Do kayaks need to be registered?

When it comes to registering of Kayak, it depends from one state to another. There are certain states that require registration as mandatory for kayak or inflatable boats. The states DMV will deal with related questions about registration. There might be further requirements for driving through the state-owned waters. The rules and regulations of each state differ and hence, determining whether to register or not can be somewhat complicated.

How to discern whether a kayak needs to be registered or not?

It would be better to understand the specific rules set by each state for the registration and if the states truly expect the completion of registration or not. There are a few pieces of information that one has to take into consideration:

  • The use of Kayak on DNR owned lands.
  • If the mechanical propellers including the electric trolling motors are used.
  • The length of kayak.

Even though the need for registration varies from state to state, the above information will help you to determine if the registration is needed. There are certain states that do not impose the registration of kayak if the mechanical propellers like electric trolling motors are not used. There is another possibility that even though the DMV of a state might not expect for the registration of kayaks, there yet may arise the possibility of DNR compelling for registration of the kayak if it is used at state parks being state-owned lands.

States that require Kayak registration

Do Kayaks need to be registered? Yes, there are certain states that require the registration of kayaks. They include:

  • Washington, DC– It requires the registration of all the boats that are of any length and if they are mechanically propelled or manually powered. (Click here to read the full policy note)
  • Ohio- In the state of Ohio there are limited exemptions for the registration of kayak. The state does not need the registration to be done for kiteboards, paddleboards, belly boats. All others need registration and the amount of registration will depend upon the propelling mechanism or the length of the boat. (Click here to read the full policy note)
  • Massachusetts– The official registration is not required in Massachusetts if the boats will not make use of propulsion. But, if the boat has an electric trolling motor, then it is necessary to be registered.  (Click here to read the full policy note)
  • Minnesota- If the boat uses a motor propeller, it needs to be registered. But on the other hand, if the kayak does not use mechanical propellers and if it’s below 10 feet, there is no need for registration.  (Click here to Read the full policy note)
  • Iowa- Registration is a must if trolling motors are used in the kayak. In the absence of such trolling motors, Iowa has certain exemptions. The registration is necessary if the inflatable kayaks are more than 13 feet long.  (Click here to Read the full policy note)
  • Delaware- In the state of Delaware, all the kayaks need to be registered. It does not provide any exception even for manually propelled boats.  (Click here to Read the full policy note)

There are certain states that have recently made some modifications to their laws regarding registration. One among them is Illinois. Previously, Illinois required the registration for all boats, but recently the law has changed. There is absolutely no need for registration with DMV for non-powered watercraft. This simplified law was the effect of the Boat Registration and Safety Act.

The registration process for kayak

There are certain things that you need to be aware of when it comes to the registration of an inflatable kayak.

  • The make and the model of the boat
  • The length of the vessel
  • Purchase proof in case it is newly purchased
  • The type of motor that is used whether manual or electric

Many of the states authorize for the registration for submitting the information in electronic form or through email. But, there are chances that you may need to visit the DMV for completing the registration process. Each state has different norms. Some states will allow for up to three years period, much of your paperwork will be spared in such cases. The cost of registration is not too expensive. If there are any questions regarding the need for registration, it is advisable to contact DNR or DMV to clarify your doubts.

Final Words:

The above article has discussed in detail the need for registration. There are states that do not oblige for registration of kayak if the mechanical propellers like electric trolling motors are not used. The registration depends on what type of watercraft you use and the registration law differs from one state to another.

Leave a Comment