Quick and easy access to recreational privileges in Iowa, including hunting, fishing, and specialty licenses:
Purchase Your Licenses Online
Buy your Hunting and Fishing license online today! We offer multi-year packages and combos for whatever you need to stay licensed.
Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
Make your online reservation for state park cabins, camping sites and lodges.
Iowa DNR Customer Service
Mon - Fri, 8:00am - 4:30pm CST
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On-Line Paddle Safety Boating Course
Check out this free resource and improve your safety knowledge when it comes to paddling. This course is NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved. All new paddlers should take this free course and it is a great review for the experienced. Register for a free account and get started today.
Iowa DNR Canoe and Kayak Schools for 2017
Learn to paddle more efficiently and develop new skills. Class schedules and registration information will be posted once announced for 2017. Contact Todd Robertson with any questions.
The “Wear It Iowa” program is part of a national campaign designed to educate boaters on the importance of wearing a lifejacket while recreating on or near the water. At least 84% of fatalities nationwide involved individuals who were not wearing a life jacket.
Boating Education program is committed to providing Iowans with important resources and messages that save lives.
This official Iowa boater safety handbook introduces you to laws governing boating and provides general information about safe operation on Iowa waters.
Also available as a web-version and an eBook.
Meandered, Non-Meandered, and Navigable Rivers
These terms can be confusing, but are important in understanding what the rules are for where you can be and where you can't:
A Meandered river is one in which adjacent land owners own the land above the high water mark. Land below the high water mark is public, giving citizens the right to explore sandbars at leisure without worry of trespassing. Land above that level is usually private, and should not be utilized by people navigating streams except when portaging around an obstruction.
View a map of meandered rivers and legal boundaries of meandered rivers to learn more.
A non-meandered river, on the other hand, is one in which private landowners own all the land adjacent to and underneath the water-including the bottom, sandbars, and banks. Most river miles in Iowa are designated as non-meandered. A 1996 attorney general opinion, however, permits activities incidental to navigation on non-meandered rivers, such as, fishing, swimming, and wading when the river is considered navigable. This law also allows for trash clean-ups and the need to portage obstructions in the rivers.
A navigable river is defined by state law as one "which can support a vessel capable of carrying one or more persons during a total of a six-month period in one out of every ten years." Most rivers and larger creeks in Iowa, including non-meandered rivers, are considered navigable. State law expressly allows boating traffic down to one-person vessel such as kayaks on navigable streams.
The required navigation lights must be displayed between sunset and sunrise and whenever the weather reduces visibility.
Manually Powered Vessels When Underway (Manually powered vessels are boats that are paddled, poled, or rowed)
If less than 23.0 feet long, these vessels should exhibit a white light visible for 360° around the horizon and visible from a distance of at least one mile away if operating on natural lakes, Corps of Engineers impoundments, border rivers, or impoundments on inland rivers. If this light is partially obscured due to the nature of the vessel, an additional white light must be on hand to be shown in sufficient time to prevent a collision. This secondary light could be a head-lamp or even a flashlight.
SUP is the fastest growing sport in the paddling community not only across the country, but especially right here in land-locked areas like Iowa. It's fun, healthy as a total body work-out and offers a unique perspective when it comes to being on the water. You can surf river waves, run whitewater, try SUP yoga, fish or just take your board out on the lake for a relaxing paddle. want to connect kids to nature and the outdoors? They will have a blast on a SUP. There are rules you will need to obey when on a SUP:
Stand up paddleboards are subject to the following requirements:
Kids of all ages flocked to the Outdoor Expo at Water Works Park in Des Moines in 2011. Paddling at the ponds was popular with people trying out paddling for the very first time. There is nothing like a child's smile when he discovers something new that he really likes! There are many future paddlers and river stewards here so enjoy the pictures!
We want you to be safe on the water. A good first toward knowing what you need to know on the water in paddle craft is the American Canoe Associations
To order paper copies for your group, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.