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Watercraft Frequently Asked Questions

Revised: March 2, 2022

FAQ Index

Questions

Duplicate/Lost Decals or Titles

I have misplaced my watercraft title and wish to sell my boat; what do I do?

Will you be selling the boat to someone who is going to title and register it here in Illinois? If so, you can download the watercraft power of attorney form from our website:

Watercraft Power of Attorney Form

Complete this form and give it to the buyer; it replaces the lost Illinois title.

If you will be selling the boat to someone who will be titling and registering the boat out of state then you will need to order a duplicate title:

Please refer to the link below to apply for a duplicate title. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

I have lost my title; how can I obtain another one?

To replace one which is lost, stolen, destroyed or mutilated (Surrender original title if later recovered)

Please refer to the link below to apply for a duplicate title. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

I lost my registration card; how do I obtain a new one?

Duplicate Registration Card:

To replace one which is lost, stolen, destroyed or illegible:

Please refer to the link below to apply for a duplicate registration card. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

I lost my registration card and have moved; how do I obtain a new card and change my address?

Please refer to the link below to apply for a corrected registration card. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

I lost my decals; how do I obtain another set? I had my boat painted and they had to remove my decals; how can I obtain replacements?

Duplicate Decals:

To replace those which are lost or destroyed.

Please refer to the link below to apply for duplicate decals. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

What is the fee for a duplicate and/or corrected watercraft titles, registration cards and decals?

  • Duplicate and Corrected Titles: $7.00
  • Title Search: $7.00
  • Duplicate, and Corrected Registration Cards: $5.00
  • Duplicate Decals: $5.00

Questions Regarding Applications

Why is my Online transaction still in pending status?

IMPORTANT: Before IDNR can complete your watercraft application process, your supporting documentation MUST be uploaded to your account and then mailed with your customer number and a copy of the receipt page to:

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources - IDNR Headquarters
Attn: Watercraft/Snowmobile
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
Please do not submit an Online transaction if you have already mailed in a paper application.

Have you received my watercraft paper application and is it being processed?

Please provide the microfilm number (example 0022 030 2365) printed on the front of the cashed check or money order made payable to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that was mailed in with your watercraft application. We can locate your paperwork with that number.

Where do I mail my watercraft application?

All paperwork should be mailed together in one envelope to:

IDNR - Watercraft
PO Box 19226
Springfield, IL 6794-9226

To whom do I make my check payable for my watercraft title/registration?

Please make your check or money order payable to IDNR.

I have moved and have not received my title, registration card or decals.

At this time, the paperwork has not been returned to our office by the USPS. Once issued, it takes approximately six weeks for them to be returned. Please refer to the link below to check our postal returns.

Returned Registrations

Or if you need to apply for a corrected title and registration card along with duplicate decals, please refer to the link below. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

How long does it take for my application to be processed?

Approval time for your Online transaction is approximately four weeks if all original, required supporting documents have been uploaded to your account and then been mailed to our office. Additional instructions are located on your receipt page.

I mailed my paperwork to your office last week. Have you received it?

Due to the high volume received in this office, we do not log in mail. It remains in date received order until processed.  Please allow 10 weeks processing time before inquiring about the status of your application. 

Purchasing a Watercraft

I purchased a brand new boat or a boat that was titled/registered out-of-state. What do I need to title/register the boat in my name in Illinois?

Please refer to the link below to apply for a New Illinois title/registration. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

Regulations for New Watercraft:

All watercraft other than non-powered watercraft operated on the waters within the jurisdiction of Illinois shall be registered. All registered watercraft over 21 ft. in length are required to be titled.

State law requires that the purchaser of a watercraft shall complete and submit an application to the Department of Natural Resources for registration/titling within 15 days after purchase.


Tax Notice - Watercraft purchased new or used from manufacturer's, lending institutions, or dealers are subject to tax. Effective September 1, 2004 tax is owed when a watercraft (class 2, 3, 4 and personal watercraft [PWC], i.e. Jet-skis) are acquired by gift, donation, transfer, or non-retail purchase if the watercraft will be used in Illinois. You must contact the Illinois Department of Revenue at (800) 732-8866 or (217) 782-3336 for instructions before submitting an application.


IMPORTANT: Before IDNR can complete your watercraft application process, your supporting documentation MUST be mailed with Customer Number (example ***-***-***) to:

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources - IDNR Headquarters
Attn: Watercraft/Snowmobile
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

New Watercraft Registration Application:

  1. Must surrender the original properly endorsed 'Manufacturer's Statement of Origin' (MSO).
  2. Previously registered or titled watercraft [in another state], you must surrender the original registration card and original title (if titled).
  3. Previously United States Coast Guard (USCG) documented Watercraft transferring to a titled watercraft must surrender a copy the USCG deletion letter and bill of sale.
  4. United States Coast Guard documented with out-of-state registration and wishing to remain documented, please provide the USCG documented paperwork (which should be in your name) and bill of sale.

I purchased a boat that has no hull ID number or previous registration. What do I do?

All watercraft having no valid hull ID number or previous registration are required to be inspected prior to applying for title and registration. Please refer to the link below to contact your local Conservation Police Officer.

District Conservation Police Officer Phones and Emails

I purchased a boat from someone who had it titled/registered in Illinois. How do I transfer it into my name?

Please refer to the link below to apply for a Transfer Renewal of the watercraft title/registration. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

Regulations for Transfer Renewal:

All watercraft other than non-powered watercraft operated on the waters within the jurisdiction of Illinois shall be registered. All registered watercraft over 21 ft. in length are required to be titled.

State law requires that the purchaser of a watercraft shall complete and submit an application to the Department of Natural Resources for registration/titling within 15 days after purchase.

Tax Notice - Watercraft purchased new or used from manufacturer's, lending institutions, or dealers are subject to tax. Effective September 1, 2004 tax is owed when a watercraft (class 2, 3, 4 and personal watercraft [PWC], i.e. Jet-skis) are acquired by gift, donation, transfer, or non-retail purchase if the watercraft will be used in Illinois. You must contact the Illinois Department of Revenue at (800) 732-8866 or (217) 782-3336 for instructions before submitting an application.

Please scan and upload the following documents related to the watercraft:

  1. For previously registered or titled watercraft [within IL], the original title (if titled) and registration card must be surrendered to Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
  2. For previously United Stated Coast Guard (USCG) documented watercraft, surrender a copy of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) documentation issued in your name.
  3. Bill of Sale/Purchase Agreement
  4. Complete Illinois Department of Revenue (ST-556, RUT-25 or RUT-75) tax form and a check payable to IDOR. If paid electronically, please include a copy of the Verification page

IMPORTANT: Before IDNR can complete processing your application, you must mail all supporting documentation with Customer Number (example ***-***-***) to:

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources - IDNR Headquarters
Attn: Watercraft/Snowmobile
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

I purchased a watercraft that was titled in Illinois and one of the owners listed on the title is deceased and the boat was not titled in joint tenancy. What do I need to transfer the title/registration into my name?

  • Original Illinois Title
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • A watercraft small estate affidavit OR letter of office OR an attorney's affidavit
  • Tax paperwork

Where can I go to purchase my watercraft title, registration card and/or decals over-the-counter?

Watercraft title and registration is not available over-the-counter at any Illinois Department of Natural Resources office. All watercraft applications and Online transactions are processed and approved in the Springfield office.

I made a boat. How do I get it titled/registered?

All homemade watercraft are required to be inspected prior to applying for title and registration. Please refer to the link below to contact your local Conservation Police Officer.

District Conservation Police Officer Phones and Emails

Renewing a Watercraft

How can I renew my watercraft registration?

  • Renewals can be completed by phone at 866.716.6550.
  • Renewals can be completed Online. Please refer to the link below. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

I renewed my watercraft registration Online or over-the-phone; will I receive a new registration card and decals?

You will receive a new registration card and two IL decals in the mail within three weeks of renewing.

Watercraft Regulations and Tax Questions

Do I have to title my boat?

Titling is optional for watercraft under 22 feet in length. Registration requirements have not changed. All watercraft powered by machinery (this includes trolling motors) or sail are required to be registered in Illinois.

What class is my boat?

  • Class 1- All powered watercraft less than 16 ft. and all motorized canoes, kayaks and paddleboats regardless of length.
  • Class 2 – 16 ft. to less than 26 ft.
  • Class 3 – 26 ft. to less than 40 ft.
  • Class 4 – 40 ft. and over

How much does it cost to title/register my boat?

Watercraft under 22 feet in length applying for registration only will pay the renewal fee. A $2.00 processing fee will be added to all watercraft application transactions.

Class New/Transfer Renewal Renewal
(With Title)
Class 1$28.00$18.00
Class 2$60.00$50.00
Class 3$160.00$150.00
Class 4$210.00$200.00
USCG New/Transfer/Renewal
Class 2$50.00
Class 3$150.00
Class 4$200.00

Do I still need to purchase a water usage stamp for my canoe/kayak?

The law that took effect on June 1, 2018 repealed the requirement of the water usage stamp for non-powered watercraft. The water usage stamp is no longer available for purchase.

Unpowered watercraft are not required to be registered in Illinois. Unpowered vessels are sailboats or vessels that are paddled, poled, or rowed. You may choose to register your unpowered watercraft.

Titling is optional for all watercraft under 22 feet in length.

Watercraft registration requirements have not changed. All watercraft powered by machinery (this includes trolling motors) or sail are required to be registered in Illinois.

Please contact the site you will be visiting for their specific rules, regulations and possible additional fees or permits.

I have not yet received my watercraft title, registration card or decals. Can I still go boating?

Yes. Please keep the temporary permit copy of the watercraft application you completed or the Online receipt page with you while boating in Illinois until your paperwork is processed.

I purchased a boat without a title. How can I title the boat in my name?

Please provide the IL registration number for the watercraft along with the seller's name(s). If the boat was previously titled, you are required to surrender the original, properly endorsed watercraft certificate of title issued in the seller's name(s) when applying for title/registration.

What equipment is required for me to legally operate my watercraft?

Please refer to the Handbook of Illinois Boating Laws and Responsibilities available at the link below.

Boat Digest

How can I add a lien holder to my watercraft title? How can I remove an owner from my watercraft title?

Corrected Title:

To add, change or remove a lienholder, correct information or remove an owner.
(adding an owner means application must be completed as a transfer renewal)

Surrender the current title properly endorsed

Please refer to the link below to apply for a corrected title. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

Where do I mail my tax form?

Your completed tax form for the boat and motor along with the separate payment to the Illinois Dept. of Revenue must be mailed in with your required supporting documents to the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.

General Questions

How can I obtain the history of a watercraft I previously owned in order to apply for a Captain's license?

To obtain information regarding previous owners, lienholders, etc.

  • Search is subject to confidentiality limitations as determined by IDNR
  • Letter stating you are needing the information in order to apply for a Captain's License
  • Fee is $7.00

Please visit our website in order to download and print a watercraft registration application form. The mailing address is located on the instruction page.

Title Search - Boating (illinois.gov)

How can I find out who owns a boat and if there is a lien holder on record?

Title Search:

To obtain information regarding previous owners, lienholders, etc.

  • Search is subject to confidentiality limitations as determined by IDNR
  • Fee is $7.00

Please visit our website in order to download and print a watercraft registration application form. The mailing address is located on the instruction page.

Title Search - Boating (illinois.gov)

My boat has been scrapped, junked or destroyed; what do I need to do?

Boat Scrapped, Junked or Destroyed

  • The Department of Natural Resources must be notified within 15 days if a watercraft is scrapped, junked or destroyed.
  • Surrender current title, NO fee required.

The owner must surrender the title and such boat will not be registered or titled again.

Please refer to the link below to list your watercraft as scrapped/junked/destroyed. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Thank you.

Online Application System

A customer owes me storage and/or repair fees for their boat. What can I do?

Please refer to the link below:

Abandoned Watercraft Storage Lien

How do I register my USCG documented vessel?

Please refer to the link below to apply. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the call center at 866-716-6550. Watercraft title/registration is not available over-the-counter at any Natural Resources office. Thank you.

Online Application System

To register with Illinois, you would need the following:

  • Copy of the certificate of documentation issued in your name.
  • Rut- 75 if purchased from an individual; if purchased from an out-of-state dealer then you would complete a Rut -25, or the Illinois dealer would complete an ST 556.
  • 2 copies of the bill of sale
  • Tax fee payable to the Illinois Department of Revenue

Can you send me a map of the Mississippi River?

Please contact the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for river maps.

I found a boat abandoned at the side of the road and I want to title and register it in my name or obtain a salvage title.

The State of Illinois does not issue salvage watercraft titles. If you find an abandoned boat, please contact your local law enforcement. Please refer to the link below regarding abandoned watercraft and Labor/Storage Liens.

Abandoned Watercraft Storage Lien