Do Kayaks Need to be Registered in PA (Pennsylvania)

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Do kayaks need to be registered in PA (Pennsylvania)?

  • Yes if you are registering for State Parks and Forests. 
  • If you kayak has a  motor, register with the Fish and Boat Commission
  • No motor, get a launching permit


do kayaks need to be registered in PASince you live in PA and bought a kayak, you need to know do kayaks need to be registered in PA. Registering a kayak in Pennsylvania depends on different factors. Areas such as State Parks and forests require registration by the state law. For Kayak with motors, it has to register under the Fish and Boat Commission, and for non-motors, it has an option to buy the launching permit for either one or two years.

I talked about the Invasive Species sticker required in my home town in Southern Idaho in this post. It only cost $7 per year so it isn’t that big of a deal. It also helps to stay compliant and keep the local Sheriff from giving us a fine if we don’t have it. I think the money paid goes to a conservancy.


State Parks

To paddle in the Pennsylvania State parks and forest, vessels like kayaks, small boats or canoes, whether motorized or non-motorized require registration. It is mandatory with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. After the registration process is done, you’ll receive a decals sticker. The sticker needs to be on display on the side of the Kayak.

For registering a watercraft, you will need to forward an application via mail. Alternatively, you can also apply for temporary registration in the commission offices while your request is still under process. This will allow you to use the boat directly.


Non-motorised boats

For a non-motorised option, you’ll need to purchase a launching permit. You have an opportunity to either get a one-year permit or two-year permit. Launching permits are applied online or through a designated agent, or it can also obtain from the Fish and Boat Commission offices in the whole state and state park offices.

It is required to follow Pennsylvania Boating laws and regulations strictly. All the paddlers in the craft must put on a Personal Floating Device from November 1st till April 30th. And all children below 13 are required to put on the life jacket.


Motorised Boat

Kayak installed with a motor need to be registered under the Fish and Boat Commission regardless of where to use it.


Boats that require registration:

  • Boats that are powered by diesel, gasoline or electric motor
  • Vessels for recreational activities approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Approved vessels are big pleasure crafts, such as yachts.
  • Sailboats that are powered by diesel, electric motors or gasoline for auxiliary power


According to the Commission, the term boat defined as “Every description of waterborne vessels sold or constructed for the main purpose for using as a mode of transportation on water.”

It does not include surfboards and similar nonpowered devices used as swimming aids and commercial craft which is subject to inspection requirements and Federal manning.


Renewing Registration

do kayaks need to be registered in PAFor renewal registration, it is applied online. The registration is done at The Outdoor Shop online by paying a fee of $2 for each boat. After registration, a mail is forwarded to the given address registered on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The boat will only be registered after that.  For a new registration, it cannot be registered on The Outdoor Shop online.


Pennsylvania is the hotspot for kayakers. It is blessed with ample of rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. To paddle on state parks and forests of Pennsylvania, it needs registration. For paddling on the state, it is not necessary to register; however, a registered Kayak will help avoid legal sanctions.


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