OH canoe registrations for non-residents

We live in NY and have several canoes. In NY, canoes (and kayaks) do not have to be registered, nor do they need use permits.

From what I understand, in OH, all canoes need to be registered to be used almost everywhere – is that correct? Or just to use their DCNR or state park facilities?

In PA, if I recall correctly, canoes (and kayaks) need to be registered or have a use permit to use the DCNR launches, (but not non-DCNR sites). We seem to end up in PA a lot with the canoes, just not at the DCNR sites.

But, we’re thinking of a weekend river camping trip in OH this year.

Bottom line, do I register our canoes in OH … for one river trip to OH? What do people in this situation normally do?

ohio regs web site

found this on search engine …


Out-of-state visitors to Ohio do not
need to have their boats registered in Ohio. You should be prepared to present proof of where you live. I’ve paddled a few times on Ohio rivers, and have never even been 'scoped by Ohio authorities.

This is correct…
…just like car registration, visitors are expected to

obey the laws of their state of residency. Be advised,

however, that ODNR hates hand paddlers and wants to

drive us off of Ohio’s waters.

ODNR needs to be investigated under RICO.

I really, REALLY dislike ODNR.

They probably know how to hand-
paddle without a boat, but I’m grateful to someone in Ohio for reversing their original position requiring Ohio registration for those coming from non-registration states.

what river were you guys thinking about?

Depends on home state
The way I read the Ohio statute is if you are registered in your home state and can provide the registration certificate if asked by an Ohio enforcer you’re ok if for 60 days or less. See ORC 1547.53.

New York does not register canoes and there is no registration certificate to present if asked, so it seems to me there is no relief but to register the canoe somewhere. A PA sticker on the canoe would probably work killing two birds with one sticker.

This is the same case with Minnesota as many folks who venture to the BWCA discover.

I certainly am not defending the statutes, and don’t think much of them but when I’m out enjoying the day I don’t want to waste my time with enforcers.

NY does have registration requirements for boats, but those requirements allow a canoe as non-registered. So a non-registered canoe in the hands of a NY resident is appropriately registered in Ohio. A driver’s license to prove NY residence should be the most that is needed.

slightly off topic, but
there is now an “alternative registration” for Ohio paddlers that does away with the need for numbers and stickers on the outside of the hull. You must go to a regional office of ODNR and ask for “alternative registration” and show appropriate documentation but you can now get a small sticker to place on the inside of the hull. For years I refused to register some of my boats as I just couldn’t abide trashing the look of a fine canoe with the same size numbers required for much larger craft. Check if out Buckeye boaters.

No Registration needed if from NY
Quoted from Ohio DNR Site:

I will be visiting Ohio and bringing my boat. Do I need to register it in Ohio?

States have a reciprocation agreement about boat registrations, just like with automobile registrations. Just because you drive your car in another state doesn’t mean you have to get license plates for that state.

If your boat is legally and currently registered in the state of primary use (the state that you use it most often) and you are not a resident of Ohio, then you can use your boat on Ohio waters for up to 60 days without getting an Ohio registration for it. You must carry your registration with you onboard the vessel, and you are bound by all Ohio boating laws and rules.

If your boat is not required to be registered in your state of residence, then you need to carry proof of residency with you.

Here is the url to this page:


What Twighlight Paddler said.
Several years ago I called OH DNR and asked if I, as a resident of a state not requiring resistration WV) needed to register my canoes and kayak in OH and I was told that I had 60 days to register in OH.


I learned something today
Thanks for including the ODNR reference in your reply Twilight Paddler. Frank

Undecided, but discussing
Little Beaver, and Little Muskingham (spelling?).

Me too, and thank you! (nm)

Did extensive investigation
For PA and confirmed with the PAFBC and the USACE.

PA requires registration for ANY motorized water craft.

Paddle craft do not need registration, however, if any State Park or PAFBC facility (launch or landing) is used a minimum of a DCNR use permit is required.

If not using any SP or PAFBC facility even at a USACE project, no permit or reg is needed. MOST USACE projects are run by the PAFBC so launches are subject to permit or reg.

At Raystown because we do not use launch facilities no permit or reg is required (on the lake) but for the river trip they are required.

The reciprocity is simply if your state required reg or permit and you go to another state requiring reg or permit it is honored. If your state does not require such and you go to one that does you must get a temp permit. If your state does not require such and you go to a state that also does not require - cool.

Clear as mud.


…you are expected to follow your home state’s

registration laws. If registration is not required

where you live, then none is needed in Ohio.

Carry proof of residency.