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Indiana Boating Registration

All motorized vessels, including those powered by electric trolling motors, are required to be registered in the state of Indiana.


  • Non-motorized vessels
  • Vessels that are registered in another state and
    • Are operated on Indiana waters for 60 consecutive days or less or
    • Have paid the current year's Indiana boat excise tax.

Title Your Boat

If your boat must be registered, it must also have a certificate of title. A title is your proof of ownership in case the vessel is lost, damaged or stolen.


  • You bought your boat before January 1, 1986 or
  • Your boat was worth less than $3,000 when it was new or
  • Your boat is home-built for personal use and not for resale

** We recommend that you title your boat, regardless of exceptions.

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.

Boat Registration and Title Fees:

In Indiana, boat owners must pay a one-time registration fee, a title fee, an annual $5 DNR fee and annual excise taxes.

  • Some counties in Indiana charge a surtax.
  • Some boat registrations also include a lake enhancement fee, which is based on the value of your vessel.
Watercraft Registration Transaction Fees
less than 13 feet in length$ 16
13 feet to 25 feet in length$ 18
26 feet to 39 feet in length$ 21
40 feet or more in length$ 26

Other Watercraft Registration Transaction Fees
Department of Natural Resources fee $ 5
Duplicate or corrected watercraft registration$ 1
Replacement decal$ 3

Watercraft Title Transaction Fees
Correction$ 15
Duplicate title$ 15
Hull Identification Number Application$ 10.50
Late fee$ 20
Repossession$ 15
Title$ 15

Boat ExciseTax

If you own a sailboat or motorboat that is registered, operated, docked, or stored in Indiana, you are required to pay the annual boat excise tax.

  • The amount of boat excise tax you will pay every year is based on your boat's age and size and how much your boat was worth when it was new. The value is reduced 10% each year up to a 50% reduction of your boat's original value.

 Indiana Code - Section 6-6-11-10

  • (a) The amount of boat excise tax that a boat owner shall pay for a boating year is based on the boat's class and age.
  • (b) Motorized boats and sailboats are classified for excise tax purposes according to the value of the boat when the boat was new. The amount of excise tax for a boating year that is imposed for a motorized boat or a sailboat and owed by the boat owner is prescribed in the following table:
  • Motorized Boat's / Sailboat's Value When New
    at least but less than fee
    $ 00.01 $ 500 $ 2
    $ 500 $ 1000 $ 6
    $ 1000 $ 1500 $ 20
    $ 1500 $ 2000 $ 30
    $ 2000 $ 3000 $ 42
    $ 3000 $ 5000 $ 55
    $ 5000 $ 7500 $ 70
    $ 7500 $10000 $ 88
    $10000 $15000 $110
    $15000 $22500 $150
    $22500 $35000 $200
    $35000 $50000 $275
    $50000 $75000 $375
    $75000 or more $500

    Registration and Title Applications are Available from:

    • Any tax collector’s office
    • Many marine retail outlets: dealers, marinas, bait shops, etc.
    • Any Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) License Branch
    • The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles website

    Once a proper application is submitted with the required payment, you will receive a Certificate of Registration and two (2) decals in the mail. The Certificate of Registration must be carried on board when boat is in use. The excise tax / 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 two (2) inch space between the letter and number groups:
    Correct: IN 1234 YZ
    Incorrect: IN1234YZ

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

    Upon renewal every year, you must remove your old excise tax decals and affix the current ones in their place.

    Home-Built Vessels

    Hull Identification Numbers (HIN) are the same as Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) used to identify individual automobiles.

    Before you can register your homemade boat, you must first apply for a Hull Identification Number with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

    How to Renew Your Boat Registration

    Indiana boat registrations must be renewed every year. You will receive a reminder by mail approximately 30 days before your deadline. You can renew your registration online, in person or via the US Postal Service.

    Renew In Person

    Go to your local BMV office with your original registration, photo ID and payment.

    In addition to renewing in person at your local BMV office, registrations may also be renewed at select AAA license branches in Marion and Hamilton counties. Residents of Lake or Porter counties may renew registrations at Clean Air Car Check testing sites.

    Renew By Mail

    Send your original registration along with your payment to the address listed. Your registration should be returned to you within ten days. 

    Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    100 North Senate Avenue
    Room 411
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Replace Lost Registration

    If you lose your registration, you can order and print a replacement registration online.

    Replace Lost Decals

    If you lose or destroy your decals, you must apply to the BMV for duplicates and submit a processing fee.

    Replace Lost Title

    If you lose your boat's title, a replacement may be purchased using any of the options listed below.  You must provide a valid, unexpired photo ID.

    Reporting Changes

    You are required to report the following changes to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles:

    • If your name or address changes, you must notify the BMV within 30 days.
    • If there is a change in boat ownership or seaworthiness, you must notify the BMV within 15 days.