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Oklahoma Kayak Laws And Regulations

Mark Armstrong
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There are plenty of great lakes and rivers in Oklahoma that can be perfect paddling locations. But staying on the right side of the law can mean a safer trip for you and other water users.

There are various regulations that you should know before you head out boating, so we’ve compiled a short guide to Oklahoma kayak laws to help you prepare for your next adventure.

Oklahoma Kayak & Boat Registration Laws

Without A Motor

If your boat does not have a motor of any kind then it does not need to be registered in Oklahoma. This includes canoes, kayaks and other small boats that are paddled or manually powered.


If your vessel has a motor or outboard motor greater than 10 hp then it will need to be titled and registered with the state of Oklahoma. This can be done through the Oklahoma Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division.

How To Register

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Before you register your boat you will need to have the dealer or the individual seller fill out a Boat or Outboard Motor Serial Number Confirmation, which needs to be notarized. You will also need a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and a completed Certificate of Title application form.

These can be handed in and processed at your local Motor Vehicle Division office.

You will then receive your Registration Number and your validation decals. These need to be displayed on both sides of your bow and your Registration Number needs to be in a contrasting color.

Cost Of Registration

The cost of registering your boat in Oklahoma can vary depending on the original price of your boat, not necessarily the price you paid for it. For new boats the registration fee is 3.25% of the purchase price.

For used vessels the cost is a 35% reduction of the taxable amount per year of the boat’s age. The registration fee is capped at $151.

The titling fee is $2.25 plus a title application fee of $1.25.

Oklahoma PFD Boating Regulations (Life Jackets/Vests)

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Everyone on board a moving vessel must have an appropriately sized US Coast Guard approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device) with them. Adults are not required to wear a PFD while on the water but it must be quickly accessible in an emergency.

Video: How To Choose the Right Life Jacket

However, it is recommended that you wear a life jacket at all times while in a kayak or similar vessel.


All children 12 years old and younger must wear a US Coast Guard approved PFD while on board any vessel that is less than 26 feet in length.

What About Alcohol Laws (BUI – Boating Under The Influence)?

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It is against Oklahoma state law to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You will be considered intoxicated if your blood alcohol level is 0.10% or higher.

The penalties for a first conviction for boating under the influence will include a fine of up to $1000. Second and subsequent convictions, the fine will increase up to $2500.

By boating on Oklahoma waters, you consent to being tested for drugs and alcohol if you’re arrested on suspicion of being under the influence. If you refuse the test it could be used as evidence against you in court.

Other Kayak & Boating Laws in Oklahoma

Do I Need Lights On My Kayak?

You need to have a white light, such as a flashlight, on board your kayak if you’re paddling during the hours of sunset to sunrise. This rule also applies to other non-motorized vessels that are less than 23 feet in length.

For longer vessels and motorized vessels you will need to display red and green sidelights as well as an all-around white light on your stern or masthead.

Minimum Age To Kayak/Boat

Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to operate any vessel with more than a 10 hp motor. Similarly, children are not allowed to operate a sailboat of more than 16 feet in length.

Children aged 12 to 15 years can operate a vessel with a motor greater than 10 hp or a sailboat longer than 16 feet if they have passed a boater safety course and have received an Oklahoma Boater Education Certificate.

As well as the certificate, children from 12 to 15 also need to have direct adult supervision, meaning the adult must be on board and able to take control of the vessel in an emergency.

What About Maritime Distress Signals?

Maritime or Visual Distress Signals (VDS) are required when boating on federally controlled waters but these are not required in Oklahoma. However, it is a requirement on Oklahoma state waters that you carry a sound producing device on board your vessel.

For kayaks and other small vessels up to 26 feet this can be a whistle. For vessels over 26 feet, you will need to have a bell in addition to a whistle or horn.

Wrapping Up

Before you take to the water in Oklahoma, knowing some of these boating regulations can be important for the safety of you and others around you. Keep your PFD in good condition and remember to always have it with you on board – it’s safer if you wear it.

Make sure you register your vessel if it has a motor and always have a whistle and a flashlight with you.

Leave us a comment with your thoughts and remember to share if you found it helpful.

> Read our full kayaking guide to Oklahoma

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