Ohio boat registrations are required for all recreational boats, including sailboats, canoes, pedal boats, powerboats, kayaks, and inflatable boats, though there are a few exemptions listed below in the exemption section. While most vessels require boat registration in Ohio through the OH Department of Natural Resources (DNR), not all boats require a certificate of title. Find out more about the unique boating laws and policies in Ohio and learn how to register a boat in OH by studying the details provided below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Ohio

“What do you need to register a boat in Ohio?” is a common question many boaters may ask themselves. Registration requirements involve several things from the boat owner before an application can be processed. Complete the OH boat registration form titled Certified Watercraft Registration Application to start the process.

Requirements to register a boat in Ohio are listed below.

  • Boat Information
  • Proof of Ownership

On the Ohio boat registration form, there is an option to register a boat as Alternative Registration for Hand-Powered Vessels. OH boat registration instructions indicate this type of registration is not for motorized vessels. Alternative registration is strictly for non-powered vessels like the following:

  • Rowing shells
  • Racing sculls
  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Rowboats
  • Pedal boats
  • Inflatables

The registration requirements under the Alternative Registration option are the same as those for traditional registration, but an additional $5 is added to the cost. Both types of boat registration are valid for 3 years. However, the benefit to the alternative method is that it is not necessary to display OH numbers on the vessel.

Exemptions From Boat Registration and Titling in Ohio

“Is your boat exempt from registration in Ohio?” is a question many boaters may encounter. Many may not realize how common boat registration exemptions in Ohio are, considering that the kinds of boats requiring registration make up a big list of vessels. Exempted vessels include those owned by out-of-state visitors that are registered in their state of residence.

Other boats that do not require registration and titling in Ohio include sailboards, kite boards, paddleboards, float tubes and belly boats are all exempt. Except for the above, all boats need registration in Ohio. However, not all boats need titles.

The following vessels are exempt from titling:

  • Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Watercraft less than 14’ long without a permanently affixed motor.
  • Watercraft less than 14’ long with a motor powered by 10 horsepower or less.
  • Lifeboat of a ship.
  • Boats owned by government agencies.

Ohio Boat Insurance

Boat insurance rates in Ohio are accessible to boaters in the state, even though Ohio does not require boaters to obtain insurance to operate, register or title a vessel. However, requesting boat insurance quotes in Ohio is recommended by the DNR. Some boat insurance programs in OH offer discounts for boat safety certified boat owners.

Boat owners should make sure to contact an Ohio insurance agent to find out the best rates and discounts for boat insurance. Some auto insurance providers may offer boat and car coverage bundles, so customers should make sure to shop around for coverage options, when possible.

Ohio Boat Registration Fees

Boat registration fees in Ohio will apply whether registering a boat for the first time or renewing. Costs depends on the length of the boat, how it is propelled and what type of registration is needed. To answer, “How much does it cost to register a boat in Ohio?” simply consult the list of fees below:

  • Boats less than 16’ long or motorized canoe – $33/powered by motor; $38/not powered by motor
  • Boats 16’ to 26’ long – $48/powered by motor; $53/not powered by motor
  • Boats 26’ to 40’ long – $63/powered by motor; $68/not powered by motor
  • Boats 40’ and 65’ long – $78/powered by motor; $83/not powered by motor
  • Boats 65’ long or more – $93/powered by motor; $98/not powered by motor

A $3 fee will also be added to all registration fees. Registration decals are valid for 3 years.

Renewing Your Ohio Boat Registration

To renew boat registration online in Ohio, boaters must visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Ohio State Parks & Watercraft online during the online renewal window, which is open from January through September. Other options for how to renew your boat registration renewal in Ohio include registering by mail or in person. For renewal by mail, send in the renewal form and payment to the address below.

DNR Watercraft Registration
2045 Morse Road, Building A-1
Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693

For in-person renewals, visit a Watercraft Registration Agent, calling first to ensure they offer the services needed. If renewing after November 1, ask if the agent offers year-round registrations.

Replacing Your Ohio Boat Registration

To replace a boat registration in Ohio, fill out the Duplicate Order Form (DNR Form 8456) and send a check payable to Ohio Dept. Natural Resources – Watercraft in the amount of $4 for new decals and/or $4 for a copy of the registration. For in-person replacement, know that this is available at a Watercraft Office where you can pay by cash, check or credit card.

You cannot replace a boat registration online in Ohio, and duplicate registration is only available when registration is current. Like the car registration replacement process, replacing registration documents for a vessel is important for maintain watercraft operation privileges.

Boater Safety Courses in Ohio

Boaters born after 1981 must have completed a boater safety course in Ohio to operate a boat in Ohio powered by more than 10 horsepower. Taking an approved safety course is the only way to obtain boat operating rights.

Options for taking an official boater safety course in Ohio include classroom courses, online courses and a home study course, upon approval. Once the boating education class is complete, you must pass an exam, to obtain a boater education card.

Ohio Boater License

An online boating license or one obtained in person is not necessary to operate a boat in Ohio. While there is no actual boater license in Ohio, there are age limits and boater education requirements depending on the size of the boat and the size of its motor.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.