Boat Registration

The Lee County Recorder has the responsibility of registering and titling vessels of Lee County residents and non-residents if the vessel is principally used in Lee County.

Boat registrations expire on April 30th, every three years starting in 2007. Boat fees are based on the length of the boat. All boats 17 feet and longer require a title (except canoes and kayaks).


View or download the Boat Application, to be used for new boats, renewals, and transfers and duplications of registration, titles, and liens.


Boat Application (PDF)


Registration Fees:

First Year
Second Year
Third Year
No Motor - No Sail
Motor Sail
Less than 16 feet
Motor Sail
Between 16 and 26 feet
Motor Sail
Between 26 and 40 feet
Motor Sail
More than 40 feet
All Personal Watercraft
Documented Vessels

Please note: Second- and third-year columns are only for new boats. For renewal fees, use the first-year column. If the registration is already expired, there is a $5 penalty added to the renewal fee.


Boat Titles

Boat titles are $12.75 each plus $12.75 with a lien. Transfers can be made with a signed and dated Bill of Sale and signed registration and Title (if applicable).

Taxes and Other Fees

Please call the office to confirm the correct amount of tax.

There is a transfer fee of $3.75 and a duplicate fee of $3.75. If the transfer is made at the time of renewal, fees may be slightly different so please call the office for the appropriate fee.

If items are processed by mail, add $1.00 mailing fee.


Items needed when transferring a boat:


State Sales Tax Information:

  • Sales of boats and other watercraft in Iowa are subject to the state sales tax of 6 percent plus local option taxes, if any. This applies to sales by Individuals, as well as, dealers.
  • Anyone purchasing a boat from an individual should obtain a receipt that shows the cost of the boat. The buyer will then pay the sales tax on the cost of the boat to the County Recorder.
  • If a trailer is purchased with the boat, the 5% motor vehicle use tax is paid to the County Treasurer.

Boating Laws:

  • For state boating law information, call the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at: (515) 281-5918.
  • For federal boating laws, call the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Infoline at 1-800-368-5647.