Do You Have to Register a Canoe in Colorado ?

Colorado is home to beautiful rivers and lakes. Tourists from all over the globe travel to Colorado to enjoy the warm climate and other physical features. Nevertheless, laws remain laws, and Colorado has strict boating rules. What about canoeing laws in Colorado?

As a general rule, paddling canoes are exempted from registration in Colorado. However, if you decide to add a motor to your canoe, you must apply for a registration certificate from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department. You will receive the registration card and a decal number in your mailbox. Ensure you display the decal number on both sides of your canoe.

Basic Canoe Registration Laws in Colorado

All motorized canoes must have a registration certificate from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department. Paddling canoes are exempted from registration, but you must follow all boat safety rules.

Motorized canoes must also have the ANS stamp from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department. The ANS stamp is an assurance that you will not pollute the Colorado public waters. If you do so, the Colorado Natural Resources Department will punish you.

The registration certificate is valid from 1st January to 31st December of the year you took the card. Ensure you renew the card before the end of the year.

In Colorado, you must provide evidence of ownership before registering a canoe. The officer must see the titling certificate before issuing the registration card.

A non-resident can operate their motorized canoes in Colorado for 60 days. After this period, they must provide evidence of ownership and registration card from their state of origin. They must also apply for a temporary card while in Colorado, including the ANS stamp.

If it is the first-time canoe registration, you must make a physical appearance at the Colorado parks and wildlife department. This is because sometimes they will take your photo to reinforce the ownership evidence.

Ensure you follow all rules of displaying the decal number on your canoe. They must be displayed on the left and right sides of the canoes. And they must be about three inches in height. Ask for the decal number display manual, and you will have an easy time.

The excellent idea is that Colorado has a voluntary registration option. This option was introduced to help with the safety of canoes. Canoes theft levels have gone down since voluntary registration was implemented.

All government canoes and military water crafts are also exempted in Colorado registration rule book. On the other hand, they are only allowed to run in Colorado’s public waters for 60 days. When this period elapses, the associated department has to pay the operating license.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department offers a boating education for 2 weeks for children under 15 years. Adults will only attend the boating education seminar for 3 days. An operating license will be offered at the end of the seminar. You must have this type of license to operate a motorized canoe or boat in Colorado.

The bill of sale can act as the registration certificate for new canoes for 30 days. After this period, apply for the temporary registration certificate. You must always have the bill of sale on your canoe to show ownership.

How to Register a Canoe in Colorado

Step 1. Keep in mind to always have proof of ownership before you start the application process. The bill of sale and boat title are the basic documents you need.

Step 2. Get the application form from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. Make sure you download the correct application form because they differ depending on the type of vessel.

Step 3. Fill out the application form and consider attaching your proof of ownership. Then take the documents to the Colorado parks and wildlife department. Remember to make a physical appearance when it is your first time registering a canoe.

Step 4. You will pay the registration fee once the officer is satisfied with the proof of ownership. After the payment is confirmed, you will be offered a temporary registration card. Then wait for 21 days to receive the original certificate. Please note that the renewal is done online with a few steps.

Registration Charges for Canoes in Colorado

The size of the canoe will determine the amount of registration charges

–       A canoe less than 20 feet: $ 35.25

–       A canoe in the range of 20 to 30 feet: $ 45.25

–       A canoe above 30 feet: $ 75.25


What details should appear in an acceptable bill of sale?

If you purchase a canoe from a private party, the following details should appear on the bill of sale from the seller:

–       The names of the seller and buyer should appear on the bill of sale

–       The signatures of the seller and buyer must also appear on the bill of sale

–       It must have the canoe’s hull identification number

–       The canoe’s model and make

–       And the date of sale

Why is canoe registration important?

Canoe registration plays an important role when it comes to marine safety and transport. It helps to identify water vessels from a distance. Moreover, it is the best way to maintain the marine environment by placing tough regulations. In addition, accidents happen, and the decal number will help to follow up with investigations.

Do you have to register a kayak in Colorado?

All manually propelled kayaks are exempted from registration in Colorado. However, a motorized kayak must have a registration certificate and decal number from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department.

Do all boats require titles to be registered?

Yes, you must provide evidence of ownership for you to register any type of boat in Colorado. Nevertheless, those who choose voluntary registration is not a must to have a title. Just show the bill of sale, and you are done.

Final Thoughts

Colorado is a fascinating state, but the canoe registration rules are tough. Motorized canoes must be registered and display the decal number on the canoe’s sides. Boating education is offered for both adults and children. Always attach a copy of the bill of sale and the title of ownership while applying for the registration certificate.

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