How to Register a Kayak in Illinois

by Maeri ClaireUpdated October 25, 2017
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A kayak is a small, motorless boat with one or more cockpits. All kayaks must be registered in Illinois within 15 days of purchase before they can be used on Illinois waters–with the exception of non-profit organization, state and federally owned kayaks. If your kayak is registered in another state or is documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, you can operate it on Illinois water, without Illinois registration, for not more then 60 consecutive days. Registration is also not required if you personally own the body of water in which the kayak is being used.

Complete the boat application provided online by the IL Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This application is used for both titling and registration.

Gather the required documentation. For a new kayak you need the original Manufacturer's Statement of Origin. Required documentation for a used kayak sold in Illinois is the properly endorsed title. Kayaks previously registered in another state require the current registration card and title. Kayaks previously documented by the United States Coast Guard must have the deletion papers and sales receipt.

Mail the completed application along with the required documentation and the registration fee in the form of a check or money order to the IL Department of Natural Resources. As of July 2010, the registration fee was $13.

Watercraft IL Dept of Natural Resources P.O. Box 18226 Springfield, IL 62794-9226

Display your expiration decals on your kayak as required by law. These will be mailed to you. Affix the decals to both sides of the upper forward half of the kayak so they are visible when the kayak is in the water. Kayaks are not required to display the registration number.


Kayak registration is valid for three years and can be renewed online through the IL Department of Natural Resources. Registration decals expire on June 30 of the third year of registration.

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