Boat Registration and Licenses in Kentucky

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What to Register

  • All mechanically-powered vessels used on the state's waterways.


  • Vessel currently registered in another state being used in Kentucky for less than 60 consecutive days.
  • A ship's lifeboat being used strictly for that purpose.

Requirements and Procedures

Register your newly acquired boat in person by:

  1. Completing the boat registration.
  2. Locating you Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or bill of sale.
  3. Providing your social security number.
  4. Supplying the requisite fee.
  5. Traveling to your local county clerk's office. You can also register your boat in the county that you will most often use it.

Keep your registration on board whenever you're operating your vessel. If a vessel is sold the seller must notify the county clerk within 15 days of the transfer.

Boat Insurance

In Kentucky you are not required to have boat insurance in order to register your boat. However, when considering the risks involved with owning and operating a boat. you may find great value in purchasing a boat insurance policy.


Registration fees are determined by the length and type of vessel:

  • Class A (16 ft in length): $19
  • Class 1 (16 ft to 25 ft): $23
  • Class 2 (26 ft to 39 ft): $29
  • Class 3 (longer than 40 ft): $33
  • Inboard boats (all sizes): $34
  • Boats with an electric (or trolling) motor only: $9

Other fees, such as your property tax, title fee, and clerk's fee may also apply.

Renewals and Replacements

All registrations expire on April 30 of each year. You should receive a renewal notice about a month before the expiration date.

Renew In Person

Go to the appropriate county clerk's office with your original registration, Social Security number, and fee payment.

Renew By Mail

Send your original registration along with your payment to the address listed. Also include a $2 postage and handling fee; your registration should be returned to you within a few days.

If your registration lapses, you must renew your registration in person.

Replace Lost Registration

Receive a duplicate registration by going to your county clerk's office and paying the $6 fee. Bring some sort of personal identification with you. You may be charged additional fees depending on your county.

Kentucky Boater License

To operate a certain motorized vessel unsupervised, if you are 12 to 17 years old, you must have a boater education certificate. Without the certificate, an adult, or someone with the education certificate must be on board with you.

Obtain the certificate by completing a state-approved boater safety course.

KY Boater Safety Course

You may go online and fulfill your education requirement by completing the class through a state-approved provider.

Or, you can take a class given by the state in a classroom setting to receive your certificate.

Be sure to carry the boater education card with you whenever you're operating a vessel.

Even if you aren't required to take a safety class, you may benefit from doing so. Learn more about boating safety, and potentially reduce your insurance rates.

Call (800) 858-1549 for more information on boater education courses and requirements.

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