstances requires you to appear in person at a Boat Registration Agent or at a Watercraft Office to get the registration put in your name. Official proof of ownership depends on what type of boat it is, whether it has a title or not. See "Proof of Ownership". For cost to transfer an existing registration, see "What It Costs > Cost to Transfer Ownership" below.

New Boats
New boats can be registered in person at a Boat Registration Agent or at a Watercraft Office. Call before you visit in person, to make sure they are open, have watercraft decals available, and to check what type of payment they accept.

The cost of your registration depends on the length of your boat, how it is propelled, and which type of registration you are buying.

Proof of Ownership

When you apply for a boat registration, you must prove that you are the owner of the boat. The type of documentation needed depends on the type of boat you are registering  its length, if it is motorized, or if it is a PWC.  

Some boats in Ohio require a title, while others do not. Learn more about Ohio boat title requirements

For titled boats, proof of ownership is an Ohio title in your name. 

For non-titled boats (this includes canoes and kayaks) any one of the following serves as proof of ownership:

Detailed Boat Information

The following details are what you need to fill out the application for a boat registration:

  • Hull Identification Number (HIN) or Serial Number - see Find Your Hull ID Number
  • Boat Number (if previously registered in Ohio)
  • Make
  • Length
  • Year of Vessel
  • Hull Material
  • Boat type, Propulsion type, Engine type, Fuel type

The form you need to fill out at the boat registration agent is the Certified Watercraft Registration Application (DNR 8460R).  Review of the form, and collection of the information needed, is recommended prior to arrival at the boat registration agent location. If the boat has been registered previously, this information would be listed on the previous registration.

What It Costs

The cost of your registration depends on the length of your boat, how it is propelled, and which type of registration you are buying. The fees you pay to register your boat are deposited in the Waterways Safety Fund, which is used to operate Ohio's boating program.

All registration fees include a $3 writing fee that goes to the agent where you buy your registration. In the case of online renewal, the $3 writing fee goes to the Ohio Division of Parks & Watercraft; it helps cover credit card authorization charges as well as costs incurred with developing and maintaining the secure web application.

Registration Fee for Any Boat with Motor or Sail

Length of Boat Motorized Fee Sail Only Fee (no motor)
Any boat less than 16 feet or any motorized canoe $33 $38
Boats 16 feet but less than 26 feet $48 $53
Boats 26 feet but less than 40 feet $63 $68
Boats 40 feet but less than 65 feet $78 $83
Boats 65 feet or longer $93 $98

Registration Fees for Hand-powered Vessels - No Motor, No Sail

ANY LENGTH canoe, kayak, rowboat, inflatable, racing shell, rowing scull, pedal boat Fee
Traditional Registration  two decals provided; you provide/apply/display OH numbers $20
Alternative Registration  one decal provided; no OH numbers required $25

Adding a Motor to a Boat Previously Registered as Hand-powered

If you attach a motor or sail — permanently or not — to a vessel registered as "hand-powered," in order for your boat to remain legally registered, you must change the information on your registration. The change in registration type (from hand-powered to motor or sail) means a registration fee change, which is prorated based on the number of years remaining on your current registration. (If your registration is expired, you will need to visit an agent to make changes and would pay the appropriate 3-year fee from the Motor or Sail fee table. If you are unable to visit an agent in person, you may instead complete the Certified Watercraft Registration Application (DNR 8460R) and mail it to the address indicated on the form; please be aware that using this option may result in delayed processing.)

The proration is only available for Traditional registrations that are adding a motor, and the change must be made in person at a boat registration agent. Alternative registrations by law may not have a motor or sail added.

Boat Length 3 Years Remaining 2 Years Remaining 1 Year Remaining
Under 16 feet and all canoes $21 $15 $9
16 feet to less than 26 feet $36 $25 $14

Cost to Transfer Ownership of an Unexpired Registration: $5

When this is used: When you buy a used boat that has time remaining on the registration.

What form to use: Certified Watercraft Registration Application (DNR 8460R)

What you get: A registration that has the new owner's name and address on it.

Why you want this: A boat's registration is not valid unless it is written to the current owner of the boat. This transaction also means that when the boat registration is up for renewal, the renewal notice will go to the new owner.

If the boat is titled, the "proof of ownership" required to complete this transaction is the title written in the new owner's name. If the boat does not require a title, then "proof of ownership" can be the old registration signed over to the new owner (using the form on the back of the old registration). This transaction can only occur in person at a Boat Registration Agent or Watercraft Office.

If the boat's registration is expired, a full three-year registration must be purchased in order to get a registration card showing the new owner's name. This would include a new decal as well. This transaction also can only occur in person at a Boat Registration Agent or Watercraft Office.