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It's the Law

Other Facts About Titling and Registering


All vessels 17 feet long or longer must have a title when purchased new, transferred, or a lien exists against the vessel. Inflatables, kayaks, and canoes are exempt from titling.

A Registration Certificate is valid for three years and expires on April 30th of the last calendar year of the registration period. Owners of vessels that have been registered previously may be sent a renewal notice to their residence.

If a numbered vessel is abandoned or destroyed, or if the owner’s address or name is changed, the owner must notify the County Recorder within 10 days of the event.

If you lose or destroy your Registration Certificate or decal, you must apply for a duplicate and pay a $1.00 duplicate fee, a $1.25 writing fee, and a $1.50 administrative fee.

A vessel that has an expired registration certificate may be registered in Iowa when the owner submits the proper application, payment of all applicable registration and writing fees, and payment of a $5.00 penalty.

Larger recreational vessels owned by U.S. citizens may (at the option of the owner) be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. Call the USCG at 1-800-799-8362 for more information. Documented vessels also must be registered and display only the registration decals.

Couple on PWC