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Boat Registration and Licenses in Ohio

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Boat Registration and Licensing in Ohio

The Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft processes vessel registrations and titles, and enforces all boating regulations in the interest of public safety.

This page outlines the steps to titling and registering your vessel and goes over the qualifications needed to boat on OH waters.

Vessel Registration Requirements in Ohio

In Ohio, some boats may require title AND registration, while some only require registration. Below, we'll outline the specific types of vessels needing an OH title and/or registration.

Watercraft Requiring Registration

The Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft requires ALL recreational vessels to be registered, including:

  • Motorboats.
  • Sailboats.
  • Canoes.
  • Kayaks.
  • Inflatable boats.
  • Rowing shells.
  • Racing sculls.
  • Pedal boats.
  • Personal watercraft (e.g. Sea-Doos and jet skis).

The following watercraft are exempt from registration:

  • Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Kiteboards.
  • Belly boats/float tubes.
  • Paddle boards.
  • Boats registered in another state using Ohio waters for under 60 days.
  • Documented commercial boats.
  • Boats from other countries.
  • Lifeboats.
  • Government agency-owned boats.

NOTE: Non-motorized canoes, kayaks, rowboats, rowing shells, racing sculls, and inflatable watercraft requiring registration are eligible for alternative registration, which consists of a smaller registration decal AND doesn't require registration numbers to be painted on the side of your watercraft.

Boats Requiring a Title

Additionally, you must title the following vessels:

  • All boats 14 ft or longer.
  • Outboard motors with 10 HP or more.
  • Vessels under 14 ft long with permanently attached motors of 10 HP or more, like personal watercraft.

Exceptions to Ohio's vessel titling requirements include:

  • Boats documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Canoes and kayaks.
  • Vessels under 14 ft long without a motor permanently attached.
  • Boats under 14 ft long with a motor that's under 10 HP permanently attached.
  • Watercraft from outside the country.
  • Ship lifeboats.
  • Watercraft owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
  • Outboard motors under 10 HP.

Still unsure about whether you boat requires a registration and/or title? Call the Division of Parks and Watercraft at (614) 265-6480 or (877) 4BOATER (inside OH only) for clarification.

Titling & Registering Your OH Boat

To title and/or register your boat with the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft, generally you will need to provide:

Depending on your OH county of residence, the documents you're required to provide may differ. Call your local boat agent to verify you have all the necessary items to title and/or register your boat BEFORE submitting your application.

Once you've confirmed you have all the correct documents, submit your watercraft title/registration application:

Ohio vessel registrations are valid for 3 years, with an expiration of March 1st during the final year.

Boat Title & Registration Fees

The costs of titling and registering a vessel with the OH Division of Parks and Watercraft are as follows:

  • Original/renewed registration for motorized vessels measuring:
    • Under 16 ft. AND any length of motorized canoe: $33.
    • 16 ft to under 26 ft: $48.
    • 26 ft to under 40 ft: $63.
    • 40 ft to under 65 ft: $78.
    • 65 ft and over: $93.
  • Initial/renewal registration for sail boats measuring:
    • Less than 16 ft: $38.
    • 16 ft to under 26 ft: $53
    • 26 ft to under 40 ft: $68.
    • 40 ft to under 65 ft: $83.
    • 65 ft and over: $98.
  • Original and renewal registration for watercraft not powered by motors or sails:
    • Regular registration: $20.
    • Alternative registration: $25.
  • Vessel title: $15.
  • Transfer fee for an unexpired vessel registration: $5.
  • Duplicate:
    • Boat registration card: $4.
    • Registration decals: $4.
    • Vessel title: $15.
  • Sales and use tax:
    • State: 5.75% of the purchase price.
    • Local: Varies by county of residence—use the Ohio Department of Taxation's sales and use tax calculator for an estimate of how much you could owe.

Renewals & Replacements

Ohio boat registrations are valid for 3 years and expire March 1st of the last registration year. The Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft will send you a renewal notification before the expiration date.

You can renew your boat registration by submitting the applicable renewal fees AND information about your vessel:

Replace Lost Title & Registration

Lost or damaged your vessel's registration or decals? No worries—you can request a duplicate by providing:

Then, you can submit the required items:

  • In person at your local watercraft office.
    OR
  • By mail to:
    • ATTN Duplicate
    • Ohio DNR Division of Parks and Watercraft
    • 2045 Morse Road, Building A-1
    • Columbus, OH 43229

If you need to replace your boat's title, call the OH Division of Parks and Watercraft at (614) 265-6480 for instructions on how to request a duplicate.

Ohio Boater Qualifications

The Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft imposes the following age restrictions when it comes to boating on OH waters.

If you are/were:

  • Born after January 1, 1982 and want to operate ANY vessel with more than 10 HP, you must have a boating education certificate.
  • Younger than 12 years old, you CANNOT use personal watercraft (PWC), like jet skis and Sea-Doos, at any time.
    • Boaters under 12 years old CAN operate vessels with more than 10 HP as long as you're supervised by an adult who's at least 18 years old AND you hold a boating education certificate.
  • At least 12 years old, you can drive boats with more than 10 HP WITHOUT supervision, as long as you have your boater education certificate.
  • 12 to 15 years old you may drive PWC as long as you have a boat education certificate AND are accompanied by an adult who's at least 18 years old.
  • At least 16 years old, you may operate personal watercraft WITHOUT adult supervision.

To earn your boater education certificate you'll need to successfully complete any of the following:

Remember, completing a boater education class can save you bundles on boat insurance! For more, check out our Ohio boat insurance guide.

Forms

DNR 8460R

Use this form to request an original, renewal, OR transferral of Ohio watercraft registration.

DNR 8456

Request duplicate OH registration card and/or decals for your boat. Cannot be used on expired registrations.

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