Boating in Ohio

Whether by kayak, canoe, fishing boat, or sail boat, boating in Ohio will yield the opportunity to enjoy water sports and fishing in Ohio's many lakes and rivers. Perfectly positioned just south of Lake Eerie and bordering the Ohio River to the north, there are 92 counties in the state of Ohio with boating areas ranging from open lakes with boat docking to secluded streams and rivers for canoeing or fishing.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources governs laws pertaining to boating in Ohio. All boats must be licensed or registered in the state, with the exception of out-of-state boats, in which case licensing regulations are reciprocated with other states and no additional licensing is required for use under 60 days. It is also required by the state of Ohio that operators of watercraft powered by more than 10HP must successfully pass a boater's education course or proficiency exam if they were born on or after January 1, 1982. Additional laws pertaining to boating in Ohio can be obtained from the Ohio DNR.

With all rules and regulations adhered to and out of the way, there are a variety of opportunities for boating in Ohio. The Ohio River affords boating enthusiasts opportunities to experience all boating has to offer including sailing, skiing, fishing, canoeing, and swimming. To the northern borders, Lake Eerie, the Sandusky River, and Sandusky Bay afford boaters similar luxuries. There are literally hundreds of bodies of water across the state to experience the thrill or relaxation of boating.

Whether you have a motor boat or not, boating in Ohio encompasses all aspects of watercraft fun. Enjoy the fishing in many of the smaller rivers and streams or the thrill of speed boating and water skiing on the larger lakes. Many Ohio lakes and rivers play host to boat races, including Springfield Lake's Rock the Docks celebration, Thunder on the Ohio, which though hosted in Evansville, Indiana actually takes place on the Ohio River, and Eastwood Lake in Riverside hosts several boat races each year.

If speed isn't your thing, but leisurely floating along a stream or river in a canoe or johnboat is, there are plenty of places where angling, kayaking, and canoeing are ideal. The Cuyahoga River, Grand River, Ottawa River, Stillwater River, and Twin Creek, all offer slower paced boating. Opportunities abound for fishing and downstream relaxation in numerous streams and rivers across five primary regions.

Though boating in Ohio experiences seasonal peaks, it is still an enjoyable venture for residents and non-residents alike. Ohio is equipped with many storage facilities where storing watercraft in the off-season is both convenient and affordable. For year-round enjoyment, look into the many private lake communities where residential homes and seasonal rentals are available. Lake Choctaw, Buckeye Lake, and Shawnee Hills Lake are but a few lake communities strewn throughout Ohio where boating and living go hand in hand.