PA Kayak Registration vs Launch Permit – 2022

Pennsylvania’s kayak registration and launch permit system can seem confusing at first. Pennsylvania requires both a registration and a launch permit but the thing that you need to keep in mind is that it is not important for all kayaks.

When we talk about unpowered boats such as kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sailboats, rafts, or inflatable boats so you don’t need to register them. On the other hand, if you can use these unpowered boats in Pennsylvania state parks and state forests or ¬†Fish & Boat Commission access area or lake then you need to register it with the following documents.

  • Commission access areas
  • DCNR listing of PA state parks
  • Register or title a boat in PA

Get more information: Click Here

So, what are the differences between PA kayak registration and launch permits?

The simple answer is that a kayak registration is a sticker that must be affixed to your boat, and a launch permit is a temporary paper permit you purchase before going out on the water.

This article will help to clear up any confusion and provide information about pa kayak registration vs launch permit.

What Is The Difference Between A PA Kayak Registration Vs Launch Permit?

The PA kayak registration is a type of identification for your boat that must be affixed to each part of your kayak with a removable adhesive.  It only needs to be purchased once, and you can then transfer or remove the registration as needed.

The launch permit only needs to be purchased once for each calendar year. A single launch permit can allow you to paddle on any river in Pennsylvania for up to three days from the purchase date.

Note: If you are a new kayaker and thinking about paddling or kayaking in Pennsylvania so you need guidance so here we come up with the Paddling Pennsylvania Guide Book that you need to consider before going for paddling in Pennsylvania.

What Are The Benefits Of PA Kayak Registration?

The benefits of a PA kayak registration are:

  • Allows Pennsylvania to track kayakers on the water.
  • Pennsylvania kayak registration allows you to fish without a fishing license in PA for up to three days of your launch permit.
  • If you are traveling thru more than one state with your kayak, this form of identification is all that is needed.
  • Pennsylvania’s kayak registration can help you avoid fines from local law enforcement.
  • Pennsylvania kayak registration is an added level of safety for you on the water. It provides law enforcement with information about who should be out there at any particular time. The majority of river PFD laws specifically reference “kayaks”, so the kayak registration is a helpful form of identification.
  • The Pennsylvania kayak registry allows you to freely explore the waterways of Pennsylvania without limits on where you can paddle.

What Are The Benefits Of Launch Permit?

Launch Permits provide a number of benefits on their own, including:

  • Allows you to attend a fishing tournament without a fishing license.
  • Can be purchased at many locations throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Purchasing or using one launch permit will allow you to launch your kayak from any boat launching area in Pennsylvania for up to three consecutive days.
  • Launch permits allow you to paddle on any river in Pennsylvania, not just those covered by your kayak registration.
  • Can be purchased for multiple years at a time rather than yearly.
  • Allows you to attend events such as the Paddle for Light, Rivers and Sports Festival, and The Great Alleghany Paddlefest.

How Much Does Each Cost?

The cost is different depending on whether you are buying for 1 day, 3 days, or multiple years at a time. The cost of a 1-day kayak launch permit is $4.00 and covers all adults in your boat. If you wish to paddle with children under 12 years old it will only be $3.50 per person.

The cost of the 3-day kayak launch permit is $13.00 per adult in your boat and $12 for children under 12 years old.

The cost of an annual kayak launch permit is only $16.00 per adult registered in Pennsylvania. Children under 12 are half price at just $8. There is also a senior citizen discount of $2 for adults 65 years old or older.

The cost of a launch permit is the same no matter how far upstream you travel, and a separate launch permit is needed for each different river you paddle on in Pennsylvania. These permits can be purchased at any bait shop, tackle shop, grocery store, gas station, or convenience store throughout the state.

A launch permit is required every day you plan to be on the water whether or not you will be fishing.


I hope this article about the differences between a PA kayak registration vs launch permit is helping you understand the difference between the two and which one you should purchase. The benefit of registration, fishing without a license for three days, only benefits fishermen and women who plan on staying in Pennsylvania for those three days. So if you happen to be visiting PA, fishing for one day, and leaving the state afterward it is not worth purchasing a permit.


Q1. Do I need both a PA kayak registration and a launch permit?

Yes, you will need to purchase the kayak registration in addition to a launch permit for each different river you paddle on in Pennsylvania.

Q2. What if my license is already expired?

Your kayak registration will still allow you to paddle on any river in Pennsylvania without a license. This is a great benefit for someone visiting if they plan on kayaking in the state only once or twice during their stay.

Q3. Does a launch permit allow me to paddle on any river in Pennsylvania?

No, a launch permit only allows you to paddle on the rivers it has been purchased for.

2 thoughts on “PA Kayak Registration vs Launch Permit – 2022”

  1. From Michigan, visiting French Creek in Crawford County over Labor Day 2022. Two ten-foot non-motorized kayaks. I can launch for free from private property right?

    1. Yes, you can launch your kayaks from private property for free as long as you have the owner’s permission. French Creek is a beautiful place to paddle and explore and the owner of the property you are launching from should be happy to have you there! Enjoy your trip!
      But there are some important things that you need to keep in mind:
      Non-powered boats must display one of the following:
      1. Boat Registration
      2. Launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania state parks — available at most state park offices
      3. Launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

      If you want to get more information : Read Out

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top