Do I need to register my boat in Ohio?

Registrations are required for every recreational boat in Ohio, including powerboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and inflatable boats.

What you need to get a boat registered depends on what type of boat it is. Generally you need proof of ownership, some detailed information on the boat, some detailed information on the owner, a drivers license, and the registration fee.

Boat registrations are valid for three years and expire on March 1.

Ohio Registration certificate for a boat


Where can I register my boat?

Boat registration agents are located throughout the state. They include private businesses, title offices, and DNR offices. Agents listed by County

Until September 30, you can use a secure web site to renew your boat registrations if a PIN was issued to your boat. You need your "OH" boat number and PIN (both located on your renewal notice) and a valid Visa or Mastercard credit card to renew online. Online registration renewal!

What are the Boat Registration Fees in Ohio?

Boat registration fees are based on a boat's length and type.

Proof of registration

No person shall operate any boat without a valid registration. Proof of registration is shown by displaying two square registration decals and carrying the valid registration certificate on board the vessel.

A new owner is obligated, before using the boat on the water, to take the previous registration form with the transfer section completed by the seller to any watercraft registration agent, even if the registration has not expired. If a boat needing a title is transferred to a new owner, you may operate it for no more than 45 days provided the new owner carries aboard one of the following:

  • a temporary watercraft registration from an authorized registration agent;
  • a bill of sale from a watercraft dealer containing the required information.

How do I display the registration decal in Ohio?

Ohio Boat Registration requirements

The number assigned is in three parts beginning with "OH" followed by four numbers and two letters.

The number shall:

  • be placed on each side of the forward half of the watercraft;

  • read from left to right;

  • be in block characters of good proportion;

  • be a minimum of 3 inches in height;

  • be one color and contrast with the background or boat color;

  • be separated by a hyphen or equivalent space between the prefix and suffix;

  • be maintained to be clearly visible and legible.

No other numerals or letters may be shown on the bow.

Two registration decals are issued with each traditional boat registration. On numbered boats the owner shall securely affix the decals on each side of the bow six inches toward the stern from the number. 

The decals must be clearly visible in normal conditions and affixed prior to operation of the watercraft.

Documented boats must display one decal on the port side and one on the starboard side.

When do registrations expire?

Registration certificates and decals are valid up to 3 years and expire on March 1 of the year indicated. All decals shall be removed when they expire.