Welcome to your Ohio Boat registration guide! With 75 state parks and tons of beautiful waterways, boating is simply a way of life in the State of Ohio. With glittering waters, lakes and rivers, the Buckeye State is full of boaters and swimmers most days of the year. Whether you’re fishing or tubing, there’s a special feeling in the air when you’re out on the boat in Ohio. 

In the State of Ohio, most recreational boats require a registration and a title to be legally operated out on the water. Make sure you’re legal and ready to go by following our guide to Ohio boat registration, and pack your sunscreen! With the proper registration and titles in hand, you’ll be living the Ohio boat life in no time. 

How Do I Know If My Boat Needs to Be Registered and Titled?  

In Ohio, every recreational boat must be registered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This goes for all recreational boats, from canoes and kayaks all the way to powerboats and sailboats.  

Many boats also need to be titled in the State of Ohio. All boats less than 14 feet long with a fixed motor of 10 horsepower or more as well as all boats 14 feet or longer must be titled as well as registered. 

What Boats Are Exempt From Boat Registration in Ohio? 

While most recreational boats must be registered in Ohio, the following boats are exempt: 

  • Kiteboards 
  • Paddleboards 
  • Belly boats (float tubes) 

What Boats Are Exempt From Titling in Ohio? 

While many boats must be titled in Ohio, including personal watercrafts, the following boats are exempt from the titling requirement: 

  • Canoes or kayaks of any length 
  • Boats less than 14 feet long without a permanently affixed means of propulsion 
  • Boats less than 14 feet long with a fixed motor less than 14 horsepower 
  • Outboard motors of less than 10 horsepower 
  • U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels 

How Do I Register My Boat in the State of Ohio? 

In Ohio, boats can be registered in person at a Boat Registration Agent or Watercraft Office. To register your boat in Ohio, you’ll need: 

  • For titled boats, proof of ownership is in Ohio title (in your name). 
  • For non-titled boats, proof of ownership can be: 
  • Correct fee (call your Boat Registration Agent or Watercraft Office in advance to find out what payment will be accepted) 

How Do I Title My Boat in the State of Ohio? 

To title your boat, you will file electronically with the Clerk of Courts or in person at your local county title office

How Much Does Boat Registration Cost in the State of Ohio? 

Costs for registering your boat in Ohio can vary, and are as follows: 

Hand Powered 
Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, inflatables and pedal boats $20.00 
Powered by Sail or Motor 
Canoes with Motor, other boats less then 16′ long $33.00 
Boats 16′ long, but less than 26′ long $48.00 
Boats 26′ long, but less than 40′ long $63.00 
Boats 40′ long but less than 65′ long $78.00 
Boats 65′ long and longer $93.00 
Transfer Fee for Unexpired Registration 
All boats $5.00 

How Much Does Boat Titling Cost in the State of Ohio? 

In Ohio, watercraft titles cost $15.00 plus any additional taxes or fees. 

How Do I Transfer Boat Ownership to My New Boat? 

To transfer boat ownership in Ohio, the seller will fill out the Certified Watercraft Registration Application and select “transfer,” and the new owner will take the application to a local watercraft office or agent. 

Titled boat sellers must complete the transfer section on the back of the title in the presence of a notary public before providing title to the buyer. To complete the transfer, the buyer must take the title to a title office. 

Will I Need to Take a Boater Safety Education Course? 

In the State of Ohio, everyone born on or after January 1, 1982, must obtain an Ohio Boater Education Certificate to legally operate a boat or personal watercraft.  

In order to obtain your Boater Education Card, you’ll complete a course like BOATsmart!’s, which is fun, action and info-packed, and perfect for all skill levels. Designed to educate boaters (and entertain them), BOATsmart! is the top choice for Ohio boaters. With BOATsmart!, you can take your boating safety course on your own time and on your own device—and trust that you’ll pass the Ohio Boating Safety Test. 

What Else Do I Need to Know About Boat Registration in Ohio? 

In Ohio, boaters must display their boat registration numbers on both sides of the boat in clear, block characters.  


Since almost every boat needs to be registered (and titled!) to legally operate on Ohio waters, make sure you’re covered by following the rules. All boaters born on or after January 1, 1981 must also carry a Boater Education Card, so take a course like BOATsmart!’s to make sure that you’re ready, safe and legal on the water. Have fun and stay safe!