Boat Registration and Licenses in Indiana

Indiana Boat Registration and Licenses

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) handles the registration and titling of all water crafts. On this page, we'll teach you how to title and register your boat AND outline the qualifications needed to operate watercraft on IN waters.

IN Vessels Requiring Title & Registration

All vessels operated on Indiana waters must be titled and registered, with the following exemptions:

  • Non-motorized boats (except sailboats), such as:
    • Canoes.
    • Rowboats.
    • Paddle boats.
  • Boats registered in another country temporarily being used in Indiana.
  • Boats valued under $3,000 when it was new.
  • Boats purchased before  January 1, 1986.
  • Homemade boats.
  • Ship lifeboats.
  • Vessels moored/docked on the Indiana portion of Lake Michigan for up to 180 days.
  • Non-resident boats currently registered in another state that haven't been in Indiana for more than 60 consecutive days.

If you're still unsure about whether your watercraft requires titling and registration, call the BMV at (888) 692-6841 for assistance.

Title & Register Your Boat in Indiana

You have 45 days from a vessel's purchase date to title and register it with the IN Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

PRIOR to submitting your title and registration application, make sure your boat has a hull identification number (HIN). If your vessel does not have a properly assigned HIN, you'll need to apply for a special identification number before titling and registering your boat.

You can then complete your vessel title and registration application by providing the following items at your local BMV office:

The BMV will mail your Indiana vessel documentation and registration decals. Refer to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' registration requirements for instructions on how to properly display your boat number and decals.

IN Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees you could have to pay when titling and registering watercraft with the BMV are as follows:

  • Original/renewal registration (depends on the length of your boat):
    • 13 ft or less: $15.
    • 13 ft up to 26 ft: $18.
    • 26 ft up to 40 ft: $21.
    • 40 ft or longer: $24.
  • Original, corrected, OR replacement title: $15.
  • Duplicate registration: $9.50.
  • IN Department of Natural Resources annual fee.
  • Watercraft excise tax: Depends on your vessel's class and age—refer to the BMV's excise tax chart for specifics.
  • Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) fee: Varies according to your boat's excise class—see the LARE fee chart for details.
  • Sales tax:
    • State: 7% of the purchase price.
    • Local: Varies from IN county to county.

Title & Registration Renewals & Replacements

Indiana boat registrations expire annually on a staggered basis; the date you're required to renew is determined by your last name. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will send you a renewal notice prior to your registration's expiration.

You can renew your IN boat registration by providing information about your vessel AND the appropriate renewal fees:

Replace Lost Title or Registration

If your boat's title or registration is damaged or lost, you can request a duplicate online OR at your local BMV office by providing:

Indiana Boater Qualifications

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires anyone operating a motorized boat with more than 10 horsepower to be at least 15 years old AND hold an Indiana driver's license UNLESS you're:

  • At least 15 years old and:
    • Have completed a boating education course.
    • Hold a valid IN identification card.
  • At least 21 years old and have a state ID card that was issued before January 1, 1996.

Head over to the DNR's boating education and safety page for more on approved boater education providers.


Application for Certificate of Watercraft Title
The IN BMV's application for a watercraft title.
Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Exemption
Submit this certificate to the BMV if you meet any of the qualifications (listed on the form) for exemption from Indiana's gross retail or use tax on a vehicle or watercraft you bought.
Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid
Use this form to verify you've already paid IN gross retail or use tax on a vehicle or watercraft you purchased. Must be completed by the person who sold you the vehicle or watercraft.
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