How to Register a Motorized Kayak in Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Florida, California, and Maryland

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: May 1, 2020
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Kayaking is one of the most popular sports in the USA. Some regulations have been put in place to ensure the safety of the kayakers and other people. While the non-motorized kayaks do not require registration, motorized types are supposed to be registered. If you have been paddling your craft and you wish to install a trolling motor, then you must register. The requirements and process of registration vary from one state to the other. Here you will learn how to register motorized kayaks in six states in the USA.

Registration of a motorized kayak in Texas

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife laws, all the motorized kayaks should be titled and registered. For a new kayak, you will need a sales receipt and certificate of origin. You are then required to visit registration offices and upon paying a small fee. You will be issued with a form to fill in the information requested. Once the process is complete, you will be issued with a vessel registration certificate and a license to allow you to fish in public waters. 

If you are purchasing a previously owned kayak, then you will be required to provide a bill of exchange or invoice and the title certificate and then fill in the application form. Once the registration is completed, you will be required to follow all Texas boating laws.

Registration of a motorized kayak in Michigan

In Michigan, the motorized kayaks should be titled and registered for you to be allowed to operate legally on public waters. The proof of ownership should be presented during the registration process. You are then issued with a three-year transferrable registration that expires on March 31st.  The fee varies depending on the length of your kayak. Upon issuance of the registration number, you cannot use it on another kayak.

You will also be given a validation decal that should be displayed beside the registration number. Upon expiry, you can renew the registration through mail, online, or in person. Transfer of ownership can also be done using a titled document or using the registration certificate.

Registration of a motorized kayak in Virginia

Any watercraft propelled by machinery must be registered in Virginia. Thus, you will have to register motorized kayaks. The booking can be made online, mailing, or by walk-in to the headquarters. You will be required to fill in the information giving every detail needed regarding the watercraft.

To register a new motorized kayak, you will need to submit the certificate of origin, sales tax paid, and a copy of the purchase invoice. In case you made the kayak, then the receipts of the materials used and printed pictures of the watercraft should be provided. For used craft, there needs to be proof for transfers to be done.

Duplicate registration, titles, and the decal can also be reissued if the original is lost, defaced, or destroyed. The registration runs for three years, and upon expiry, you will be required to renew. The current registration number and the renewal pin is all that is required when renewing registration.

Registration of a motorized kayak in Florida

If you own and operate motorized watercraft on public waterways in Florida, then it must be titled and registered.  Application is made by filling the form at license plate agent or county tax collector offices. You can register your kayak for a period of one or two years. A window period of 30 days is given upon which you will be liable if found operating it without the registration and titling certificates.

For new motorized kayaks, you will be required to present a certificate of origin or proof of ownership through a bill of sale. All the details must be included in the document showing proof of purchase for it to be acceptable. For used vessels, the required documents vary depending on their previous status. If the motorized kayak is homemade, then it can be registered upon payment of titling fee. An inspection might be required if the watercraft is 16 feet or more in length.

Registration of a motorized kayak in California

Every motor-driven watercraft should be registered before operating it on California waters. Theregistration can be done online, by mail or visiting the DMV offices. The registration fee is standard regardless of the size of your kayak but varies depending on the year of registration. 

The registration number, together with the hull identification number (HIN), should be displayed on your kayak. You are required to put the registration number front left on the right side of the kayak. The color should contrast highly with that of the kayak and read from left to right. The HIN should be permanently imprinted on the kayak by the manufacturers.

Registration of a motorized kayak in Maryland

Just like the other states, any motorized watercraft operating on pubic waters should be registered in Maryland. While operating the registered kayak, you are required to carry the certificate of number and affix watercraft number on both sides of the craft. The motorized kayak must also be titled before the registration process begins.

Upon purchase of a new kayak, you will be given 30 days window period. If registration is not done within that time, then penalty and interest will be imposed. For new kayak, you have to submit the original certificate of origin together with a bill of exchange. Proof of ownership is also required for used watercraft with HIN clearly stated. Initial registration can be done through mail or by walking in the DNR service centers. Renewal is done online, and the receipt printed to carry along when using the motorized kayak on public waters.


All the states mentioned here require you to register motorized kayak within 30 days of purchase. Failure to which there are penalties and interest that will be imposed that vary from one state to another. You will then be required to abide by all laws governing the use of watercraft on public waters. The registration process is straightforward, and you should do it on time to avoid getting into trouble with the laws. 

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