snowmobile
Contact information
For registration questions, contact:
Customer Service
1-888-936-7463

Registration and titling

There are three ways to register or renew your boat, ATV/UTV or snowmobile.

  • Online - Registering or renewing online is a secure, easy and convenient method to register your recreational vehicle. Online registration allows you to process boat, snowmobile and ATV/UTV transactions for the vehicle you currently own, or to register recently purchased vehicles.
  • Agents - Locate an agent near you to complete your registration needs. Registration agents can process ATV, UTV and snowmobile registrations, including renewals, transfers, originals and print replacement decals. They can also renew your boat registration. Call ahead for hours.
  • DNR - DNR Service locations provide full registration service, including transferring titled boats to new owners, lien releases, documented boats and fleets. Call 1-888-936-7463 for hours.
  • By mail - After completing all requested information on the application form, make a photocopy, and mail the original application and appropriate fees to the address provided on the form.

Boat

Registration information

Note: Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the boat may be claimed as a credit to reduce the tax payable. Any county tax or similar tax paid in the other state may be claimed as a credit to reduce county tax payable.

You must have a Wisconsin Certificate of Number (i.e. registration) and expiration decals to legally operate a recreational vessel legally. Exceptions to the requirement to register a recreational vessel include:

  • sailboats 12 feet of length or less and not equipped with a motor
  • sailboards
  • manually propelled vessels that are not equipped with a motor or sail
  • vessels registered in another state and using Wisconsin waters for less than 60 consecutive days.

Titles

A boat title is similar to a car title. A boat title is a legal document proving ownership.

  • All motorboats 16 feet and over in length, registered in Wisconsin after 1988 will have a Certificate of Title.
  • If you are presented with a Wisconsin registration certificate, verify that the registration id number and the expiration year on the certificate matches the information on the boat's registration decals.
  • You must submit the original Certificate of Title to complete the registration process. All person(s) whose name appears on the title must sign the title.
  • Verify there is not a lien against the boat. If a lien holder's name appears on the title, be sure that the lien holder has signed off on the title or you receive a lien release letter from the lending company.

New boats

New boats do not have a title issued until they are registered. The Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) or a Certificate of Origin (COO) serves as a temporary title from the manufacturer to the dealer and then to you. Compare the boat's hull identification number to the numbers on the MSO or COO. Have the seller sign the MSO or COO for a new boat. You must submit the original MSO or COO to complete the registration process.

Other information you may need:

ATV/UTV

Registration information

ATVs and UTVs operating within the state need to be registered as public use, private use, or exempt from registration. Registration decals must be properly displayed, unless the operation is exempt from registration. Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the ATV or UTV may be claimed as a credit to reduce the sales tax payable. Any county tax or similar tax paid in the other state may be claimed as a credit to reduce county tax payable.

Registration Exemptions

ATVs and UTVs are exempt from registration if the vehicle: 1) is owned by a government agency, the name of the agency must be displayed on the exterior of the vehicle; 2) displays a registration decal required by the tribe or band; or 3) is in the state not more than 15 days and used exclusively as part of an advertisement being made for the manufacture of the vehicle.

Definition of All-terrain Vehicle

"All-terrain vehicle" means an engine-driven device which has a net weight of 900 pounds or less, was originally manufactured with a width of 50 inches or less, equipped with a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and which is designed by the manufacturer to travel on three or more low-pressure tires. "Low-pressure tire" means a tire that has a minimum width of six inches and is designed to be inflated with an operating pressure not to exceed 20 pounds per square inch as recommended by the manufacturer. Certain ATVs that do not currently fit the ATV definition may be registered as UTVs, such as ATVs over 900 pounds.

Definition of Utility-terrain Vehicle

"Utility-terrain vehicle" means a motor driven device that is not a golf cart, low-speed vehicle, dune buggy, mini-truck, or tracked vehicle, that is designed to be used primarily off highway, and originally manufactured and equipped with all of the following: net weight of less than 2,000 pounds; cargo box installed by the manufacturer; steering wheel; tail light; brake lights; two headlights; width of not more than 65 inches; seats for at least 2 occupants, on non-straddled seats; seat belts; and roll bar or similar device designed to reduce the likelihood that an occupant would be crushed as the result of a rollover.

Public use registration

All ATVs or UTVs are required to be registered in Wisconsin. Public use registration allows operation on any areas open to public riding, frozen surface of any waterways and on private property with landowner permission. Effective July 1, 2012, the registration period will begin on April 1 or the date of issuance/renewal and end on March 31 of the 2nd year following the date of issuance/renewal. The change was made to better serve the users with a registration period more closely aligned with the main riding season.

Late Renewal Fee

Effective July 1, 2012, a $5.00 late fee will be assessed to public use registrations that are renewed after the expiration date. The late fee will not be assessed if the renewal is included with application to transfer the ownership of the vehicle. Revenue collected will be placed in the ATV conservation fund.

License Plate Requirements

Effective July 1, 2012, all ATVs and UTVs registered as public use will be required to furnish and display a rear plate in addition to the 2 side decals furnished by DNR,: This change was added after many discussions over the years with various experts and user groups based on surveys and meetings.

  • Plates can be created or purchased by the registered owner. Plate specifications are: must be a minimum of 4 inches in height and 7 1/2 inches wide; must be white; black lettering a minimum of 1 1/2 inches high with a minimum 3/16 inch stroke; needs only the 4 registration numbers and two letters that follow same as on the registration decal; owner shall maintain the plate so it is in legible condition; and the plate shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle.

Private use registration

Private use registration is for an ATV or UTV used exclusively on private property. Use of the ATV or UTV is by the owner or a member of his/her immediate family only on land owned or leased by the vehicle owner or a member of his/her immediate family.

An ATV or UTV private use registration certificate is valid from the date of issuance until ownership of the ATV or UTV is transferred.

Private use with Agricultural Purpose

Agricultural purpose includes activities related to the transportation of farm implements, equipment, supplies or products on a farm or between farms.

Nonresident ATV/UTV registration

An ATV or UTV operated on a public trail or corridor needs to display valid Wisconsin Public Use registration, or needs to display a valid Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass. Nonresident customers choosing to register their ATV in Wisconsin will be liable to the Department of Revenue for sales tax on the purchase of the machine

An ATV or UTV operated elsewhere including private property, routes and frozen waters needs to display a valid:

  1. Wisconsin ATV/UTV registration; OR
  2. Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass and needs to display registration from another state. Note: Michigan and Illinois do not have a formal ATV registration system.

Visit sales locations to find an agent near you to purchase a Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass.

ATV - Snow Removal Laws [PDF]

Snowmobiles

Registration information

Snowmobile registration is required for operation of any snowmobile within the state - unless the operation is exempt from registration - and the registration decals must be properly displayed. Note: Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the snowmobile may be claimed as a credit to reduce the tax payable.

Definition of snowmobile

  • In Wisconsin, a snowmobile is an engine-driven vehicle that is manufactured solely for snowmobiling that has an endless belt tread and sled-type runners, or skis, to be used in contact with snow. All snowmobiles must be 48 inches wide or less. The definition includes a child-sized snowmobile - see exceptions below for additional information.
    • A child's snowmobile is a snowmobile that is driven by a four horsepower (approximately 120 cubic centimeters in size) or less engine.
    • If operating a child's snowmobile on public areas - A child's snowmobile needs to be registered. This also includes frozen waters. Note: Please refer to the Wisconsin Snowmobile Laws pamphlet PUBL-LE-201 for child's snowmobile and age-riding restrictions.)
    • If operating a child's snowmobile in sanctioned races, derbies, competitions or exhibitions - Under these circumstances, registration is not required.
    • If operating a child's snowmobile on private property registration is not required, so long as the snowmobile is operated only on private property and is not operated on any part of a public trail.
  • A vehicle that has inflatable tires is not considered a snowmobile even if skis are attached. An ATV or similar machine that is converted with an aftermarket kit, complete with skis and a track cannot be registered as a snowmobile and cannot be driven on snowmobile trails.

Public use registration

All snowmobiles operated in Wisconsin must be registered. Public use registration allows you to operate your snowmobile on any area open to public riding and on private property with the appropriate permission.

Private use registration

Private use registration is for a snowmobile used exclusively on private property - i.e. use of a snowmobile is by the owner of the snowmobile, or a member of his/her immediate family, and on land owned or leased by the snowmobile owner or a member of his/her immediate family).

A snowmobile private use registration certificate is valid from the date of issuance until ownership of the snowmobile is transferred.

Nonresident snowmobile registration

A snowmobile operated on a public trail or corridor needs to display valid Wisconsin Public Use snowmobile registration or needs to display a valid Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass and valid nonresident registration. Nonresident customers choosing to register their snowmobile in Wisconsin will be liable to the Department of Revenue for sales tax on the purchase of the machine.

Note: A "corridor" includes a marked area across frozen waterways or area across frozen waterways as indicated on a county snowmobile trail map. It does not include routes.

A snowmobile operated on private property or frozen waterways outside a corridor needs to display valid Wisconsin snowmobile registration or needs to display valid registration from another state.

Visit sales locations to find an agent near you to purchase a Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass.

Boat, ATV/UTV and snowmobile dealers

Boat dealer definitions and requirements

  • "Dealer" means a person engaged wholly or in part in the business of selling or distributing boats to customers for profit or commission and who have made a substantial financial investment in the business.
  • A Wisconsin dealer registration may be used for demonstrating and/or testing a boat, boat motor or boat trailer to a specific customer in an effort to sell or show the operation of the boat, boat motor or boat trailer with a paid employee of the manufacturer or dealer either operating or accompanying the operator.
  • Registration numbers are assigned by DNR but are not provided. Dealer must create two plaques for each number assigned, one plaque for each side of the boat.
  • Upon completion of a dealer registration, DNR will provide a Certificate of Number card and expiration decals.

ATV / UTV dealer definitions and requirements

  • Commercial Certificate: Every person who is an ATV or UTV manufacturer, dealer, distributor, renter or any combination thereof, engaged in business in the state shall register with the department and obtain a Commercial ATV/UTV certificate.
  • The commercial registration fee is $90. A commercial dealer certificate and three registration decals and certificate cards will be issued.
  • Additional Commercial Decals/Cards: Additional registration decals and certificate cards can be ordered with original and renewal Commercial Certificate applications.
  • A current Commercial Certificate holder may also order additional registration decals and certificate cards. The fee for each additional registration decal/certificate card is $30 each.
  • Commercial dealers will create or purchase their own plates to display their commercial decals upon.
  • Effective July 1, 2012, the registration period will begin on April 1 or the date of issuance/renewal and end on March 31 of the 2nd year following the date of issuance/renewal.

Snowmobile dealer definitions and requirements

Last revised: Tuesday April 15 2014