Do You Have to Register a Canoe in Maine ?

Maine has the best sandy beaches and excellent coastal islands. In addition, canoes fill the coastline leaving no space for the ship and motor boats. Is it a must to register a canoe in Maine? This is the question many visitors and locals ask. Here is a comprehensive study on the registration of canoes in Maine with other exemptions.

Canoes with manual propulsion systems are exempted from the registration laws in Maine. The Maine laws define manual propulsion as any vessel that requires human or animal physical strength to move. There is no maximum length but as long as it moves by paddling. All canoes with a motor must be registered under the department of inland fisheries and wildlife.

Main Canoe Registration Laws in Maine

Only canoes with an engine require to be registered in Maine. The same law applies to other non-motorized water crafts like kayaks, inflatable boats, and SUPs.

You must have the operating license to handle the motorized canoes. Or else local harbor masters and marine patrol officers will not spare you.

Anyone at any age can operate a canoe without a motor. However, for motorized canoes, you must be above 12 years. And the engine must be below 10 horsepower. Anything above 10 horsepower can only be handled by a 16-year-old and above.

All powered canoes must have red and green lights on the sides and a super bright master light at the front. The master light must be powerful enough to be seen about two miles ahead in the darkness.

Canoes above 40 feet must have sounding devices like whistles and horns. This rule applies to both motorized and non-motorized canoes above 40 feet. The sounding devices must be audible for 2 seconds, and ensure you always have it on board.

All motorized canoes must have VDS devices that help with signaling. These devices are important in times of emergencies. Make sure the US Coast Guard approves the device before installing them on your canoe. Non-motorized canoes are exempted from this rule.

The Maine boating laws do not allow you to operate a canoe under the influence of alcohol. The blood alcohol concentration must be under 0.08%, and those under 21 years must be totally free of alcohol in their system.

In Maine, wearing a life jacket is not a must, but you must have the floatation devices on your canoe. You must have the basic five types of floatation devices that the required department approves. Nevertheless, the personal floatation devices must be in the appropriate condition.

All registration licenses are valid until the 31st of December on the year you received the license. So it is cheap to pick up the license early in the year.

A registered canoe from another state can operate in Maine for 60 days. You must apply for a temporary registration license when you exceed 60 days.

A motorized canoe from another state that has stayed in Maine for over 75 days must pay excise tax to the residential state. Failure to do so will lead to harsh penalties.

You can register a motorized canoe even without a title. However, it is good to title your canoe, including the non-motorized ones, for legal issues.

Maine Canoe Registration Fees

–       A canoe with a motor engine of 10 horsepower and below: $ 32 (it will include a lake and river protection certificate).

–       A canoe with a motor engine of between 10 and 50 horsepower: $ 38, ( it will include the lake and river protection certificate).

–       A canoe with a motor engine of between 50 and 120 horsepower: $ 45 ( a lake and river protection certificate is provided).

–       A canoe with a motor engine above 120 horsepower: $ 50 ( it will include the lake and river protection certificate).

–       You will be charged $ 1 as the agent fee and $ 2 for duplicate boat registration.

How to Register a Canoe in Maine

The Maine laws allow you to register your motorized canoe online. It is a simple process with onscreen instructions. The system is automated, and the payment methods are electronic. You will immediately receive confirmation that your registration license will be mailed in the next 30 days. On the other hand, you will download and print a temporary registration certificate.


What document do I need to register a motorized canoe in Maine?

–       A copy of the bill of sale

–       A copy of old registration numbers

–       The evidence of sales tax

–       The evidence of the engine size based on horsepower

–     The boat title

Can passengers drink alcohol on your canoe?

Yes, only the motor operator is supposed to be sober. Passengers have the right to drink as long as they do not disturb the peace of the motor operator. However, no opened alcohol bottles are allowed on the canoe when the operator is alone. Manually propelled canoes are exempted from this rule.

Do you need to register a raw boat in Maine?

All manually propelled water crafts are exempted from the registration rules in Maine. Rowboats are part of this general rule. In addition, you will be forced to register the raw boat when you attach the tail motor engine.

Is it a must to have the fire extinguisher on a motorized canoe in Maine?

Here it depends on the size of the canoe. It is not a must for canoes less than 10 feet. For those above 10 feet, you must have a fire extinguisher or any other anti-fire gadgets like the fire blanket.

Do you have to register recreational canoes in Maine?

Recreational canoes are exempted from the registration rule book. However, if they are motorized, then the basic rule applies. But motorized recreational canoes from out of Maine are also exempted.

Wrapping Up

As a general rule, non-motorized water crafts are exempted from registration in Maine. They include canoes, kayaks, and inflatable boats. The registration process is online and easy to use. Moreover, the registration license will be mailed to you in 30 days. Remember that all motorized boat operators must have an operating certificate.

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