It's the Law

All operators are required to obey laws that regulate your vessel’s registration and operation.

Registering Your Vessel

You must have a Wisconsin Certificate of Number (registration) and expiration decals to operate a recreational vessel legally. Exceptions to the requirement to register a recreational vessel include:

  • Sailboats 12 feet in length or less and not equipped with a motor, and sailboards
  • Manually propelled vessels that are not equipped with a motor or sail
  • Vessels registered in another state and using Wisconsin waters for less than 60 consecutive days

The Certificate of Number is obtained by submitting form 9400-193 Boat Registration and Titling Application and fee to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

Visit to obtain the application form. 

The Certificate of Number (registration card) must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated.

The registration number and expiration decals must be displayed as follows.

  • Numbers must be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel.
  • Number must be read from left to right.
  • Number must be in at least 3″-high BLOCK letters.
  • Number’s color must contrast with its background sp as to appear legible.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space at least two inches wide.
  • Decals must be affixed three inches behind (towards the stern) and in line with the number.
Wisconsin Validation Decal