Boat Registration and Licenses in Wisconsin
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All motorized boats and any sailboat more than 12 feet in length must register with Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
- Any boat from another country temporarily in Wisconsin.
- A ship's lifeboat.
- Any Non-motorized sailboat that's 12 feet or less in length.
- Any manually propelled vessel that's not furnished with a motor or sail. This includes canoes, kayaks, and rowboats.
- Any boat registered with a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band.
- Any boat registered in another state and using Wisconsin waters for no more than 60 consecutive days.
Any boat more than 16 feet in length must be titled. Detailed titling instructions can be found on the Boat Registration and Application.
Wisconsin Boat Registrations
- Complete a Boat Registration and Application.
- Photocopy the application before mailing. This will serve as your temporary registration until your new one arrives in the mail.
- Mail application with all applicable fees to the address on the application.
Or, if you prefer, drop off the application and payment at any DNR office.
Fees are based on a boat's length, type, and whether it was obtained through a dealer, a private party or a transfer.
Registrations are valid for three years, beginning April 1 and expiring March 31. Boat registration renewal notices are mailed approximately six weeks prior to the expiration date.
To renew online you must provide:
- Either your DNR customer number or Social Security number.
- Your birthdate.
- Your mailing address.
- Your boat's registration number.
- Payment via MasterCard or Visa.
Renew by Mail
Mail your registration renewal notice, along with payment, to the address listed on the form. If you don't have a renewal notice, complete a Boat Registration and Titling Application and mail to:
Registration Processing Center
P.O. Box 78701
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53278
Renew in Person
Replace Lost Boat Registration
Here's the scoop:
- A boating safety course certificate is required for all boat operators born on or after January 1, 1989.
- Boat operators 12 to 15 years old must either carry a boating safety certificate or be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or by a person designated by a parent or guardian who is at least 18 years old.
- Any boater 10 years old or older may obtain a boating safety certificate. The certificate, however, does not become valid until the boater's 12th birthday.
- There are no age requirements for operating boats without motors.
- Recreational safety courses are offered throughout the state, generally during March, April, May and June. Before attending, first get a DNR Customer ID Number by calling (888) 936-7463 or visiting any DNR location.
- Complete a state-approved online course.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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