Indiana Kayak Laws and Regulations

There are many kayaking opportunities in Indiana for paddlers to enjoy the beautiful views of rivers and lakes. Indiana has a lot of adventure to offer. However, before going out and starting to paddle in Indiana’s waters, you need to know about the state’s laws and regulations.

To help our fellow paddlers, I have written a detailed guide on Indiana Kayak laws so that you can make your kayaking experience legal and safe.

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Indiana Kayak Laws – What are these?

Let’s start talking some laws;

Law 1 – Always carry a wearable PFD (Portable Flotation Device)

In Indiana, you are required to carry a wearable Portable Flotation Device (PFD) for every person in your kayak, as well as for canoes. If a child under 13 is on the kayak, they must wear a PFD at all times while on the water.

Checkout: Best PFDs

Law 2 – Bright white light requirement while paddling at night!

If you plan to paddle at night, you must carry a bright white light visible from up to 2 miles away. You may mount the light on your deck or use a handheld flashlight.

Law 3 – Register modified kayaks, not unmodified ones

If you have modified your kayak in any way, such as adding a trolling motor or anything of that sort, you must register your kayak and display the registration number on it.

Law 4 – Permit required to paddle in state parks, state forests, or public reservoirs

If you plan to paddle in state parks, state forests, or public reservoirs, you must obtain a permit issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. You must display the permit at all times while on the water. This applies to all modified and unmodified kayaks, and the permit costs around $5.

Law 5 – Register all types of motorized boats

All types of motorized boats must be registered in Indiana.

Law 6 – Throwable Type IV PFD requirement for boats 16 feet or longer

If your boat is 16 feet or longer, you must carry a throwable Type IV PFD on board.

Law 7 – Operating or letting anyone operate your vessel while intoxicated is illegal

It is illegal in Indiana to paddle while intoxicated or to allow someone to paddle while you are intoxicated. You can face jail time if you do so.

Top 5 Boating Violations | Indiana DNR – [VIDEO]


At Kayak Review Online, we ensure that all paddlers paddle safely and legally. Most of the kayaking rules and regulations are designed to ensure safe paddling.

I am confident that our Indiana Kayak Laws and Regulation guide has helped you to paddle legally. Don’t forget to share this with folks in Indiana so that they can stay legal while paddling in Indiana.

Other References:

  1. Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Boating Laws and Responsibilities:
  2. Indiana Boating Laws and Regulations Handbook:
  3. Indiana Boating Safety Education Course:
  4. Indiana Water Trails:
  5. Indiana State Park Rules and Regulations:

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