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Indiana Kayak Laws And Registration

Mark Armstrong
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Indiana is filled with kayaking opportunities, from scenic rivers to beautiful lakes, with something for every level. But before you head off for a paddling adventure, you might be wondering about the state regulations.

To help you get out on the water safely and legally, we’ve put together this short guide to Indiana kayak laws so you can make the most of your next trip.

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Probably the most important kayaking law in Indiana is that your kayak has to carry a wearable PFD (Portable Flotation Device) for every person who is on your vessel. This law also applies to canoes.

If you have a child under the age of 13 on your kayak, he or she must wear a PFD at all times while on the water.

If you plan to paddle at night you will also need to make sure that you have a bright white light that is visible from up to 2 miles away. This can either be mounted on your deck or a handheld flashlight.

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Do You Have To Register A Kayak In Indiana?

No, you do not need to register a kayak or canoe in Indiana. However, if you have modified your vessel to include an electric trolling motor then you will have to register it. In this case, you will have to display the registration number decal in a visible location on your kayak.

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If you plan to take your kayak on water in a state park, state forest or a public reservoir you will need a lake permit. These are issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and must be displayed on your yak at all times while you’re on the water.

This applies to all non-motorized vessels, as well as those with motors, and, at the time of writing, costs $5 for a lake permit for a kayak.

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What About Laws For Boats?

All motorized boats have to be registered in Indiana and it may also need a title. But there are also other laws you need to be mindful of when you’re boating.

Video: Top 5 Boating Violations | Indiana DNR

As well as having a wearable PFD on board for every person on your vessel, if your boat is 16 feet or longer then you will also need a throwable Type IV PFD on board.

Operating a vessel or allowing someone to operate your vessel while intoxicated is illegal and you could go to jail. It’s also against the law to tow a water skier or a person in any other activity behind your boat without an additional person on board your vessel to act as an observer.

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Rounding Up…

Safety should be your number one priority when you’re heading out on the water. Most boating and kayaking regulations are designed to improve safety for water users, so we can all have more fun out there.

Remember to get your lake permit if you’re taking your kayak out on state waters and make sure you have the correct registration if you’ve added a motor to your yak. Most importantly, don’t forget those PFDs.

Let us know your thoughts on this and encourage others to stay safe on the water in Indiana by sharing this.

For more information on Indiana water trails visit: https://www.in.gov/dnr/outdoor/4236.htm

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3 thoughts on “Indiana Kayak Laws And Registration”

    • On all DNR operated lakes and Reservoirs you have to have the lake permit sticker and they are $5 for the year. You can get them online or at the star park or resevoir.


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