How to Register Boat or Motorcycle in Ohio?

Registering Other Vehicles in Ohio
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Got a boat? ATV? Or, perhaps, you choose to drive a motorcycle.

Most fitting these categories require other vehicle registration in Ohio if you plan to access public roads and waterways. Their registration is about as easy as your car registration, with some differences.

Here’s what you need to know.

If you own a boat, you don’t need to register it with the state. However, if it has an engine or is sail-powered, then you will need to get the registration. All boats must include a valid Ohio title certificate before being registered in any county.

Motorcycle Registration

Motorcycle licensing, like cars & trucks, goes through a graduated licensing program (GPL) starting at age 15 ½. A young applicant will apply for a Motorcycle or Motor Scooter Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).

However, those older deciding to take a motorcycle use can have it endorsed/amended to their current driver’s license. Or as a temporary permit. This is part of the Class M licensing process.

Those under 18 years old will take a driver’s education course when getting their motorcycle license. Those older may want to consider a motorcycle training course, preparing them for a driving test and gaining experience with handling the cycle before taking it on the main roads.

With the licensing out of the way – it’s time to get the cycle registered in Ohio (within 30-days of its purchase or leasing):

  1. Get motorcycle insurance
  2. Have your motorcycle license
  3. Complete a:
    1. Title transfer or lease agreement
    2. E-check (emissions) if applicable
  4. Pay the $28.50 registration fee
  5. Pay any other taxes/fees

Dealerships will provide the state with the cycle’s title. Else, complete a title transfer, get the bill of sale, and pay fees when registering the motorcycle from a sale. Out-of-state motorcyclists will provide their registration and plate details – but largely follow the same process.

ATV and Snowmobile Registration

Snowmobiles and ATVs fall under the “all-purpose vehicle” category.

There are no specific licenses for all-purpose vehicles, as your vehicle’s license takes its place. Those under 18 may drive a snowmobile with an accompanying adult. You will need a title for the APV — $15 fee – submitted to your local BMV. Registration costs $34.75 for three years.

Boat Registration

Ohio requires registrations for water vessels; some require titles (14ft+, 10MPH+), too. Vessels under this requirement include motorboats and kayaks to sailboats and jet skis. Alternative registration is available for vessels without motors, too.

What you’ll need for most boat registrations:

  1. Certified Watercraft Registration Application (DNR 8460R)
  2. Proof of ownership
    1. Boat title
    2. Bill of sale
    3. Title and registration or Certification of Origin
  3. Proof of ID and current driver’s license
  4. Title/registration fees

Registration and/or renewal fees range from $33 – $93 for most vessels. You will pay a $15 title fee and 5.75% tax, depending on your county. These registrations are good for 3-years, expiring on March 1st.


Registering your watercraft is necessary to protect yourself and others while out on the waterways. Different states have registration requirements, so it’s important to research and stay up-to-date with registration laws. Your county may require additional paperwork, fees, or taxes to be considered when registering any vessel.  To stay compliant and legal, you should renew your registration regularly to avoid penalties or fines. It is also important to keep proof of ownership with you while operating the watercraft, as this can be used as evidence in case of an accident. Be sure to follow all local regulations when registering your vessel.

Happy boating!