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Watercraft Information

The watercraft titling law went into effect on January 1, 1964. This law requires boats 14 feet and longer and outboard motors of 10 horsepower and greater to be titled. A title is not generally issued a boat trailer only because titles are not issued to trailers weighing less than 4000 pounds. Effective in 1973, all certificates of origin for boats must have a 12-digit serial number (Hull Identification Number).

Effective 01/01/2000, Ohio law provides for the titling of personal watercraft (commonly called jet skis, wave runners, etc.). A title must be issued for one of these items regardless of length if the motor is 10 horsepower or greater. These vessels are titled as inboard boats. If owned prior to 01/01/2000, a title is not required until sold, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of.

Effective 07/04/2002, Ohio law requires all watercraft to have a 12-digit hull identification number before it can be titled.

An outboard boat and outboard motor will have two separate titles. Inboard or inboard/outboard boats have one title describing the boat.

Paperwork is completed and liens are filed in the same manner as motor vehicle titles with two exceptions:

  • No out of state inspection is needed on a boat coming in from out-of state. If the boat doesn’t have a 12-digit HIN then it must be inspected by a Watercraft Officer through the Ohio Dept. Natural Resources.
  • No odometer statement is required.

Note: Canoes and Kayaks are not titled in Ohio.

Opens in new Titling Your Watercraft (PDF)

Title Classifications and Fees

Original Title

Title issued to a new owner for the very first time and most commonly issued upon transfer of ownership.

Salvage Title

A salvage title is issued when a vehicle is wrecked and/or rendered a total loss in an insurance claim. Law enforcement also brands vehicles as salvage when taking title to abandoned vehicles. Salvage vehicles are not road worthy and cannot be driven on public roadways until they are properly inspected by the Ohio State Highway PatrolExternal link.

Replacement/Salvage Replacement Title

A replacement title is issued when the current title needs to be updated, or if the title is defaced or destroyed. No transfer of ownership occurs.

Duplicate/Salvage Duplicate Title

A duplicate title is issued when the current title has been lost, stolen or destroyed. No transfer of ownership occurs.

Rebuilt Salvage Title

A rebuilt salvage title is issued once a salvage vehicle has been inspected by the Ohio State Highway Patrol office and the inspection report is surrendered to the Clerk of Courts office. Once a salvage title has been converted to a rebuilt salvage title, license plates can be purchased and the vehicle can be driven on a public roadway.

Clerk of Courts Schedule of Fees

The title and miscellaneous fees assessed by this office are prescribed by the statutes and provisions set forth by the Ohio Revised CodeExternal link.

Original Title $15.00
Replacement Titles $15.00
Duplicate Titles $15.00
Lien Notations (with or without memo) $15.00
Repossession Titles $15.00
Leasing Dealer $15.00
Dealer Resale w/Lien or Lien Notation $15.00
Daily Rental, Company and Vendor $15.00
Salvage with Lien (with or without memo) $15.00
Memorandum Only $5.00
Dealer Resale Titles $5.00
Late Fee $5.00
Archive Fee $5.00
Salvage Titles $4.00
Salvage Replacement $4.00
Inspection Fee $1.50
Affidavit Fee $1.00


Opens in new windowTitle Fees and Classifications (PDF)

Titling Your Watercraft

Selling or purchasing a watercraft? Let us help make your titling experience as quick and efficient as possible!

What do I need to know?

  • No person is permitted to sell, purchase or otherwise acquire any of the following in Ohio without an Ohio certificate of title:
    • An outboard motor of 10 horsepower or greater;
    • A watercraft 14 feet or greater in length;
    • A watercraft less than 14 feet in length with a permanently affixed mechanical means of propulsion of 10 horsepower or greater.
  • All boats require a 12-digit HIN.
    If your boat does not contain a 12- character hull, please contact the External linkOhio Division of Watercraft.
  • Boat trailers must weigh at least 4,000 lbs or more to be titled in Ohio. Per External link ORC §1548.03 & External linkORC §1547.65.

What do I need to do to sell my boat or outboard motor?

Seller must complete the assignment of ownership portion on the back of the title in the presence of a Notary Public before presenting it to the buyer. If the watercraft and/or motor was not previously titled, the seller must present proof of ownership to our office and establish an Ohio title in the seller’s name prior to the sale.

Call 614.525.3090 for details.

What do I need to bring to transfer a boat or outboard motor into my name?

  • Physical Certificate of Title
    Dual ownership requires both parties to be present unless a power of attorney is provided. Social Security numbers for all parties are required. Photocopies of title are not accepted.
  • A valid government issued drivers license or identification card.
  • $15.00 title fee*

*add $1.00 fee per notarization. We accept cash, check or credit card payments (with a 3% fee). Please make checks payable to: Franklin County Clerk of Courts.

Opens in new windowTitling Your Watercraft (PDF)

Abandoned Watercraft

How do I get rid of an abandoned boat on my property?

Generally these procedures are used by marinas, storage facilities and repair facilities for watercraft that have been stored or fixed and go unclaimed. If you have found a boat on your property recently, contact your local authorities.

If the watercraft or outboard motor is valued at less than $10,000 and has been left for six months without permission on property you own, you may sell the watercraft or motor at a public auction and recover your maintenance or repair charges, including parts and labor charges and dockage or storage charges.

  • Apply for a title search of the watercraft/motor at the External linkDivision of Watercraft.
  • Send notice via certified mail (return receipt requested) to the watercraft/motor owner and any lien holder or mortgagee.
  • If the watercraft/motor is still unredeemed 45 days after return receipts are recovered, request to have the watercraft/motor appraised.
  • Advertise the public auction.
  • Sale goes to the highest bidder.
  • Immediately after the sale, you must file an affidavit.
  • When you get paid from the sale, you must give the purchaser:
    • the notarized affidavit in triplicate;
    • written confirmation of the value of the watercraft/motor;
    • and the certified mail return receipts.
  • When you get paid from the sale, you must send money not owed to you to the External linkFranklin County County Treasurer.

Note: This is just an overview. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources regulates and oversees the requirements for abandoned watercraft. You may obtain detailed instructions of these steps on the External linkOhio Dept. of Natural Resource website or contact them at 614.265.6480.

Forms and Information

All forms are in PDF format and require either Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Reader to view. You can download the latest version of this software free from Adobe's website.

External linkGet Adobe Reader

Automobile Forms

Watercraft Forms

Out-of-State Transfers

Information Brochures