The Free Boating Encyclopedia


Participate TranslateAbout



The nation's premier boat history report with a full compliment of title search resources. Includes eight maritime databases all rolled into one convenient interface. A must-have service for any prospective buyer, marine lender, or maritime professional.

Visit Now


Owner Background Search

Criminal Records
Assets - Properties
Personal Details

Know your seller!

Sponsored by


Ohio Boating Requirements


BoatWiki - Resources


This summary is designed to inform the boating public about title options, registration requirements, recording methods, record searches, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Ohio. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular jurisdiction. Simply click on the above WikiShare link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.

Registration and Titling

Ohio issues registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered by the Division of Parks and Watercraft in Columbus. Titling is required on outboard motors with 10hp or more. Boat trailer registration is also required in Ohio and titles are issued with the exception of those under 4,000 lbs. which are used for non-commercial purposes.

Registration is required in Ohio for all non-exempt boats over 13' in length. Coast Guard documented vessels are also subject to registration. A complete list of requirements and exemptions may be found by visiting their website.

This state does have provisions for bonded registrations when there is insufficient proof of ownership.

Ohio has procedures for registering abandoned boats if the value is less than $10,000 and it has been left for six months without permission on private property.

There are approximately 593,422 boats registered in the State of Ohio. This accounts for 5.0% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and Marking

Ohio boat registration numbers begin with an "OH" designation which is followed by four numbers and then two letters. These must be displayed on all non-documented boats along with registration sticker tabs. Coast Guard documented vessels may not display the state registration numbers. However they must display the state registration tabs, an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. An official documentation number must also be affixed to a visible interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.

All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "AKZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. Boats must be inspected by a law enforcement official if there is a discrepancy with the hull identification number.

Recording Methods

Ownership on boats registered in Ohio is evidenced by a certificate of title unless documented with the U.S. Coast Guard. In this case the owner is issued a certificate of documentation which serves as proof of ownership.

Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the Department of Parks and Wildlife. These will be shown on both the registration and title certificates when applicable. All titles with active security interests are sent directly to the secured party. Security interests in boats that are neither titled or USCG documented are recorded with the Secretary of State as Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings.

Tax liens may be flagged on boat registration records, recorded as UCC filings, shown on state revenue records, or filed with a county clerk's office. There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims against state titled boats.

If the vessel is USCG documented, a lender's security interest must be perfected by filing a preferred vessel mortgage. These are recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center and priority is attained according to the date filed. Other maritime liens can be filed in the same manner although they function as notifications only. All mortgage and lien filings are indexed on the vessel's underlying abstract of title.

Record Searches

Boat title and registration records in Ohio are maintained by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. This agency facilitates online boat and outboard motor searches but they are limited in scope. Full record printouts may be obtained by an owner or otherwise qualified party by submitting a boat record request form. It is also reported that the registration office will provide telephone verifications on information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand.

Uniform Commercial Code searches are available online from the Secretary of State. However, if there are any suspected state or federal tax liens, it may be advisable to use a public record vendor as they have a much broader access to such filings nationwide.

Ownership, mortgage, and lien search recordings for USCG documented vessels can be obtained by ordering an abstract of title and a copy of the certificate of documentation from the National Vessel Documentation Center.

Taxes and Insurance

Sales or use tax applies to boat transactions in Ohio. Visit the Department of Taxation link in WikiTags for additional information.

Liability insurance is not required for boats operating on Ohio waters.

Operating and Safety

All boaters born after December 31, 1981 must have an Ohio boater education certificate to operate any motorized watercraft over 10 HP.


The information contained herein is subject to change without notice and may contain errors or omissions. Be sure to check with the respective government agency before taking action on any such data. More detailed information about all of these topics can be found in the above WikiTags.

Credits and References

3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.



Vessel Title Services


BoatUS Towing

Float Your BoatWiki

Learn about the role you can play
in supporting the internet's most reliable
source of free boating information.


Stay informed about urgent matters of
boater fraud and the latest changes in
 boat registration or safety regulations.



A Division of Maritime Partners, LLC
State of Washington  USA
© Copyright 1998 - 2023 All rights reserved.