Do You Have to Register a Canoe in Texas ?

Texas is considered a mixed bag of dry and wet regions. You can always come across a few rivers and lakes. These water bodies support recreational activities like canoeing and kayaking. People travel from all over the world to this state to enjoy the hot but cold rivers. Nevertheless, the question of you having to register a canoe in Texas is challenging.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages canoe registration laws. The general rule state that all canoes and kayaks without an engine are exempted from registration. However, all canoes above 16 feet must be registered, even non-motorized. On the other hand, you must have a boating education to operate the motorized canoe.

Major Canoe Registration Laws in Texas

All non-motorized canoes under 16 feet in length are exempted from the registration process. If you choose to motorize your canoe, then take the time and apply for a registration certificate from the parks and wildlife department.

On the 1st of September 1993, the state decided to enforce the rule on boating education. Everyone born after this date must have an operating license from the Parks and Wildlife Department. It is a short course that gives you the required skills for paddling and operating motorized vessels.

Anyone below 13 years cannot operate a motorized canoe and boat-like vessel unless an adult is on the vessel. In addition, the adult must have the boating certificate and the registration certificate.

You must display the registration number on the sides of the canoes. All registration numbers must be about 3 inches high and in bold with shiny color.

Ensure you get the titling certificate for your motorized canoe. Titling is essential for motorized vessels in Texas. The titling process goes hand in hand with the registration process.

The registration certificate expires after 2 years, and you must renew the certificate in the appropriate period.

You should note that nobody is allowed to operate a motorized or non-motorized canoe under the influence of alcohol. This is one of the common rules while registering your canoe.

Remember that voluntary registration is also allowed as long as you provide the necessary documents.

What are the Required Documents to Register a Canoe in Texas ?

Only motorized canoes must have the registration certificate. And here are the documents you must submit while submitting the application forms at the parks and wildlife department.

  • The trolling engine receipt
  • An affidavit from a recognized lawyer stating the sole purpose of the vessel
  • The bill of sale
  • A copy of personal identification documents
  • Builders certificate

How to Register a Motorized Canoe in Texas

Step 1. Download the application form from the Parks and Wildlife Department’s website. Fill in the blank spaces with appropriate and correct information. Include the manufacturer’s order number if the canoe is new.

Step 2. You will find all required documents on the official website. Ensure you attach the necessary documents before mailing them to the parks and wildlife department.

Step 3. Pay the registration fee online and download the receipt. Print it and attach it to the application form.

Step 4. Mail the documents to the Parks and Wildlife Department. The Covid-19 pandemic led to eliminating the personal appointments. Wait for three weeks, and you will be mailed the registration certificate and the titling document.

Rules on Displaying the Registration Number on a Motorized Canoe in Texas

  • You must display the registration number on both sides of the canoe
  • Ensure the decal number takes about three-quarters of the front part of the vessel
  • The display must be about three inches high and in blocked format
  • Remember to display it from left to right for easy identification
  • The color of the numbers must go in hand with the background. Whereby it must contrast with the color of the canoe
  • Ensure you separate the letters from the numbers using a hyphen. Moreover, the hyphen’s width must equal the width of the letters.


Can you replace a lost registration certificate in Texas?

Yes, you can as long as the Parks and Wildlife Department confirms the decal number in the system. You will be required to pay the replacement fee, which is somehow higher than the registration fee.

Just download and fill in the replacement form, then mail it to the appropriate department. It will take two weeks to receive your replacement certificate.

What are the registration charges for canoes and other motorized vessels in Texas ?

The amount of the registration fee depends on the size of the vessel. Below is a summary of common vessel sizes.

  • Any motorized vessel less than 16 feet: $ 35
  • Any motorized vessel above 16 feet but does not exceed 26 feet: $ 55
  • Any motorized vessel above 26 feet but does not exceed 40 feet: $ 110
  • Any motorized vessel above 40 feet: $ 150

Do you have to register a fishing boat in Texas ?

Of course, yes, it is necessary under the Parks and Wildlife Department. However, a fishing boat must have an extra certificate from the Natural Resources Department. This fishing certificate allows you to extract the resources from the Texas public waters. Ensure you fish according to the fishing schedule on the public board.

What vessels are exempted from the Texas registration laws ?

Here are the main vessels exempted from the registration rules:

  • Non-motorized canoes and kayaks below 16 feet in length
  • Oared
  • Windblown vessels below 14 feet
  • Rubber rafts
  • Punts
  • Rowboats

Wrapping Up

In Texas, registration of a canoe depends on the size and motorization. All canoes less than 16 feet are exempted from this process. But all motorized vessels, including canoes less than 16 feet, must obtain a registration certificate from the Parks and Wildlife Department. Display the decal number on your vessel, and you will never receive a ticket from an officer.

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