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Do You Have To Register A Kayak?

If you’re looking forward to using your kayak, you might be wondering if you’ll need to register it. Well, this article will hopefully help you find out exactly what you need to know about registering your kayak!

 Do You Have To Register A Kayak?

You need to register your kayak if you want to use it on public waters. Watercraft registrations must be done properly.

A watercraft decal number should be placed on both sides of the kayak. The boat registration card must be kept on board the kayak. 

Numbers should be written in capital lettering and should be at least 3 inches tall. There should be spaces and hyphens between numerals and letters, and there should be a contrasting color for the numbers.

Do You Have To Register An Inflatable Kayak?

Kayaks, canoes, and other unpowered boats do not always need to be registered. However, each state will have a unique list of rules for navigating public waterways in inflatable boats. 

Some states may allow you to use an inflatable boat without registering it while others may require you to register it. 

You should also consider what type of inflatable boat you’re using (manual vs. mechanical) as well as the type of land you’re using it on (state-owned vs. privately owned).

What If Your Kayak Has A Motor?

All motor-powered vessels must be registered with the state in charge of boat registration, except for those specifically exempted by law. 

In many states, kayaks fall under the category of recreational boats and therefore require registration. However, some states classify them as commercial vessels or personal watercraft, requiring different rules and regulations.

How To Register A Kayak: Paddler’s Guide To Kayak Registration

Researching your state’s boating regulations should be your first step. 

The information required for registering a kayak varies by state. In most states, kayaking is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

However, it’s not uncommon for the Department of Fish And Game, Department of Natural Reserves, and the Department of Licensing – and in some states the Department of finance – to deal with boating registration.

When in doubt check with the local government – and don’t expect anyone to “bend the rules” for you. If you do not submit the correct paperwork and required information, then you won’t get your registration approved. 

Registration fees vary by state – but are usually around $25-$250 for the certificate fee. Be sure to check your state’s official website before registering your kayak or canoe.

 Do You Have To Register A Kayak?

Generally, it takes about 2 weeks for kayaks to be registered. You can apply online, in person, and via post.

Kayaks can be registered for anywhere from 1 year to 3 years. You can renew the registration certificates online. Renewal fees apply. 

Remember to go over everything before paying the applicable fees and submitting your renewal form! Also remember that if you lost or damaged the boat registration card,

you may be able to get a replacement registration card in the nearest Registration Office. The fees are minimal, but you’re typically only allowed three or four copies during a single registration period.

Travelling To Other States

Kayaks are usually registered in the state where they are most frequently used. 

Most states have reciprocity laws allowing visitors to stay out of registration requirements if they paddle within a certain time frame. 

Outside this time frame, you might have to register your kayak in the new state.

Selling A Kayak

A kayak must be registered before it can be used legally. You must notify the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) within 10 days if you sell your kayak. 

After this time period, the new owner can use the kayak. Double check with local authorities to make sure you are transferring the right paperwork

What Is The Difference Between A Registration And Title?

Boats need to be registered because registrations are used to travel across state lines and to Canada. Boat registrations are valid for two years. 

Boat registrations expire March 31st of the second year. A vessel title is used to prove boat ownership, and is needed if the boat is being sold or traded to future owners.

Kayak Registration In Different States

Registering Your Kayak In Ohio

Kayaks must be registered in Ohio. Renewing a registration boat takes place every 3 years. 

Your renewal notice comes several months before expiration. You must renew your registration if you want to continue using your boat. Bring your renewal notice with an identification card and payment. 

If you do not have a PIN, call Boat Registration Agents to check availability of decals. Renew your registration online as long as your boat information is current.

New boats can be registered in-person at a Boat Registration Agency or at a Watercraft office. You should call ahead to confirm they are open, if they have watercraft decals, and what types of payment they accept. 

Registration costs depend on the length of your vessel, how it is powered, and which type of registry you are purchasing.

Registering Your Kayak In Washington D.C.

Kayaks, canoes, and other non-motorized boats are exempt from registration if they are being used exclusively within the District of Columbia waters. Registration fees are $5 per vessel.

Registering Your Kayak In New York

Boats without mechanical propulsion are exempt from registration in New York. Motor powered boats are exempt if they’re used as lifeboats, or if they’re registered in another state and aren’t kept in New York for longer than 90 days. 

A commercial boat with U.S. or international documentation doesn’t need to register in New York. Racing boats in competitions don’t need to register in New York either.

There is no age requirement to buy a boat in New York. However, there are regulations restricting the age that someone can legally operate a boat.

Registering Your Kayak In Massachusetts

Motor-powered boats must be registered in Massachusetts. However, non-motorized boats don’t need to be registered.

Registering Your Kayak In Georgia

Boats without motors (including kayaks) don’t need to be registered in Georgia. Registration is required for all boats over 12 feet long, and sailboats over 12 feet long used in public waters. 

Private ponds and lakes not open to the public are exempt from regulation under the Motorboat Act.


Hopefully this article has helped you to learn what you needed to know about registering your kayak!

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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