Home > Destinations > Kayaking Destinations > Do I Need To Register My Kayak Or Canoe in PA (Pennsylvania)?

Do I Need To Register My Kayak Or Canoe in PA (Pennsylvania)?

Mark Armstrong
Updated on:
- If you buy via a link on this page, we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you. Learn more
- Read our review guidelines

You may or may not have to register your kayak or canoe in Pennsylvania, as it depends on various factors. However, there are certain circumstances and locations that will require you to have a PA kayak registration.

So how do you know if you need to register your kayak or canoe in PA? Well, we’ve gone over the details to give you a clearer picture of what the rules are.

Am I Required To Register My Kayak In Pennsylvania?

State Parks

If you plan to paddle in Pennsylvania state parks or state forests then you are required by state law to have registered your vessel. This includes all kayaks, canoes and small boats, whether they’re motorized or not.

After registration with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission you will be provided with decals that then must be displayed on either side of the hull of your kayak or canoe.

To register your craft you need to mail in your application. But you can apply in the Commission offices for a temporary registration while your application is being processed. The temporary registration means you can get out in your boat straight away.

Launch Permits

However, for non-motorized boats, you also have the option of purchasing a launching permit. You can choose either a one year permit or a two year permit and they can be purchased online or at a designated issuing agent. You can also obtain a permit from Fish and Boat Commission offices throughout the state and from state park offices.

Fishing Sign - GuidePin

It is also required that you abide by the Pennsylvania Boating Regulations, including the law that every person in your craft must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) between November 1st and April 30th.

Children under 13 are required to wear one at all times.

Motorized Boats

If your kayak, canoe or other craft has a motor installed then it will need to be registered with the Fish and Boat Commission. This is regardless of where you plan to use it.

Registrations are valid for two years and the fees depend on the length of your vessel. Launch permits that are available to non-motorized boats are not available for any vessel with a motor.

Kayaking, canoeing and boating in PA

In Conclusion

Depending on where you want to get on the water and the type of craft you have, you may not need a registration. However, you’ll probably find that if you like to explore a lot, having a registration can be useful for accessing a wider range of lakes and rivers.

Remember, if you have a motor on your boat you will need to register it. If you have experience with this at all, feel free to leave us a comment. And if you’ve enjoyed this article or think others could benefit; share it.

Other resources:


Do I Need To Register My Kayak Or Canoe in PA - Pinterest ImagePin

6 thoughts on “Do I Need To Register My Kayak Or Canoe in PA (Pennsylvania)?”

  1. I bought a kayak last fall from someone, and I don’t remember getting any paperwork with it. It had a registration tag good for 2021. I went to get a new sticker this year, and I was told I need to know the year, the model, etc. How can I find out the year so that I can get my kayak sticker for this year?

    • There should be a little tag on the end of the kayak that displays the serial number. Just Google that and the info should pop up.

  2. I think it is crazy that this necessary to go out in a kayak. They make paddle boarders do this too? Ridiculous


Leave a Comment