Kentucky Boat Registration & Titling

Boat Registration in Kentucky

To operate any mechanically powered vessel on Kentucky waters it must be registered and display valid registration decals. Boat registrations are valid for one year and expire on April 30.

A Title is a legal document establishing a person or business as the legal owner of a vehicle or vessel. 

When a vehicle or vessel is sold from one Kentucky resident or business to another in Kentucky, the title must be transferred to the new owner within 15 days. In the case of Boats, all parts of the boat (e.g., body, motor, etc.) are, together, one titled vessel.

Applying for a Title for the First Time

Completed Motor Boat Transaction Record Application for Title/Registration TC96-184 signed-over Kentucky title.

 

Boat registration Kentucky

Vessels exempt from registration:

  • Non-motorized vessels such as canoes, kayaks and rowboats
  • Vessels that are properly registered in another state and are using Kentuckywaters for a maximum of 60 consecutive days
  • Vessels documented with the US Coast Guard

Registration applications must be made at the county clerk’s office. Once a vessel is registered the owner will receive a Certificate of Registration that must be kept on board and readily available for inspection by a law enforcement officer whenever the vessel is in operation.

The county clerk must be notified within 15 days if the boat is sold, destroyed, or stolen, or if the owner changes address.

 

 

Titling in Kentucky

All vessels that require registration must also be titled in Kentucky. When a currently registered boat changes ownership, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to take the endorsed title to the country clerk’s office for the transfer of ownership.

How to Display Registration Number and Decals

  • You must display your boat number in the following manner:
  • Painted on or permanently attached to each side of the bow;
  • Using BLOCK letters at least three inches high and of one solid color contrastingsharply with the color of your boat;
  • To read from left to right; letters and numbers must be separated by a space or ahyphen, for example, KY 1234 AB or KY-1234-AB
  • No other numbers may be displayed
  • Every vessel that requires registration must display registration decals, includingpersonal watercraft. You must display your decals as follows:
  • On both sides of the boat
  • Within six inches aft of (towards the stern) and in line with the registrationnumber
  • Only display current decals.
Validation decal Kentucky

How to Display Registration Number and Decals in Kentucky?

Display registration number Kentucky
  • You must display your boat number in the following manner:
  • Painted on or permanently attached to each side of the bow;
  • Using BLOCK letters at least three inches high and of one solid color contrastingsharply with the color of your boat;
  • To read from left to right; letters and numbers must be separated by a space or ahyphen, for example, KY 1234 AB or KY-1234-AB
  • No other numbers may be displayed
  • Every vessel that requires registration must display registration decals, includingpersonal watercraft. You must display your decals as follows:
  • On both sides of the boat
  • Within six inches aft of (towards the stern) and in line with the registrationnumber
  • Only display current decals.

Documented Vessels in Kentucky?

Larger recreational vessels may be documented with the US Coast Guard. In this case

they are not required to display a KY registration number or decals.