registering kayak in Illinois

My family is moving to the Peoria, IL area soon. I’ve heard that I need to register my kayak there. I’m assuming I can go to the DNR website and do this possibly? Do you actually have to place something on the kayak (ie numbers, etc.) Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Oh boy, fresh meat
Here in the great state of Illinois you will have to register anything that floats (including drift wood). You do not need to put the number on canoes or kayaks. However you DO need to display the decal they give you. It is not much. I think it is less that $15 for a 3 year sticker.

There are several people on from the Peoria and Bloomington area. I am in Springfield about an hour down state for Peoria. You will have to get use to the phrase “Down State”. It refers to any place outside of Chicago.

You will automatically become part of the dreaded Illinois paddling conspiracy lead by Cooldoc, Yanoer, Bruce, Dale194, Bohemia, Little Red, ShermanPeabody and many others . I’m just the mascot.

Anyway welcome. We will all have to get together for a paddle when you are settled in.

I forgot . . .
Yes you can get the form from the DNR web site. In Illinois you also need to have a title for all boats. If you do not have one (most states do not issue titles for boats) Just tell them you moved from a state with no titles and they will issue one.

They only have 3 people answering phones for the whole state so it is had to get through by phone sometimes. But all info should be on their site.

Again, welcome hope we can all meet some time.


Illinois Registration
You will have to have either a ‘Certificate of Origin’ showing where the boat came from (in the case of buying from an Illinois dealer) or another states boat registration papers, or a bill of sale from a store where the boat was purchased, if from out of state. If you are moving from out of state and have none of the above sometimes a letter stating boat was purchased in your home state before you actually moved to Illinois will suffice, as Illinois may try to get you to pay Illinois sales tax, as they do when an Illinois resident has purchased a boat from anywhere out of state. It gets to be an even bigger hassle If the boat in question is 16’ or over (only on registration of a newly aquired boat if by an Illinois resident, you need a state tax form ST-556). I think when you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get an Illinois drivers license you can also get the paperwork done to register your boats, which makes it easier to convince the state you just moved here WITH a previously bought boat. The registration fee is $13/first 3 years, and renewal is $6/every 3 year period after that. No #'s are require unless a gas engine is involved, but a boat decal is and you recieve this upon registration. I always cut the white box from around the state emblem on the sticker, leaving about 1/8" border around the emblem, looks much ‘cleaner’ and I’ve yet to be hassled in 16 years for doing so by any (state or fed conservation) officer. good luck and welcome to the fine state of Illinois. And by the way, don’t believe any of those darn northern paddlers… ALL the good paddling is in southern Illinois, primarily around Carbondale!

Stickman – what if the sea kayak was…
…a gift, bought by someone else out of state, and gifted as either new or used. Let’s say, it is an older kayak that someone’s father owned, bought in a state where registrations are not required, so no records, chucked the sales receipt, and after two years of paddling, said, “Heck, I never use this thing. Here, son of mine, take my lightly used sea kayak. It’s all paid for and I want you to enjoy it.”

??? State of IL says ???

Illinois boating registration law
and exceptions

If I am
reading that right it said you do not need to register a canoe or kayak in Illinois.

THAT IS WRONG. YOU MUST REGISTER THEM. You do not have to display the numbers but must have the decal displayed on the boad.

you are reading it wrong but you are
right, You must register your boat except for the exceptions


A canoe or kayak owned by a non-profit organization

A non-powered vessel operated on a private lake

A vessel owned by the federal or state government

Vessels properly registered in another state and using Illinois waters for less than 60 consecutive days

Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard and using Illinois waters for less than 60 consecutive days

If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is registered and numbered.

I missed the “owned by a non-profit organization”


Guess I’ll have to avoid paddling in
Illinois, Texas doesn’t register paddle craft. The Parks and Wildlife floated that one late last year and got beat over the head by more than a few dead fish.

Don’t drop your soap
In IL, they tax you every chance they get.

(Fortunately my boat has out-of-state tags)

Hey Cooldoc…
How’s it going? Usually I recommend a letter of explanation to I.D.N.R. about the handover from one party to another, whether bought used or handed down. I told one fellow to ‘suggest’ he found the kayak at a yard sale, and that worked. I guess it all comes down to who handles it on the state level and just how good/bad a day they may be having. You have to be careful, as the 12 digit serial number does indicate where and when it was made. So when are all you ‘northern’ boys/girls coming down to paddle my neck of the woods?

Guess if you float the Mississippi or
Ohio in a paddle craft and don’t have proof of registration, you need to stay near the opposite side of Illinois.

The boat must be registered

– Last Updated: May-15-06 6:29 AM EST –

no matter where you got it.

To obtain a registration for an untitled kayak or canoe that was a gift or that does not have a statement of origin all you need is a notarized affidavit stating that the boat belongs to you. Or a receipt from the person you bought it from.

They don't care about the personal history of the boat they just want their money.

Just like driving a car with no plate the boat can be confiscated untill proof of ownership is provided. The fine for unregisterd watercraft in PA and Ohio is 50.00 so I would think it's the same in Illinois.

Stickman how's it going? I believe I bought my Magic from you a few years back....Boat still looks better then new.

I’ve heard the fine in Ohio for paddling a non-registered craft is $90. You said $50. Wonder which is correct? I didn’t see any info about that on the ODNR website but could have missed it. Anybody know for sure?

out-of-state visitors?
I am curious about the exception line:

"Vessels properly registered in another state and using Illinois waters for less than 60 consecutive days


Wisconsin does not require registration on canoes or kayaks unless a motor is mounted.

Minnesota does require registration. Including out-of-state tourists. Must confess, I have never had a problem myself. But I do know friends who have had their canoe stopped and inspected for everything, including milfoil.

Wow you are correct Ohio fine for
unregistered watercraft is 100.00

Operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs

First offence…3 mandatory days in jail, 150.00 fine

NT, thanks for checking
I didn’t know it had gone up.

yeah, Donna used to get drunk when…
…it was only a day in jail.

Ashamed of the state of my birth…
and proud to have paddled two fine Illinois streams in a non-registered boat. Live free!