PA vs. OH Canoe registration


I am a new canoe owner from PA who is planning a trip across the border to Salt Fork Creek SP in Ohio. I THINK I understand the convoluted registration system here in PA: registration (numbers displayed) or a launch permit required in State Parks and state-regulated waterways. Nothing(?) elsewhere in PA. Is this right? We just got our canoe last fall and have only put in at a county park so far, so we have not dealt with registration yet.

Anyway, I called the marina in the SP in Ohio to ask what is required there. Apparently, OH requires that canoes and kayaks be registered, but honors the rules of your state of origin (according to this guy anyway), as long as you can prove residency if they stop you on the water. Otherwise, he says you are in for “an ordeal.”

While it is technically true that PA does not require canoe registration, if I were in a SP here I would at least need a launch permit, which of course do not exist in OH… It sounds like this lake has a lot of powered craft (and thankfully, large no wake zones) so enforcement sounds likely. Can I risk playing dumb and carrying my driver’s license, or should I hurry up and register my canoe in PA? Thanks.

If you have a DCNR launch permit
for PA, Ohio will honor as a reciprocal. I paddle in OH on occasion and this is sufficient.

ODNR doesn’t know what the…
…other states restrictions are and would not be permitted to enforce them anyway. Carry out of state id and you are good to go.

I doubt you will be hassled
I paddle at Salt Fork weekly for years. Have only been asked to show registration once. Bring your PA driver’s license. Salt Fork is a nice place. There is some ski-boat traffic in the deeper sections, and weekend afternoons on those sections are moderately crowded. But there are lots of long meandering fingers that are no wake zones, and outside of the weekend, it doesn’t get much boat traffic at all. It is easy to find solitude there. If you like history, get this book to learn about the lake’s past. It contains a few GPS coordinates to old cemeteries, old house foundations and other stuff.

And there’s a cameo shot of my kayak in it:

Thanks for the info
Sounds like I should be alright. And thanks for the specific info on Salt Fork. We’re going to be camping, and will put in at the campsite spot which is just on the edge of the Southeastern no wake zone.

That book looks interesting, it seems like there’s one for every town, neighborhood and park in that series, and they usually have pretty great images. We’ll definitely check out the farm house We’re heading up for a long weekend, but will probably do a lot of our paddling on Friday, which ought to be better than Saturday for lake traffic.

Thanks again.

I agree…
simply carry your PA drivers license and you will be fine. There are numerous Bald Eagles and Ospreys that are frequently seen on the lake. PUDDLEFISH! Have you no shame!


My understanding is that Ohio does
not require registration for non-residents paddling in Ohio. Apparently they realized early on that requiring registration for visitors would only deter what little tourism they enjoy.

it’s a lot like…
…car registration: if you are legal at home, you’re legal in Ohio.