Do Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Oklahoma (2022)

Introduction: Making a Kayak Paddle

Making your own wood kayak paddle is a great way to personalize your kayaking adventures. Instead of just another plastic paddle you can have a beautiful piece of functional art that you made yourself.

This particular paddle uses Paddle Plans from Guillemot Kayaks, but you could base your build on a paddle you already own and like buy tracing the outline of the blade shape.

The wood I'm using is Western Red Cedar for the body of the blade, with a bit of Ash as the reinforcing accent. The shaft is made from Sitka Spruce with a reinforcing spline of Ash.

The blade is reinforced with fiberglass and has a nylon para-cord reinforcement around the edges. This make for a lightweight but very strong paddle


  • Western red cedar
  • Sitka spruce
  • Ash
  • 2-ounce fiberglass
  • Nylon Parachute Cord
  • Tite-Bond III waterproof PVA Glue
  • Epoxy
  • Varnish

Step 1: Gluing Up the Blanks

The blades will be cut out of blanks that are 16"-18" long, about 4" thick and at least 4" wide. With wider blanks you can make more blades.

In the video I am using 2x8 western red cedar stock and laminating a 1/4" thick piece of ash between the layers of cedar. You can use any combination of wood you would like. Softwoods such as cedar, pine and spruce will be lightweight, hardwoods such as ash, maple, walnut, oak etc. will be strong but if used extensively will make a heavy paddle. The weight of blades will make a big difference on how enjoyable it is to use the paddle.

The shafts I am making here are about 8' long buy 1-1/2" x 1-1/2". They will get cut down to size later. If you use wider material you can laminate up several shafts at a time. You can also use shorter material if you are going to make feathered blades where the blades are at an angle to each other.

I cut the material to size and then glue them together with waterproof PVA glue such as Tite-Bond III. Other glues such as Gorilla or epoxy can also be used.

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Step 2: Cutting the Blades

I use a jig I made for the band saw that helps cut a curved blade, but you can just mark the curves onto your blade blanks and make the cuts free hand.

The blades are thicker at one end and thinner at the other. I alternate the which end is thick and thin so I move consistently through the blank and so I will have a symmetrically matching set for each end of the paddle. You will need to cut at least 4 of these blades.

Step 3: Preparing the Shafts - Scarfing and Tapering

Most of the paddles I make are feathered. This means the blades at each end are at an angle relative to each other. This can relieve some stress on the wrist when paddling and help cut through a headwind.

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This feathering is achieved by joining two ends of the shaft together in the middle with a scarf. By cutting the scarf at an angle you can achieve the desired angle between the two paddle blades. It is a little tricky, but once you are set up it is very easy to achieve.

I use a sled in the table saw that cuts a taper and holds the shaft material at an angle to the saw blade.

It looks nice to taper the ends of the shaft on either side. This is not required, it just makes the paddle look nicer.

A round over bit helps start make the shaft in to a nice comfortable oval.

Step 4: Gluing on the Blades and Initial Shaping

Even though the blades of these paddles may be feathered, they are still glued on straight and square on the shaft. It helps to cut away some of the shaft on the power face of the blade before gluing on the blades, but this is not required.

I use the Tite-Bond III to glue the blades on either side of the shaft. The thin end of the blade aligned with the tip of the shaft and the thicker end is towards the middle of the shaft. Some good long clamps are nice for this process, but you could wrap everything with string or stretch wrap to hold it all while the glue dries.

I use my thickness sander to flatten out the power face of the paddle, but you can do it with hand tools such as a spoke shave. Likewise with the back face of the blade. Here we are just working on the outer end of the blade at first.

When the flattening process is done I cut out the outline of the blade shape. You can use your favorite paddle as a pattern, just remember to flip the pattern over for each end of the paddle.

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Step 5: Sculpting the Blades

This is the hardest part of the process. I use a right angle grinder to do some freehand shaping and then refine the shape with hand tools. I try to make the edges of the blade nice and thin to keep the paddle light, while leaving the central section of the blade full thickness for strength.

The most common mistake is to leave the blade too thick because you are scared to go too far and make it too thin. Don't be too much of a wuss about it, aim for 1/8" thick all the way around the edge with a nice smooth taper from the middle. The blade eventually gets reinforced with fiberglass which makes it very tough and strong.

Step 6: Reinforcing the Edges

I regularly bounce my paddles off rocks. I want a rugged and durable edge to absorb the abuse. I have found that para-cord saturated in epoxy resin is very tough. While you can't exactly cut down a tree with these paddles, they will handle paddling in rock gardens or doing whitewater.

I use a small rasp to start a shallow groove around the whole perimeter of the blade. This just provides a place to hold the cord until the epoxy bonds it to the paddle.

I use some heat and liberally brush epoxy on the cord to maximize the penetration of resin into the cord.

Step 7: Glassing the Blades

It is amazing how much strength a layer of 2-ounce fiberglass will add to the wood. Between the two and with the cord around the edge the paddle blade can absorb a lot of abuse.

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I can get two layers out of the width of the fabric. I cut all the pieces to size as well as some extra pieces to add more strength to the tips.

Again some heat will help the fabric absorb the resin for a nice clear layup. Squeegee off the excess to keep the blade lightweight. After squeegeeing the fabric should not be glossy, the matte finish indicates the fabric is tight against the wood and not floating up.

After the wet-out coat of epoxy has set up I apply a fill coat that fills the weave of the fabric and starts making the paddle shiny.

Step 8: Gluing the Shafts Together and Finishing

I like to do most of the work before gluing the scarf on the shaft together. This just keeps the parts easy to handle while doing the work.

Since the paddle shaft is a bit oval, the scarf does not fit together in a perfect match, you will need to eyeball it a bit to make sure the two halves are straight and true before the glue sets up.

You can then finish shaping the shafts in the scarf area and start the finish sanding process.

Coat everything with a coat of epoxy after it is all smooth. This serves as a solid base for the protective coating.

Before the final finish coats give the whole paddle a through sanding up to at least 220 grit sandpaper.

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In this case I use a 2-part automotive style clear coat that is available from Amazon, but you can also use a more traditional marine spar varnish.

The finished is lightweight and strong. I prefer the feel of wood in my hands over fiberglass or carbon fiber. Especially in the winter it feels warm and comfortable.

Happy Paddling!

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    Do Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Oklahoma (1)


Do Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Oklahoma? ›

Oklahoma boat registration is also required for all watercraft, except for kayaks, canoes and paddle boats. USCG-approved safety equipment (including life-preservers) must be in use at all times while boating. Permit stickers should be adhered to each side of the boat near the stern.

How much does it cost to register a kayak in Oklahoma? ›

Registration: $9. Excise tax for: New boats: 3.25% of the purchase price. Used boats: 35% decrease in the taxable amount per each 1 year of the vessel's age.

Do you need a title for a canoe in Oklahoma? ›


Any vessel that is used or moored on Oklahoma waterways, must be registered. Except, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats are no longer subject to titling and registration. The Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) handles boat registrations and titles.

Do you have to kneel in a kayak? ›

You should kneel inside your kayak when paddling in windy conditions and are looking for more stability. Kneeling also will ensure a safer and more comfortable experience if you are paddling with pets, children or inexperienced paddlers.

Can you kayak on the Oklahoma River? ›

The Oklahoma River section along Oklahoma City, Oklahoma's Downtown area has some great kayaking opportunities. The calm water is perfect for beginners and families just wanting to enjoy the water the Boathouse District of Oklahoma City.

Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Oklahoma? ›

Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Oklahoma? You can get the equivalent of a DUI, a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) in Oklahoma when operating a vessel with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08%. State law does not consider non-motorized canoes or kayaks as vessels under BUI law.

What boats are exempt from registration in Oklahoma? ›

In Oklahoma, you must have an Oklahoma Certificate of Registration and validation decals to operate your vessel legally on public waters. The only exceptions are: Vessels that are manually propelled and do not have a motor, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and other similar vessels.

Can you drink on a boat in Oklahoma? ›

Alcohol is legal to consume on a boat, but it is illegal to operate a vessel while intoxicated. The blood alcohol limit for boating is the same as for driving a car. 08%.

What size boat requires a tag in Oklahoma? ›

Outboard motors over 10 horsepower must also be titled and registered within 30 days of purchase. You may operate your boat within the first 30 days of ownership, prior to applying for your title and registration, if you carry on board the original bill of sale.

Which is safer canoe or kayak? ›

So, Is A Kayak or Canoe Safer? A canoe is less likely to capsize than a kayak, so it may be safer to use if you're alone. Canoes are also safer for lake-based camping trips in the north as they can hold more gear to keep you warm in early spring or late fall.

What is the correct posture in kayaking? ›

Sit tall on your seat with your spine long and head high, and lean forward slightly from the hips. Imagine that a string runs through your spine and is being pulled tight. The paddle blade should enter the water near your toes and the shaft should be quite vertical. Don't move your body, reach with your arms.

Is a kayak more stable than a canoe? ›

Kayaks are a lot more nimble and speedy than canoes, due to their shape, lighter weight and double-bladed paddle, which allows for quicker and more agile piloting than a canoe. Canoes, meanwhile, are more stable and harder to capsize.

How deep is the Oklahoma River? ›

Oklahoma Flow Report
LocationStreamflowGage Height
DEEP FORK NEAR BEGGS USGS 072435006700 cfs14.94ft
112 more rows

Do you need a permit to kayak on Lake Hefner? ›

Boating permits are not required for fisherman floats/tubes. Oklahoma boat registration is also required for all watercraft, except for kayaks, canoes and paddle boats.

Where can you kayak in OKC? ›

Kayaks are available in the Boathouse District at the RIVERSPORT Adventure Park, at the Lake Overholser Boathouse, and at Hobie Point at Lake Hefner. Whether you're new to the sport or an experienced paddler, you'll find lessons, programs and paddle experiences at all three locations to get you involved!

Can you drink while on a kayak? ›

If you are the one operating the kayak or boat it is best to avoid alcohol completely, as you are ten times more likely to be killed in an accident with a blood alcohol level of over 0.10% than if you had no alcohol in your system. Operating any vessel on the water requires concentration in order to stay safe.

Can you get a BWI in a kayak? ›

Yes, you can get a “DUI” on your kayak. In most states it's illegal to operate a kayak with a BAL of 0.08% or more. (Colorado and Wyoming it's 0.10%). A DUI in kayaking is called a BUI-Boating Under the Influence.

Can you put a small motor on a kayak? ›

Yes, you can put a trolling motor on a kayak. Kayak trolling motors are designed to be mounted to the bow, transom, or a trolling motor bracket. Kayak trolling motors are run off of a 12-volt marine battery and usually have 55lbs of thrust.

Can you tag a boat without title in Oklahoma? ›

Titling of vessels is mandatory in Oklahoma. You must apply for a title within 30 days of the purchase or transfer of a vessel. You may operate your vessel within the first 30 days of ownership, prior to applying for your title and registration, if you carry on board the original bill of sale for your vessel.

Does Oklahoma require boat insurance? ›

While the state of Oklahoma does not mandate boat insurance, it does set forth several stipulations before you can legally operate your vessel.

What do I have to have on my boat in Oklahoma? ›

Oklahoma Boat Safety
  1. All boats must carry one wearable USCG-approved PFD for each person on board.
  2. All passengers 12 years and younger on boats less than 26 feet in length must wear a United States Coast Guard-approved PFD whenever the vessel is underway.
  3. Life jackets must:
  4. be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved.

Can you drive a boat without a license in Oklahoma? ›

All boaters between 12 and 15 years of age must have an Oklahoma Boater Education Card to operate any motorized watercraft over 10 HP or sailboat 16 feet or longer.® is a delegated provider for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section.

Can you get a DUI driving a boat in Oklahoma? ›

It is illegal to drive while intoxicated on roadways and on waterways in Oklahoma. If your blood alcohol level is at or above . 08% while you are operating a watercraft, you can be charged with BUI or boating under the influence.

How old do you have to be to not wear a lifejacket in Oklahoma? ›

Children who are 13 years of age or under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket while underway on any boat that is less than 26 feet in length.

How much does it cost to tag a boat in motor in Oklahoma? ›

original retail price over $150.00: 1st year fee = statutory fee (2.25) + $1.00 for every $100.00 of the price or any fraction thereof. 2nd through 10th year fee = statutory fee + 90% of the previous year's price-based fee.

Do kayaks flip over easily? ›

Kayaks are generally safe to use and hardly tip over. Nevertheless, the risk of tipping depends on the sort of kayak and the type of water where you are paddling. For example, it's extremely hard to tip over when paddling with a recreational kayak on a relatively calm river — unless you really try too hard.

Can you get stuck upside down in a kayak? ›

When a kayak tips over upside down, you can get stuck. It can lead to your body becoming stressed, which can lead to panic, making it more difficult for you to get out of the situation. Check out these steps on how to flip a kayak over to prevent this from happening.

Do kayaks tip over easily? ›

Generally, kayaks are safe and don't just tip over for no reason. Most of the time when someone experiences this, it's due to a lack of balance or conditions on the water outside of their control. For example, it's rather difficult, even for a beginner, to tip over in a recreation kayak on a calm river.

Is it OK to sit in a kayak on land? ›

You should never leave a kayak on a flat surface for more than a couple of days. Do not store a kayak right side up because the bottom could get smooshed overtime from the excess weight. Remember, kayaks are not meant to sit directly on their hull for an extended period.

Should your legs be straight in a kayak? ›

Kidding aside, you should not be able to staighten your legs in your kayak, but they should be bent so that your knees are touching the sides of the kayak and you should be fitting in this position just tight enough to not be cramped or numb.

How tight should a kayak be? ›

Not too tight, not too loose. Sitting down in your boat should feel like that favorite pair of pants. The goal of good kayak outfitting is to feel connected to your boat in order to have precise control over your boat's movement, and should feel like an extension of your body.

What size boat requires a tag in Oklahoma? ›

Outboard motors over 10 horsepower must also be titled and registered within 30 days of purchase. You may operate your boat within the first 30 days of ownership, prior to applying for your title and registration, if you carry on board the original bill of sale.

Can you drink on a boat in Oklahoma? ›

Alcohol is legal to consume on a boat, but it is illegal to operate a vessel while intoxicated. The blood alcohol limit for boating is the same as for driving a car. 08%.

Can I kayak in Lake Hefner? ›

Kayaking is included in your day or season pass, or you can rent a kayak by the hour. Kayaks are available in the Boathouse District at the RIVERSPORT Adventure Park, at the Lake Overholser Boathouse, and at Hobie Point at Lake Hefner.


1. Oklahoma Resident Kayaks Down Street | NowThis
(NowThis News)
2. Oklahoma Kayak Anglers | Trip To Remember
(Chad Hoover)
3. No title for your boat!?! NO PROBLEM! - How to register boat without title!
(Reel Hooker Fishing)
4. The Kayak Angling Captain
5. Kayak fishing in Oklahoma
(Texas Reckless Outdoors)
6. Kayaking the Caney river in a motorized kayak in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

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