Do Canoes Need to be Registered in Minnesota ?

The Mississippi river is what describes Minnesota’s public waters. Some other rivers and lakes make the best platform for canoes and all water crafts. Canoes are the dominant vessels in Minnesota because they are cheap and easy to maintain. As a result, Minnesota has set some registration laws to manage this huge number of canoes.

The Natural Resource Department in Minnesota states that all canoes above 10 feet must be registered. This means that canoes 10 feet and below are exempted from registration. All motorized canoes must be registered under the Minnesota Registry of Motor Vehicle Department. You will get a decal number that you must display on the canoe.

Laws to Consider When Registering a Canoe in Minnesota

The general rule states that you must register all motorized canoes with the motor vehicle department. But non-motorized canoes over 10 feet are also supposed to be registered under the natural resource department.

Your decal number will appear in the registry of the Minnesota motor vehicle department. To make it clear, canoes in Minnesota are registered under two departments depending on the method of propulsion.

In addition, you must have the operating license to move a motorized canoe in Minnesota. And the legal age to operate the motorized canoe is 21 years. Anyone at 17 years can also operate a motorized canoe but under supervision.

21 years is the minimum age to own a canoe in Minnesota. This rule is exempted when you inherit the canoe. But you must provide sufficient evidence that you inherited the canoe.

You cannot operate a canoe while you are drunk. Your blood alcohol content must be below 0.08%, or else you will face the law. In addition, those that are physically challenged cannot operate a motorized canoe. But they can work with a paddling canoe.

Non-motorized canoes must have a white lantern, and it also allows flashlights that can be seen from two miles. Motorized canoes must have a bright headlamp and colored lights on the sides. The lights must remain switched on even when you are not moving.

All motorized canoes must have sounding devices, and the natural resource department must approve them. Non-motorized canoes are exempted from carrying sounding devices, but you can have a whistle in an emergency.

In Minnesota, you must have visual distress signals on Lake Superior only. And it only applies to motorized canoes. The rest of the water bodies in Minnesota are exempted from carrying the devices.

The registration card and decal number expire after 3 calendar years from the registration date. This is better than other states that expire after one year or on the 31st of December.

A canoe in Minnesota does not require a title. However, if it is motorized and above 16 feet, it must be titled by the motor vehicle registration department.

Requirements for Registering a New Canoe in Minnesota

  • The bill of sale
  • Evidence of the motor size
  • Engine serial number
  • A receipt to show that the sales tax was paid
  • Manufacturer’s statement of origin

How to Register a Canoe in Minnesota

The registration process is done online in Minnesota. Scan all hard copy documents and transfer them to your digital device like a smartphone or a laptop. Then open the natural resource department website and create an account using your driving license number or national identification card.

After your account is accepted, open the website’s kayak and canoe registration icon. This icon is in the top right corner. Select the type of canoe you want to register and add all necessary documents. Just drag and drop the documents in the spaces provided.

Next, click on submit button at the bottom of the page and wait for a notification after a few hours. On the other end, an officer of the department of natural resources will review the files and will send a payment link after accepting the documents.

Pay the registration fee via the link provided, and you will receive an electronic receipt on your account. Print the electronic receipt because it will act as your temporary registration card. You will get the permanent card in your mailbox after three weeks.


What are the registration charges for canoes in Minnesota?

  • For motorized canoes below 10 feet – $ 15
  • For motorized canoes above 10 feet but less than 20 feet – $ 25
  • For non-motorized canoes above 10 feet but less than 20 feet – $ 20
  • For motorized canoes above 20 feet but less than 30 feet – $ 35
  • For non-motorized canoes above 20 feet but less than 30 feet – $ 30
  • For motorized canoes above 30 feet – $ 45
  • For non-motorized canoes above 30 feet – $ 40

How to renew the registration license in Minnesota?

Log in to the account that you previously used to obtain the registration license. Of course, you will forget the password because three years is a long period. Then open the tab labeled “license renewal,” and you will choose canoe licenses.

Next, type in your decal number, and the system will confirm it. Click on save changes and you will get a notification telling you to wait for a few weeks to receive a fresh registration card. It is advisable to renew the card sometime before the three years end to cover up the waiting period.

Do you have to register an inflatable kayak in Minnesota?

First of all, is the inflatable kayak motorized or not? All motorized inflatable kayaks must be registered by providing all required documents and evidence of ownership. Non-motorized inflatable kayaks are exempted, including those above 10 feet long.

Wrapping Up

Both motorized and non-motorized canoes above 10 feet must be registered. However, the departments for registration differ. Motorized canoes are registered under the Motor Vehicle Registration Department while non-motorized under the Natural Resource Department. The registration process is done online after opening an account on the official website.

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