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Water Usage Stamp

Ed Buric

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I just found this and I believe it should be of interest to everyone that uses a watercraft


Sorry for the delay in my response to all of your correspondence. But we wanted to sit down internally and really hash out some of the issues brought up by the paddling community. Here are some decisions that IDNR hopes will ease some concerns. First, the Department is going to continue with the Water Usage Stamp as suggested by the paddling community. Each water usage stamp will be assigned to the watercraft and not the individual. We are going to issue the Water Usage Stamp through the Point of Sale system because it is much easier on the consumer and more efficient then sending them to the department. I know that identity theft was a big concern for many paddlers but we have been working within the Point of Sale system for years and have not had a problem of identity theft. Also the Water Usage Stamp will not go into effect until July 1, 2013. That means that all expired registrations and new purchases would not be required to purchase the Water Usage Stamp until July 1, and the Department is going to honor all existing registrations until they expire. Another major concern from the paddling community was the sticker. Another major concern was the adhesive. IDNR is currently reviewing the adhesive to make sure that it will work on canoes and kayaks. Also the Water Usage Stamp will not be required to be placed on the outside of the watercraft. The Water Usage Stamp will be allowed to be placed on any visible surface on the inside of the boat which should reduce the amount of wear on the sticker. This should also help paddle boarders as well as the sticker can be placed anywhere on the paddleboard as long as it is visible. Another concern was the ability for IDNR Law Enforcement to track down abandoned or stolen watercraft. Each Water Usage Stamp will have an individual number assigned to the stamp which allows the Conservation Police to track lost and stolen. I hope that this helps in alleviating some of the concerns. I have attached another letter to pass along to the rest of the paddling community. Please let me know if you have any questions.




Michael Stevens

Office of Legislation

below is what is written in the attached letter:



The Illinois General Assembly passed the “DNR Sustainability Bill” (P.A 97-1136) on December 7, 2012. This piece of legislation was vital to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), following 10 years of cuts totaling over 50% of the department’s general revenue budget. Passage of this bill will help us hire critical staff to maintain state parks, fix aging infrastructure, speed up regulatory functions, and make a bigger difference in the lives of everyone who utilizes the abundant natural resources in the State of Illinois.

The Sustainability Bill includes a section regarding the Water Usage Stamp. Starting July 1 2013, the Water Usage Stamp will be required yearly for any individual operating a non-powered vessel within the State of Illinois. IDNR raised the price for non-powered vessels from the $6 every three year registration to the $6 Water Usage Stamp annually. The department also removed the requirement to title non powered watercraft.

The elimination of the Certificate of Title and registration of non powered watercraft will help the IDNR significantly reduce the backlog of watercraft registrations which currently takes up to three months. The new method of processing the Water Usage Stamp will be more convenient for those who use non-powered watercraft, and more efficient and cost-effective for IDNR. The Water Usage Stamp will be available at IDNR’s “DNR Direct” point-of-sale vendor locations. Non-powered vessel owners will be able to go to any IDNR point-of-sale vendor (sporting goods store, Wal-Mart, etc.) and purchase a Water Usage Stamp over the counter. The retailer will ask the owner for his/her:

Name and Address

Date of Birth

Social Security or IDNR customer number

Hull ID numbers (optional)

Make, model, and color of the vessel

The previous years’ registration number (optional)


The Water Usage Stamp can then be affixed to the watercraft. Currently DNR is testing the adhesives to make sure that the Water Usage Stamp will adhere properly with non powered watercraft. To help alleviate the concerns of paddlers the sticker may be placed on any visible surface inside of the non powered watercraft to reduce the damage by rocks and debris. This will be a simple and easy way for the paddling community to register their watercraft and benefit boat owners who can now register their watercraft immediately instead of waiting up to 3 months under the old system. The Water Usage Stamp will reduce the number of watercraft registration the IDNR must process each year, will eliminate a confusing and lengthy watercraft registration process for non-powered vessels, and will support IDNR boat safety and enforcement initiatives that help make water-based recreation in Illinois enjoyable for all users.

I hope that this gives you some useful background information regarding the Water Usage Stamp. If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact Michael Stevens with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at (217) 785-0073.

Yours in conservation,

Marc Miller

Department of Natural Resources

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  • 1 month later...

Here is my email correspondence with DNR. I called the different places like Walmart and Big R about the the stamp and they had no idea what was going on even though they are suppose to issue them beginning June 1.


To DNR: "I just purchased a new kayak on 3/9/2013 from Paddle and Trail in Loves Park, IL. Do I need to register this watercraft or just wait for the new water usage stamp to take effect? It did not come with a title or any type of registration info. It does have a serial number on the hull."


From DNR: "Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats will no longer be titled/registered with Illinois UNLESS they have a motor; otherwise customers will be able to purchase a paddle pass at local vendors for $6.00 per calendar year. Please access the attached link. It will allow you to enter the county or city and will display locations as to where you can purchase a paddle pass. They will be available for purchase around June 01 and will be enforced in July: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx



So until the paddle passes are available, I'm going to use my kayak and canoe with the understanding that this is a transition time for the DNR and I will get the stamps when they become available on June 1st. It wiil not be enforced until July 1st. So my understanding is that if you have recently purchased a non motorized watercraft (kayak/canoe) and is has not been registered with the old program, you can use it but you need to get the stamp when it becomes available.


In otherwords, I'm not waiting until the stamps are available (3 months) to use my new kayak and I don't think it will be an issue.


Anyone else have any thoughts on this?



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That's what I have heard about using yaks and canoes this year. DNR will not begin checking until July.

Ask your person at the DNR if we will still be able to register our yaks with them if we choose to do so.

Registering the hull # with the DNR can be a big plus if your yak were to be stolen.

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Guest Jim S.

Thanks Tim, this seems much easier to deal with than the old way and with a new ride coming I can save myself the agrivation of sending paperwork south!

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It could cost me more in the long run, but I like the simplicity. If I decide to use the canoe that's been sitting in my yard for the last 8 years, I just have to get a stamp for it. I've always had an issue with registering/titling a self propelled chunk of plastic.

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