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Watercraft Titles


For detailed information regarding watercraft titles, see Chapter 1548: Watercraft Certificates of Title of the Ohio Revised Code.

A certificate of Title is required for all boats fourteen feet or longer, all outboard motors 10 HP or greater and all Personal Watercraft with a permanently attached motor of 10 HP or greater. Canoes, kayaks and boats less than fourteen feet equipped with an outboard motor do not require titles. Documented vessels are not titled in Ohio, but are registered by the U.S. Customs Department.

The general rules that apply to vehicles also apply to watercraft. All fees and taxes are the same.


Personal Watercraft - Jet Boats, Jet Skis, Wave Runners

Effective January 1, 2000, any watercraft less than 14 feet in length with a permanently attached motor of 10 HP or greater requires a title. This description refers primarily to personal watercraft such as: jet skis, wave runners and jet boats.

If the watercraft was owned prior to January 1, 2000, title is required before it is sold, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of.

Contact your local Fiscal Officer's - Automobile/Watercraft Title Division for more information on titling your personal watercraft.


Buying a Boat, Outboard Motor or Personal Watercraft

Before purchasing a boat, outboard motor or personal watercraft, be sure the seller has the Certificate of Title.


Selling a Boat, Outboard Motor or Personal Watercraft

Do not execute the assignment on the reverse side of the Certificate of Title until a bona fide sale has been made. Make certain that the buyer's full name and address is inserted before the assignment is signed. Initials are not acceptable. The signature of the seller must be notarized. The seller is also required to assign the Ohio Watercraft Registration Card to you. No registration is required for outboard motors.

If you do not have Title for your boat or motor and have owned the boat or motor prior to October 10, 1963, the Fiscal Officer may issue a Title to you based on your registration or sworn statement.

If you do not have Title for your personal watercraft and have owned it prior to January 1, 2000, the Fiscal Officer may issue a Title to you based on your Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO), a sworn statement of ownership or Bill of Sale. 


Transfer of Title

Your title will be issued to you by the Fiscal Officer's office regardless of the location of the boat. Do not accept the title from the seller until his signature has been notarized and your name is shown as buyer.


Transferring a Boat from Out of State

Boat laws vary greatly from state to state. It is recommended that you contact our office to be certain you have the proper paperwork in order to convert to an Ohio title. A boat coming from outside of Ohio does not need to have an out of state inspection before an Ohio title can be issued.


Watercraft Duplicate Titles

If the original title is lost, stolen or destroyed, you may obtain a Duplicate Certificate of Title. If after issuance of the Duplicate, the Original is recovered, it must be returned to this office for cancellation.


Watercraft Registration

To renew or to apply for a new Watercraft Registration you must present your Certificate of Title to the Boat Registrar.


Watercraft Serial Numbers

If there is no manufacturer's serial number, or if the manufacturer's serial number has been removed, a serial number must be affixed to the boat or motor before a Certificate of Title can be issued. Application for a serial number is made to the Division of Watercraft. Forms may be obtained at your County Fiscal Officer's office.


Watercraft Hull Identification Number

If there is not a Manufacturer's Serial Number or Hull Identification Number (HIN) on your watercraft, a serial number must be affixed to the boat or motor before a Certificate of Title can be issued. Application for a serial number is made to the Division of Watercraft on a form which can be obtained from our office.

Federal Boating Acts require all boat manufactured after November, 1982 to show a Hull Identification Number of not less than 12 characters.

A watercraft constructed before November 1, 1972, shall have a HIN assigned to it by the Chief of the Division of Watercraft at the time of registration, at the time of application for title, after transfer of ownership or at the time of change of state to this state as the principle location of operation.

Boat Trailers and Utility Trailers

A Certificate of Title is not required on any Boat Trailer/Utility Commercial Trailer weighing LESS THAN 4,000 pounds. To obtain license plates you must procure a weight card from the License Bureau and have the trailer weighed.

Late Filing Fee

Title must be issued in your name within 30 days of the date assigned to you to avoid an additional $5.00 fee.