How To Register A Kayak Or Canoe In Pennsylvania?


After planning for a while to get out more and spend some time in the PA waters, you have finally purchased your first beginner kayak or canoe. Before preparing for your first kayak adventure, you will probably want to know whether registering the kayak or canoe in Pennsylvania is necessary.

If you are not very familiar with Pennsylvania rules and regulations, PA kayak registration can be daunting. In this article, we will make things less daunting by telling you everything you need to know about PA kayak registration.

Do You Have to Register A Kayak in PA?

In Pennsylvania, registering a small, non-powered leisure craft such as a kayak is not mandatory. This means that you can purchase your touring kayak today and plan an overnight kayaking trip without worrying that you are breaking the law.

However, if your craft has not been registered in PA, you won’t have access to all the state waters. Not registering the kayak will, therefore, limit you to paddling in a few kayaking destinations.

Situations Which Make PA Kayak Registration Mandatory

Now that you already know that PA kayak registration is not mandatory, you may wonder why you would bother yourself with the registration. In some situations, it may be mandatory to register your kayak. Below, we will look at different situations that could make PA kayak registration mandatory.

1. State Parks

If you are planning to paddle your kayak in the state forests or state parks in Pennsylvania, PA kayak registration will be mandatory. The state laws will also require you to register your canoe and small boat, irrespective of whether they are motorized or not.

After registering your kayak, canoe, or boat, you will be provided with decals. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission decals have to be displayed on both sides of the craft’s hull.

2. Motorized Kayaks

If you do own a motorized kayak, canoe, or boat, registration will be mandatory in PA. Regardless of how you plan to use the craft, you will have to register it with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Using a motorized craft in Pennsylvania without registering it could place you on the wrong side of the law.

Situation 3: Using Private Waters and Access Points Belonging to the Fish & Boat Commission

If you are planning to use any lake that belongs to the Fish & Boat Commission, PA kayak registration will be necessary. Also, some private waters and launch sites may only be open to paddlers whose kayaks or canoes are already registered.

Do You Have to Register A Kayak in PA if You Do Not Reside in Pennsylvania?

If you currently reside outside Pennsylvania and you are planning a kayaking camping trip in PA, you don’t have to worry about PA kayak registration as long as the camping trip won’t exceed 60 days. Your home-state registration will be valid in Pennsylvania. However, if you plan on paddling in PA for a period that exceeds 60 days, you will have to register the kayak in Pennsylvania.

Are Launch Permits Available in Pennsylvania?


If you do own a non-motorized recreation kayak, boat, or canoe, you do have an option to purchase a launching permit if you do not want to register the vessel. You will have the option to purchase either a 1-year or 2-year permit.

You can either purchase your permit from a designated permit-issuing agent or on the internet. It is also possible to get your permit from the Fish and Boat Commission. To get the permit from the commission, you will need to visit the state or the state park offices.

If you do decide to obtain a launching permit, you will have to abide by the Pennsylvania Boating Rules and Regulations. Between 1st November and 30th April, the regulations require paddlers to wear a Personal Floatation Device. If you are planning to take kayaks for kids with you, you have to ensure that the kids are wearing a Personal Floatation Device at all times.

The Registration Process

To register your kayak, you will need to fill out the form REV-336. This form is available on the PA Department of Revenue website. You have two options when filling out the form. The options are:

  • Download and print a blank form and then fill it in by hand.
  • Fill the form online and then print it with the information already in place.

After filling the form, you can then submit it by mail. If you have some free time, you can take it to the county treasury office, at any of the PA Fish & Boat Commission offices, or at a Boat Registration Agency that has already been approved.

If you do take the form in person, you should receive a temporary registration form. The form should allow you to start using your fishing kayak immediately.

You may need to provide ownership proof during registration. This could be in the form of the sale’s receipt from the dealer or the kayak’s previous owner. The previous owner’s signature and information on the application form can also serve as proof of ownership.

The registration will be valid for 24 months. The fee you will have to pay is largely dependent on your vessel’s length

PA Kayak Registration Renewal

Near the end of the 24 months, the state should mail a renewal card to your recorded address. All you will have to do to renew your registration is to fill out the card and return it along with the applicable renewal fees. It is also possible to renew the registration online via the Outdoor Store Website. Online, you can pay via your credit card or an E-check.

Globo Surf Overview

If you own a non-motorized kayak, registering it in Pennsylvania is not mandatory. However, if you do want to have the freedom to use all the waters in the state, registration is necessary. If you do own a motorized kayak, boat, or any other craft, registration is necessary, irrespective of how you intend to use your vessel.

PA kayak registration is not a complicated process. Also, it shouldn’t be too expensive. The fact that it gives you access to a wide range of kayaking destinations in Pennsylvania makes it worth both your time and resources.

More Kayak Reviews:


  1. PA Fish and Boat Commission Regulations Applicable to Non-Powered Canoes and Kayaks,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!