How to Register a Boat or Watercraft in Iowa
Find boating registration info for the state of Iowa, with fees and documents.
Most new boats must be registered through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources before they can be sailed.
VESSELS THAT REQUIRE REGISTRATION
- Vessels sailing in Iowa waters
VESSELS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION
- Any boat that is propelled only by oars or paddles, inflatable and less than 7 feet
- Boats registered in another state and not being used in Iowa for more than 60 days
- Canoes and kayaks, less than 13 feet
- A ship’s lifeboat
- Swimming aids
- Boats registered in another country temporarily plying in Iowa waters
- Boats owned by the United states, a solitary state, a county, or a municipality used for search and rescue operations or for educational purposes
TO REGISTER IN PERSON
- You can register a boat in person by visiting your local County Recorder’s Office.
- You must bring a completed boat registration application and proof of ownership such as a bill of sale, original registration, sales tax receipt when needed, invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin, or out-of-state title.
TO REGISTER BY U.S. MAIL
The boat registration application and proof of ownership can also be mailed to the nearest County Recorder’s Office.
Boat registration fees range from $5 to $28, depending on the size of the vessel. See here for a more detailed breakdown of the registration fees. In addition, there may be vessels registered in Iowa may be subject to sales taxes in the county of registration.