PA Boat Registration question

I know many boaters here in Pennsylvania obtain launch permits but this question is for those who register their boat(s).

The regulation states we must carry the registration document card with the boat at all times. Has anyone ever been asked to show the paper registration even with having the current stickers on their boat? (as I would prefer not to have to bother with taking the card(s) for our boats).



Here’s what I did

– Last Updated: Apr-04-06 1:57 PM EST –

I used transparent packing tape and "laminated" the card inside the hull.

But by the time I finally met up with a Fish Cop, he never made it past the now-expired sticker on the outside of the hull to see how earnest I was with the registration card.

I just keep mine in the glove box of the car. Of course, I’ve never been stopped, closely scrutinized, but never stopped. But the tape idea is a good one!

Universal answer
The answer to this question is the same as the answer to many other questions about Pennsylvania.




Good One!
Want to do that(move that is) ! back to family and cottage country in Ontario, Canada but the rest of the family likes it here…

Like the tape idea - but we change vehicles so i know it would be in the “other” glove box !

taped it can’t be in the other glove box
I taped it to the inside the hull with clear packing tape. As long as you’ve got the canoe you’ve got the card.

The tape held up well for over four years till I removed it to sell the canoe. Believe me, it got wet inside the hull many times.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a pic of me from just two days ago:

Pick up a small dry box
Keep your car keys, wallet, ID, first aid kit and registrations and anything else you need in it.

Tie it in.

What fun!
Great album of photos. Looks like you all had a blast. Is the Nova canoe new? I didn’t see many scratches on the hull.

Prospector 16
Yea, it’s new and haven’t spent much time in it yet. But what I’ve done so far I really like. I’ve got to get around to installing the kneeling pads, D rings, flotation bags, etc. She’s naked right now and it just don’t seem right.

Depends on where in PA…
From my understanding, boaters get checked all the time at the Sayers Dam area in Central PA. As for the registration card, I had it laminated, folded it in half, put a punch hole in one end and clipped it to a D ring inside my one pocket of my PFD.

thanks all
You all have some good ideas - It sounds like i should bring the paper along. Appreciate your help.



Just registered my kayak today.
The last thing I want after a good workout on the water is to deal with a legal issue.

I “registered” mine.
This is my 4th kayak over the years, and I finally got the one I want to keep. I got a more expensive model, so I wanted to do what I could to protect myself, and be able to use it wherever I wanted to.

The local PA Fish/Boat commission does patrol the Fish/Boat ramps and launch areas, so I didn’t want to pay any fines.

I actually went the whole route. I got a PA “title” for my Kayak, and I got the annual registration that cost $18.00 every two years.

I felt this was the best route, for me.

My Choice

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 9:50 AM EST –

I strenuously avoid giving any money to the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Instead I opt for the DCNR launch pass. It is the same price, with less paperwork (none of which needs to be in the boat), and gets you all of the same access rights. I feel much better about handing money to a Ranger at a park I use than sending off money to some nameless beaurocrat in Harrisburg.

The other negative to full registration is that you create a papertrail that opens up for the state to demand tax payment on the next buyer should you sell the boat.

I have made my peace with PA's screwed up Commonwealth rules, but I make a point of giving the system as little of my money and personal information as possible.

DCNR limitations
Doesnt a launch permit only allow you to paddle in our own state? what about using army corp of engineer lakes - registration or permit? My understanding is the only easy way (cheapest in the long run)to paddle out of state is to register them - otherwise i wouldnt even consider it! I agree wholeheartedly that i would rather put my money to the parks that serve us well!


PA boat registration
When I lived there a few years ago, I set out to get legal with PAF/B, and I tried to register my boat, a 15 year old MR with the bill of sale long-gone from a long-gone VA dealer.

In short, PA considered the boat stolen property unless I could produce conclusive proof that it wasn’t. They didn’t actually prosecute for GTC, but they did refuse to register it.

I guess things have changed (improved?) some since then, but I don’t have to care. I fixed it by moving.



All The Same Rights

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 10:54 AM EST –

PA goes out of its way to make things confusing.

We non powered boaters actually have 4 options for PA paddling:

Option 1: Do Nothing. As long as you stay off of State Park property and Fish and Boat Commission access points you don't have to have anything with you except a PFD. There are tons of municiple launch sites, county parks, creekside parking areas, etc. 90% of the time I launch at a "no licence necessary" put-in. The power boars tend to flock to the big ramps....and I tend to avoid the power boaters.

Option 2: DCNR Launch Permit. These are available for $10 per year from any State Park office. I usually buy 3-4 every spring. I keep a couple in the truck and throw them on whatever hull I end up wanting to paddle at restricted access's. They make you write a hull description on the paperwork, but beings as they don't ask you to carry the paperwork it doesn't matter what boat you slap them on. Its also worth noting that they require only 1 sticker and replace it, if lost, if you retain your paperwork. As well the sticker is of high quality vinyl and sticks well.

Option 3: Pa Fish and Boat Commission Launch Permit. Cost is $10 per year plus whatever added fee the licensed seller chooses to add. This gives you all of the same rights as the DCNR Permit, but puts your dime in the pockets of the Crick Dicks. You are required to carry your paperwor. The supplied stickers are of low quality vinyl and are famous for not sticking to new/slick boats. If you loose either of the stickers you need to start over with a new set...and pay up sucker.

Option 4: Full Registration with the Pa Fisha nd Boat Commission. Cost is $18 per year plus you need to show proof of tax payment. If you have purchased the boat out of state on not paid the %6 PA tax it will be added to the bill. As well if yoy sell the boat the next owner will need to pay %6 on the used price if they want to continue the registration. On canoes they require 2 issued stickers plus you must purchase a series of 2' letters and number to display your license. They will tell you that this papaer trail helps in the recovery of lost/recovered boats, but when I called them with the hin# on a found boat they politely informed me that they could/would do nothing.

I've lived and paddled in PA for 13 years using options 1 and 2. The few times I have been hassled it has been by PA Fish and Boat Commission Officers. I understand the stress of law enforcement and generally do quite well with armed authority, but these guys have a "I couldn't get into the State Police Academy" Napoleanic Complexes....I'm sure there are a few exceptions, but I've yet to meet them.

you are right
That is correct, and that is why i licensed as well… At the time my girlfriend lived in MD and you never know where you might want to go.

If you merely get the permit as others suggested then you will have to buy yet another permit to go into another state and you might as well have paid to get the license at that point.

Pretty thorough
Pretty thorough synopsis of PA’s muddled registration policies, except for one thing. The $18 registration is good for 2 years.

The Fish and Boat $10 launch permit is new since we purchased our boats, otherwise it’s probably the way I’d go. All of ours have the 2 years registration, and we’ve never been hassled no matter where we paddle.

Your Right
I knew that, but my brain works faster than my three fingered typing method. Thanks for the correction.