Watercraft exempt from the titling requirement:
Some vessels that may not have needed a title when they were originally purchased now need one. The owner must apply to an Ohio title office and obtain a title before selling a vessel:
Watercraft operated on Ohio water shall be numbered by this state or in compliance with their own state numbering system, and shall properly display the assigned number.
No person shall operate any watercraft without a valid registration. Proof of registration is shown by displaying two square registration decals or a rectangular decal (Alternative Registration for hand-powered vessels only) 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:
Kiteboard which is operated by a person standing on an inherently buoyant board and uses a kite as a means of propulsion and lift.
Paddleboard which is operated by a person kneeling, standing or lying on an inherently buoyant board and is propelled by a pole or single- or double-bladed paddle.
“Belly boat” or “float tube” which is an inflatable vessel operated by a person who remains partially submerged in the water and is propelled by muscular effort without using an oar, paddle or pole.
Sailboard was already previously exempted from registration by rule but is now included in the Ohio Revised Code. A sailboard is operated by a person standing on an inherently buoyant board and is propelled by a single sail mounted on the board.
Kiteboards, paddleboards and belly boats are required to carry the safety equipment as currently mandated under the law, including personal flotation devices. Operators of these types of vessels, along with sailboards, are also subject to follow the navigation rules and operating laws.
Documentation is a form of national registration administered by the US Coast Guard and is useful for boats taken into international waters or other countries. Boats must be at least 5 net tons to be eligible, which is approximately 30 feet or more in length.
Unless the certificate of documentation is valid and available for inspection, no person may navigate with a documented vessel. The vessel must display the official number, the vessel name and home port.
Although they are not assigned an Ohio number, documented vessels must be registered in Ohio and they must display two Ohio decals.
The number assigned is in three parts beginning with "OH" followed by four numbers and two letters.
The number shall:
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.
Registration certificates and decals, including alternative registrations, are valid up to 3 years and expire on March 1 of the year indicated. All decals shall be removed when they expire.
An owner of a hand-powered vessel (for example: canoe, kayak, rowboat, racing shell, rowing scull, or inflatable watercraft) may choose to do one of the following:
You must affix the Alternative Registration decal in one of the following manners:
Evidence of registration is shown by displaying the rectangular tag. Boaters with an alternative registration have 72 hours to produce the valid registration certificate.
NOTE: Do not use this alternative registration method if there is a possibility of ever using a motor or an affixed sail with the vessel. This registration is issued and renewed through any ODNR Division of Watercraft office.