Watercraft and Recreational Vehicle Requirements

This page contains title and registration requirements for mopeds, recreational vehicles, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and watercraft; and information about use of Michigan waterways by owners of watercraft registered in another state.


Moped are not titled but must be registered. Three-year sticker expires on April 30. Mopeds may be operated on streets; drivers must be at least 15 years old and licensed. Moped must be registered as an ORV if used off-road. Registration must be renewed upon transfer of ownership. Helmet use required if under age 19. See registration fees.

Off-Road Vehicles

Also known as off-highway vehicles, this classification includes off-road motorcycles, three-, four-, and multi-wheeled all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs), air (hovercraft) and tracked ATVs, and off-road utility vehicles. All ORVs must be titled. Any on-road vehicle may be registered as an ORV. Dual registration is permitted. One-year ORV license is issued by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expires March 31. Fee- $16.25. If used exclusively on private property, an ORV may not require an ORV license.

Recreational Vehicles

All trailer coaches, travel trailers, 5th-wheel trailers, pop-up campers, and all trailers over 2,500 lbs. must be titled and registered. Pickup camper units are titled only. Title Fee - $15.00. Registration Fee - Based on empty weight.


Snowmobiles are not titled but must be registered unless used exclusively on private property. A registration decal is issued showing registration number and three-year expiration date; expires September 30. 


Title: All watercraft with an inboard engine or length of 20 feet or greater must be titled. Proof of ownership required with title application. Fee - $5.00.

Registration: All sailboats and motorized watercraft must be registered. Hand-powered watercraft over 16 feet are also registered. A three-year transferable registration is issued which expires on March 31. The permanent registration number consists of the letters "MC" followed by four numbers and two letters. A validation decal is issued upon registration for display beside the registration number. Fee - Based on length. Sailboat Registration Fee - $9.00, unless motorized.

Part-time and non-residents

Michigan law allows owners of watercraft registered in another state use of Michigan waterways up to 60 days after which a Michigan registration is required. That means if a boat is stored or anchored in Michigan, and exclusively used on Michigan waterways over 60 days, the watercraft must be registered in Michigan.