Boat Registration and Licenses in Illinois

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Boat Registration and Licenses in Illinois

If you need to register and title your boat in IL, you'll have to follow the specific guidelines of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Continue reading the instructions on this page for complete details about the boat registration and titling process.

Boats You Must Register

  • All boats used within the state, unless exempt (see below).


  • Sailboards.
  • Lifeboats used exclusively as lifeboats.
  • Boats currently licensed in another state being used in Illinois for no longer than 60 consecutive days.
  • Other boats may be exempted by the Department of Natural Resources.

IL Boat Registration Requirements and Procedures

All newly purchased boats must be registered 15 days. To do so, follow this procedure:

  1. Complete a Watercraft Registration/Title Application (Form IL 422-0321) (available through the DNR or most boat dealers).
  2. Locate the Manufacturer's Certification of Origin (new boats only).
  3. Find the previous owner's registration and title (used boats only).
  4. Determine your sales tax by calling (800) 732-8866 or (217) 782-3336 (if you haven't already paid it, make the check payable to Illinois Department of Revenue).
  5. Include proof of sales tax payment (if you have already paid it).
  6. Bring your registration fee. Make the check payable to Department of Natural Resources.
  7. Take the required documentation and fees, stick them in an envelope, and mail everything to:
    Department of Natural Resources
    P.O. Box 19226
    Springfield, IL 62794
  8. In return, you'll receive your registration, title, and registration decals.
  9. In the meantime, you can use your copy of the application as a temporary permit. This will be valid for 120 days.

Call (866) 867-3542 with any registration questions.

Boat registration in Illinois expires every 3 years on June 30th.

Illinois Boat Registration Fees

New and renewal registration fees are determined by the length of the boat, as follows:

  • Class 1All powered boats under 16 ft:$28.
  • Class 2 16 ft to 26 ft: $60.
  • Class 326 ft to 40 ft: $160.
  • Class 4 40 ft and longer: $210.

Renewals and Replacements

Registrations are valid for 3 years. To renew your registration, simply renew online or by phone:

Renew Online

  1. Go to the renewal site.
  2. Enter your boat registration and Hull ID numbers.
  3. Follow the rest of the instructions.
  4. Pay your boat registration renewal fee.

Renew by Phone

Renew your registration at any time by calling (866) 867-3542 on your touch-tone phone, and following the instructions given. Be sure to:

  1. Have your registration information handy.
  2. Record your renewal confirmation number.
  3. Pay your fee using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or E-Check .

A convenience fee will be applied to your transaction.

Replace a Lost Registration

To receive a duplicate boat registration in Illinois:

  1. Get an application form.
  2. Fill in the appropriate sections.
  3. Mail it along with the $7 fee to:

Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 19226
Springfield, IL 62794

Boat Insurance in Illinois

By law, you do NOT have to purchase a boat insurance policy in Illinois in order to register and title your boat.

However, if you're ever involved in a collision, you're better protected by carrying adequate boat insurance (with a minimum of liability coverage),

You should take a few minutes to read up on boat insurance at our page about Boat Insurance.

Boating License

Illinois offers a Boating Education Certificate of Competency to those who complete an approved safety education course.

The course is mandatory for those between 12 to 17 years old who want to operate a motorboat without direct adult supervision.

A Boating Safety Certificate is required if you were born on January 1, 1998, or later AND you're operating a boat over 10 HP.

Read below for more information about boating safety courses.

Boating Safety Courses

Approved safety courses contain at least 8 hours of instruction. Boaters of all ages are encouraged to complete a course. It will further their boating safety education. Visit the DNR Safety Education page for more information.

Safety courses are available in the classroom and online. State-approved provides one of the state's most recognized online courses. You can gather more information by clicking its link below.

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