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Illinois Boating Registration

Illinois state law requires the purchaser of a watercraft to apply for a registration and title within 15 days after purchase.

All watercraft, including non-powered and vessels powered by electric trolling motors, are required to be registered and titled in the state of Illinois.


  • Non-motorized vessels
  • Sailboards
  • Vessels that are registered in another state and are operated on Illinois waters for 60 consecutive days or less

Boat Classifications

Your boat's classification is determined by its length and type of propulsion. The class will determine applicable laws, required equipment and the registration fees you will pay upon initial registration and at renewal.

To find your boat's length, measure the straight line distance from the foremost part of the boat (bow) to the rearmost part of the boat (stern), excluding any protruding attachments. Your measurement must be exact.

Illinois Boat Registration / Title Fee Schedule: (Renew every three 3 years)
class type / size new & transfer renew /
A canoes, kayaks,
$13.00 $6.00
1 Under 16' $22.00 $15.00
2 16' to under 26' $52.00 $45.00**
3 26' to under 40' $82.00 $75.00**
4 40' and longer $107.00 $100.00**
Other Watercraft Transaction Fees

Boat Title Search


Corrected / Duplicate Title


Corrected / Duplicate Registration


Duplicate / Replacement Decals


Fees are subject to change. Please verify with the IDNR.

The above fees do not include property taxes or any other applicable fees.

Illinois Sales Tax

In Illinois, boat owners must pay tax on any watercraft 16' or longer regardless of how it is acquired. Even if your boat was given to you as a gift, you are liable to pay tax before you can legally operate your boat in Illinois. This includes boats purchased from out-of-state dealers, manufacturers or lending institutions.

You may contact the Illinois Department of Revenue at 1-800- 732-8866 or 1-217-782-3336 or go online for instructions before submitting an application.

Once Your Boat is Legally Titled and Registered

Once a proper application is submitted with the required documents and payment, you will receive a Title, a Certificate of Registration and two (2) validation decals in the mail. The Certificate of Registration must be carried on board when boat is in use. The Registration number and validation decals must be affixed to the boat. See below for placement instructions.

Numbering Your Vessel

Once your boat has been assigned a registration number and decals, you must display them on your boat correctly. The registration number must be displayed on each side of the bow, read from left to right and in a position to be distinctly visible. The letters and numbers must be of a plain BLOCK design, at least three (3) inches tall and of a color that contrasts to the color of the hull. There must be a letter size space or hyphen between letter and number groups:
Correct: IL 1234 YZ or IL-1234-YZ
Incorrect: IL1234YZ

Validation decals are to be placed on both sides of the bow, within three inches after and in line with the registration number.

Non-powered vessels such as canoes and kayaks are not required to display registration numbers. They are, however, required to display registration validation decals.

Upon renewal every three years, you must remove your old decals and affix the current ones in their place.

How to Renew Your Boat Registration

Illinois boat registrations must be renewed every three years by June 30. You can renew your registration online, over the phone or via any postal service.

Renew Online

To renew your Illinois Boat Registration online, have your registration card and credit card with you and click here. Be sure to write do your confirmation number.

Renew by Phone

To renew your Illinois Boat Registration by phone, have your registration card and credit card with you and call 1-866-TO-RELICENSE (1-866-867-3542). Be sure to write do your confirmation number.

Renew By Mail

To renew your Illinois Boat Registration by mail, click here, print the application and mail it along with your registration card and the appropriate fee to:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 19226
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9226

Replace Lost Registration

A replacement title, registration card or pair of decals may be purchased using any of the options listed above. You must apply to the IDNR for duplicates and submit a $5.00 processing fee.