Polk County Recorder


New and/or transferred vessels are registered with the Polk County Recorder. All boat registrations expired on April 30th, 2016 and are subject to a $5.00 penalty. Boat fees are based on the length and type of the boat (see table below).

Type of TransactionFee
New Boat or Reactivate - Documented Vessel $29.90
Renew Registration - Documented Vessel $29.90*
New Boat or Reactivate - All personal watercraft $49.90
Renew Registration - All personal Watercraft $49.90*
New Boat or Reactivate - Any length, without motor or sail $16.90
Renew Registration - Any length, without motor or sail $16.90*
New Boat or Reactivate - Less than 16ft (Motor/Sail) $27.40
Renew Registration - Less than 16ft (Motor/Sail) $27.40*
New Boat or Reactivate - 16ft to under 26ft (Motor/Sail) $40.90
Renew Registration - 16ft to under 26ft (Motor/Sail) $40.90*
New Boat or Reactivate - 26ft to under 40ft (Motor/Sail) $79.90
Renew Registration - 26ft to under 40ft (Motor/Sail) $79.90*
New Boat or Reactivate - 40ft and over (Motor/Sail) $154.90
Renew Registration - 40ft and over (Motor/Sail) $154.90*
Duplicate Registration $3.75
Transfers - On Current Registrations $3.75

*$5.00 Penalty May Apply/ Add $1.00 Handling Fee If Mailing in Payment

Transfers need bill of sale, title if (applicable) and registration all signed by seller.

Boat Titles
Boats with a lien and boats that are 17' and over in length (except canoes and kayaks) are required to be titled.

The fee for boat titles are:

  • Title Fees: $12.75
  • Lien Fees: $12.75
  • Duplicate Title Fees: $12.75

Application for Boat Certificate of Title


Effective July 1, 2005 per the Iowa Department of Revenue:

  • Per section 45 of SF 413 amended Iowa Code section 423.3(39).
  • Sales of all recreational vehicles are subject to the 6% State sales tax (plus any local option taxes). This applies to sales by individuals and dealers.
  • Anyone purchasing a boat from an individual should obtain a receipt that shows the cost of the boat. The buyer will then pay the sales tax on the cost of the boat to the County Recorder.
  • If a trailer is purchased with the boat, the 5% motor vehicle use tax is paid to the County Treasurer.

Instructions for Boat Decals

Contact Us

Polk County Administration Building
111 Court Avenue Ste 250
Des Moines, IA 50309-2251
Phone: 515-286-3160
Fax: 515-323-5393