The popularity of paddleboarding has grown exponentially in recent years. On many lakes across the Northland, you'll often see someone (or a small group) either paddling, doing yoga, or hanging out with their pet aboard their board.
The growth in popularity has even led to several businesses like Day Tripper Duluth, North Shore SUP, and SUPerior Paddle Academy offering board rentals, instruction, or paddleboarding experiences.
With paddleboarding being a fairly accessible and reasonably inexpensive way to get on the water, there's been an explosion of paddleboard sales around the Northland and elsewhere across the country.
While paddleboards come in a number of different shapes and sizes all made of different materials, they're all pretty simple watercraft. So simple, you might wonder if they need to be legally registered in the same way boats and canoes are.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources actually recently spoke to that very question in a social media post, explaining what the rules are not only for paddleboards, but for various other types of watercraft.
Do paddleboards need to be registered in Minnesota?
Simply put, the Minnesota DNR explains that all "pleasure craft" watercraft that are more than 10 feet long need to be registered in Minnesota. This includes paddleboards and kayaks, even if they are inflatable.
Cost for watercraft registration is determined by a combination of vessel length and usage category, which I'll get to in a second.
Do paddleboards need to be registered in Wisconsin?
While registration is required in Minnesota, things are different in the Badger State. The Wisconsin DNR's website says that unless it is a sailboat longer than 12 feet, all unmotorized watercraft don't require registration.
This means that not only do paddleboards not need to be registered, but canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats under 12 feet in length also don't need registration.
The Wisconsin DNR does, however, offer something called "voluntary registration" which is an encouraged form registration (that isn't mandatory) for these types of watercraft. The funds from this go to "the development or enhancement of programs or service which provide benefits relating directly to nonmotorized boating activities."
How much does paddleboard registration cost in Minnesota?
The Minnesota DNR's registration fee schedule is broken down by a combination of type of craft, usage, and length of the vessel. While there are a number of different categories for rental watercraft, personal watercraft, and pleasure craft of various lengths, they do have a singular category for most unmotorized watercraft.
Paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and sailboards are within the same unmotorized category. While craft 10 feet or less in length within this category don't require any registration, if it is greater than 10 feet in length, there is a $10.50 registration fee, plus an additional $10.60 aquatic invasive species surcharge (which is charged for all watercraft registrations).
On top of that, there is also an issuing fee, which the DNR describes as follows:
If new or transfer only $8.50, if renewing and transferring $4.50+$8.50. If renewal only or duplicate card and decals: $6.00.
This means that it'll cost you a grand total of $29.60 for the registration of a brand new paddleboard.