Register a Boat in Ohio

Take advantage of the state’s plentiful boating opportunities. Learn how to get your Ohio boat registration before heading out on the water.

Register Your Boat
Boat Registration

How to Register a Boat in Ohio

Unlike some states that only require motorized vessels to be registered, in Ohio, registrations are required for every recreational boat. That includes:

  • Motorboats
  • Sailboats
  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Pedal boats
  • Inflatable boats

The only exceptions to the Ohio boat registration rule are for kiteboards, paddleboards and belly boats.

Once you’ve determined that you need to register your boat, you’ll have to apply in person at a boat registration agent or at a watercraft office. These are located throughout the state of Ohio, a listing of which you can find on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.

When you go to one of the offices, you’ll need to show that you’re the owner of the boat. In many cases, you’ll need an Ohio title, even when registering an out-of-state boat in Ohio. So if you’re registering a boat in Ohio with no title, you’ll need to obtain a title or fit into one of the titling exemptions. The following boats in Ohio don’t need a title:

  • Canoes and kayaks
  • Watercraft less than 14 feet without a permanently affixed mechanical means of propulsion
  • Watercraft less than 14 feet with a permanently affixed mechanical means of population of less than 10 horsepower
  • Ship’s lifeboat
  • Boast owned by government agencies
  • Vessels documented by the US Coast Guard

In addition to a title, you’ll also need the following for Ohio boat registration in order to complete your Certified Watercraft Registration Application:

  • Hull Identification Number or serial number
  • Boat number
  • Make
  • Length
  • Year
  • Hull material
  • Boat type, propulsion type, engine type, and fuel type

You’ll also have to pay the appropriate registration fees, which we’ll discuss in a bit.

Once you get your registration, it will be good for three years. All Ohio boat registrations expire on March 1.

Do I Need to Register a Boat Trailer in Ohio?

If you have a noncommercial boat trailer, Ohio also requires that you register it if you plan to use it on the state’s roads. In order to get your Ohio boat trailer registration, you’ll have to apply at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The process for registering a boat trailer is essentially the same as registering a regular car or truck, except that you’ll need to supply a weight card.

Ohio Boat Registration Costs

The cost to a register boat in Ohio depends on the length of your vessel, how it’s propelled and what type of registration you’re buying. When registering a boat in Ohio, the fees are:

  • Boats with a Motor or Sail:
    • Less than 16 feet or any motorized canoe: $33 for motorized; $38 for sail only
    • 16 feet to less than 26 feet: $48 for motorized; $53 for sail only
    • 26 feet to less than 40 feet: $63 for motorized; $68 for sail only
    • 40 feet to less than 65 feet: $78 for motorized; $83 for sail only
    • 65 feet or longer: $93 for motorized; $98 for sail only
  • Hand-powered Vessels (any length canoe, kayak, rowboat, inflatable, racing shell, rowing scull, or pedal boat):
    • Traditional registration (two decals, OH numbers required): $20
    • Alternative registration (one decal; no OH numbers required): $25

All fees paid for Ohio boat registrations are deposited into the Waterways Safety Fund.