Watercraft Licenses

Licenses Required
All motorized and non-motorized watercraft must be licensed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The types of watercraft that must be licensed include, but are not limited to, motorboats, row-boats, sailboats, sailboards, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, rowing shells or sculls, all-terrain vehicles used in the water, and inflatable craft.

Licenses Not Required
Exceptions to this law are as follows:
  • Watercraft currently registered in another state and not kept in Minnesota for more than 90 consecutive days
  • Watercraft from a country other than the United States and not kept in Minnesota for more than 90 consecutive days
  • Watercraft owned by the United States government, except those used for recreational purposes
  • Watercraft documented with the United States Coast Guard. (Note: Documentation is a process where official papers on craft 5 net tons or larger are issued by the Coast Guard instead of state registration
  • A ship’s lifeboat
  • Duck boats during the duck hunting season, rice boats during the harvest season and seaplanes
  • Non-motorized watercraft 9 feet in length or less
Unless a license is issued and in effect, it’s against the law to operate or permit the operation of any watercraft which requires a license.

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