Who Needs A Boat or Launch Permit In PA?

Unpowered boats must be registered or display a launch permit to use a PFBC or DCNR State Park or State forest access. 

Unpowered boat registrations offers benefits over launch permits.  

  • Every state recognizes valid PA boat registrations.
  • Registration renewal reminders make it easy to ensure your boat is up to date.
  • Registration helps in recovering a lost or stolen boat.
  • Information stored in the PFBC's boat registration database is useful for contacting the boat owner and potentially eliminating unnecessary searches associated with unoccupied "loose" vessels.
  • Valid boat registrations help to leverage federal funding for Pennsylvania boating programs. (Federal funds allocated to states' boating programs are calculated, in part, based on the number of state-registered boats.)

Unpowered boats must be titled under the following conditions:

  • Currently titled in Pennsylvania.
  • Currently titled in another state when Pennsylvania becomes the state of primary use.

Once a boat is title​d, it must remain titled by all future owners. Any boat can be voluntarily titled.


Get a temporary registration

Take the completed application, required documentation and payment to a Commission office or authorized issuing agent. You will be issued a 60-day temporary registration that allows use of the boat while the permanent registration is being processed. A boat registration card and set of validation decals will be mailed to you. 

Alternative registration purchase option - Mail an application

Mail the completed application, required documentation, and payment to PFBC Headquarters. Once processed, the Commission will mail a boat registration card and set of validation decals to you. Please allow 60 days for processing. It is unlawful to use the boat until you receive the permanent boat registration. 

Certificates of title will be mailed to the primary lienholder, when applicable. 


Instead of boat registration, an unpowered boat may display a launch permit to use a PFBC or DCNR State Park or State Forest access. Upon purchase of a one-year or two-year launch permit, a 90-day temporary permit is issued to allow the boat to be operated until decals arrive by mail. 

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