Outdoor recreation can play a vital role in protecting our natural resources. When you register your boat, you do your part in sustaining resources that promote safe and responsible use of our nation's waters. Your registration dollars also help pay for marinas, boat ramps, lake clean up and much more.
The Office of Law Enforcement of the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for regulating the state boating laws of Illinois.
All vessels must have an Illinois certificate of registration and expiration decals to legally operate on public waters in Illinois. Exceptions for the boat registration requirements include:
*Although canoes and kayaks that do not have a mechanical means of propulsion, and vessels that are federally documented do not have to display the registration number, they are still required to display the registration decal.
Boat owners must keep their Certificate of Ownership in a safe place. Note that on the reverse of the Certificate of Ownership there is an application for the transfer of ownership.
The certificate of registration indicates the number that must be displayed on the bow of the vessel. The certificate must be kept on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the boat or PWC is being operated. Registration information must be kept current:
Successful registration results in a Certificate of Registration, physical boat numbers and a decal. Registration MUST be kept on board the watercraft at all times. Boat numbers must:
For example: IL 1234BX or IL-1234-BX. This is a federal and state requirement.
Decals must be affixed on both sides of the boat, preferably to the right side of and within three inches of the registration number. Decals include the month and year of expiration. Only the current decal may be displayed. Please note that non-powered canoes and kayaks are not required to display registration numbers, they are only required to display decals.
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