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PA Unpowered Boat Registration

PA Unpowered Boat Registration & Permits

Unpowered boats without motors such as certain kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sailboats, rafts or inflatable boats using Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) Access Areas to Ohio River Water Trail must display an official and valid:

  • Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Registration,
  • Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Use (Launch) Permit, or
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of State Parks Watercraft Launch or Mooring Permit.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Registration

PFBC boat registrations renew on a 2-year cycle and expire on March 31 of the 2nd year. The two-year registration fee is $18.00. A registration card and two validation decals are issued. The certificate of boat registration is your registration card and must be on board the boat during operation. The certificate also shows the boat registration number that must be displayed on the boat. The Pennsylvania registration number, issued with the original certificate of boat registration, remains with the boat as long as it is registered in Pennsylvania. It is the boat owner’s responsibility to purchase the numbers and letters to display the registration number on the boat. The registration number and validation decal are placed on the bow of the boat. No other number may be displayed on either side of the bow. These numbers may not be removed, altered, tampered with or defaced, except by the owner or representative.

Documented vessels, as well as kayaks, sculls, sailboards and other low-volume boats of similar design, are exempt from the display of numbers, but they must display the validation decal. Inflatable boats may carry their numbers and validation decal on boards lashed to each side of the bow. Canoes are not exempt and must display the numbers and the decal. Application for Pennsylvania Boat Registration - www.fish.state.pa.us/boatreg.pdf. For further information, please visit the PFBC website registration page.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Use or Launch Permit

The PFBC permit is an alternative to the PFBC boat registration. A one-year Permit is $10 and a two-year permit is $18. An unpowered boat may have a registration or launch permit, but is not required to have both. The PFBC does not recognize launch permits from other states. For further information, please visit the PFBC website. Application for the PFBC Use (Launch) Permit [PFBC-769] is available at - www.fish.state.pa.us/images/pages/forms/pfbc769.pdf.  

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Use or Launch Permits are available:

Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of State Parks Watercraft Launch or Mooring Permit

Another option is a launch or mooring permit from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks. The Pennsylvania State Parks recognize PFBC boat registrations and launch permits.


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