How to Register a Boat in Illinois

Illinois is a beautiful state with many lakes and rivers for boating enthusiasts. If you own a boat in Illinois, it's important to register it with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps required to register a boat in Illinois.

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

Before you start the registration process, make sure you have the following documents in hand:

·        A completed Watercraft Registration/Title Application

·        Proof of ownership (manufacturer's certificate of origin, bill of sale, or title)

·        A government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver's license)

·        Payment for registration fees and taxes

·        Original out of state title, if originally titled outside of Illinois in a title state

·        Original out of state registration, if originally registered outside of Illinois in a non-title state


Step 2: Fill Out the Application

You can obtain the Watercraft Registration/Title Application online on the DNR’s Explore More IL website (you’ll have to create an account first). If you prefer a paper application, call DNR at 800-382-1696. Fill out the application completely and accurately, ensuring that all the required information is provided.

You will need to provide information about the boat, including the make, model, year, and hull identification number (HIN). You will also need to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, and phone number.

Step 3: Pay Fees and Taxes

The registration fees and taxes for registering a boat in Illinois are based on the boat's size and type. The fee schedule is listed below:

·        Less than 16’: $38

·        16’-26’: $60

·        26’-40’: $160

·        Over 40’: $210

Step 4: Submit the Application and Fees

Once you have completed the application and paid the fees, submit the application and all required documents to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources office. If you completed the application online, you can submit the application along with credit card payment directly online. If you requested a paper application, you can submit the application along with a check made out to You can submit the application in person or by mail.

If you are mailing in the application, you should send it to the following address:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL 62702-1271

Step 5: Obtain Registration and Display on Boat

After the Illinois Department of Natural Resources office has processed your application and payment, they will mail you a registration certificate and decals. You should display the registration numbers on the front third of the boat on both sides in a visible location just below the gunwale, with the numbers facing outward. The registration number should be at least three inches high and contrasting with the color of the boat. Display the registration decal on either side of the boat, just behind the registration numbers.


Registering a boat in Illinois is a simple process, as long as you have all the required documents and information. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your boat is registered properly and legally. Don't forget to follow all Illinois boating laws and regulations to ensure your safety and enjoyment while out on the water.