Indiana boat decals for vessels using any state waterways such as lakes and rivers are issued by the Indiana Bureau of Motorized Vehicles (BMV). The BMV watercraft registration will include a registration number that is also located on the decal, and boat stickers will need to be displayed on the watercraft. Learn more information on how to register a boat in Indiana by reading the following sections.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Indiana

The first thing boaters need for Indiana boat registration is to provide proof of ownership. This can be verified with a certificate of title, bill of sale, invoice, bill of lading, title or certificate of origin. The BMV will conduct a VIN search before issuing boat registration numbers and a certificate of registration.

When obtaining a registration in Indiana, boaters will need to make a contribution. The contribution is used to ensure responsible boating and sustain the natural resources of the state. The fee contribution will include a first-time boat registration fee, lake and river enhancement fee and excise tax.

Exemptions From Registration and Titling in Indiana

Decals are not required for U.S Coast Guard documented watercrafts. Lifeboats and canoes do not have to be registered, for example. When a vessel registration corresponds to another state, but the boat is being used in Indiana waterways, a registration is not required for a period of 60 days.

Boats docked in Indiana for 22 consecutive days do not require vessel registration but do require an excise tax. Other forms of registration exceptions include the following:

  • Non-motorized boats
  • Motorized vessels from a different country
  • Water vessels moored on Lake Michigan for over 180 consecutive days on the Indiana portion

Indiana Boat Insurance

Boat registration requirements do not include having boat insurance. Boaters insurance is essential when involved in an accident. All boaters are encouraged to obtain boaters insurance to protect watercrafts against natural disasters and accidents. Many policies are highly customizable and similar to car insurance offer coverage for property damage, comprehensive and personal injury.

Indiana Boat Registration Fees

Registration fees will be assessed for each water vessel depending on the length of the watercraft. The Indiana boat registration fees will go to processing of the application as well as to be used towards keeping waterways safe.

When first registering a boat, boaters will pay a lake and river enhancement fee based on the boat value. A $5 Department of Natural Resources fee will also be assessed. If the boat was purchased out of state there will be a 7% sales tax that will need to be paid as well. A schedule of yearly registration fees is as follows:

  • Watercrafts up to 13 feet: $15
  • Watercrafts up to 26 feet: $18
  • Watercrafts up to 40 feet: $21
  • Watercrafts over 40 feet: $24

Renewing your Indiana Boat Registration

Indiana boat registration renewal must be completed each year prior to the expiration date. Renewals can be obtained at a local BMV branch. You can also register a boat online that has been previously registered in person, for your convenience.

Boaters will receive a temporary registration while the Certificate of Registration and new decals are mailed out. Documents typically arrive within 14 days.

Replacing your Indiana Boat Registration

Boat registration replacement can be necessary when a boater loses or damages a current registration. Vessel registration can be replaced at a BMV office and boaters will be required to present identification and the boat HIN.

The BMV will do a check to ensure the information is correct and a replacement can be issued. The cost of a replacement boat registration is $9.50.

Boater Safety Course in Indiana

Even though boat registration numbers do not require boaters to attend a boating safety course it is encouraged for all boat operators. Boast safety classes consist of six to 13 lessons or chapters. Boating safety courses aim to improve the safety of all boaters by giving instruction on parts of the boat, how to navigate waterways and read a nautical chart.

It is important for all boaters to know how to properly maneuver a water vessel to keep passengers and other boaters safe. These courses provide a foundation for all new boat operators. Boater safety courses and exams can be taken in classroom or online at the convenience of the boater.

Indiana Boater Licenses

Indiana boat registration requirements state that boaters must have a state-issued driver’s license and be at least 15 years of age to operate a watercraft. A boater safety course is required for any boater who does not have a current Indiana driver’s license. Indiana does not currently issue boater’s licenses aside from a completion of boater safety course.

Last updated on Monday, March 11 2019.

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