Which Boats Require Registration?
Requirements for vessel registration vary from state to state. In Illinois, you must have an Illinois Certificate of Number (registration), expiration decals, and Certificate of Title to operate a vessel legally on public waters. Exceptions to the requirement to register recreational vessels include:
- Unpowered vessels, including canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards
- Vessels 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 (USCG) and using Illinois waters for less than 60 consecutive days
- Vessels used solely as lifeboats
- Vessels registered in other countries temporarily using Illinois water
- Vessels used exclusively and solely for racing purposes
Vessels 21 feet and under in length are not required to have a Certificate of Title.