Boat owners must register their vessel with the Department of Natural Resources. Vessels registered in Iowa, must display their current registration decals and the Iowa issued registration numbers provided by the County Recorder. In addition, the operator must carry the registration certificate on board. Registrations must be renewed every three years and are nontransferable. These can be acquired starting January 1st of the new registration cycle and are valid for three years.
All Iowa registrations expire April 30th of the renewal year. An example, the current registration expires in April of 2019. A $5.00 penalty is added to the renewal cost for an expired Iowa registration. There is no grace period.
Residents can obtain registrations and renewals from a County Recorder Office. Nonresidents can obtain registration from their home state or an Iowa registration from the County Recorder's in the County of primary use.