Registering a Canoe in Ohio

So Chris B. comes over from Missouri to spend a couple days with me, just to hang out this past weekend.  I knew Chris from the Air Force.  He had been my crew chief on my last flight.


On Friday I decided we would take out the canoe I had built – put it on the Maumee River for a bit.  It is a 19-foot, redwood ‘strip’ river canoe.  I had it out earlier the year, just by myself to see if the damn thing would float, and discovered it really needed 2 people to operate.


Before we could take it out on the river I had to have it registered.  (On the ‘test run’ here I just paddled around in the cove a bit to see how it would handle.)  Okay, no worries.  Somewhere along the line I picked up that I could register it at the ‘Bass Pro Shop.’  That made sense; they sell boats and canoes and all over there… and that was the fundamental error in my thinking.  Thinking that ‘that made sense.’  No, they can’t register canoes in Ohio; I have to have that done at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) – even though I don’t have a motor on my canoe…

No worries though; the Ohio BMV is just around the corner (Loop 425) from the Bass Pro Shop, on the way home.  So, off Chris and I go to register my canoe.

Said the Serenity Prayer, as I always do, as I walked into the Ohio BMV.  I’ve found it seems to help when dealing with those fine folks.

As luck would have it, I got right in, without having to take a number.  When I told the lady why I was there, she asked for my ‘inspection.’

“Inspection?” I asked.

Yep, seems like I have to have my canoe inspected.  YGBSM!  “How do I do that?” I asked.

“Well, she said, “you have to contact the Division of Watercraft, Maumee Bay Field Office in Oregon, Ohio (about 20 – 25 miles away).  “The Hell you say,” I thought to myself.  She gave me their card, so when I got out to the truck, I decided to call them…

It seems that I need to have a Ranger come by to inspect the canoe.  And since I built it, I will need receipts for the materials.  I explained to her that  Harry and I bought the redwood almost 3 years ago, and that I didn’t have any receipts.  I told her that I thought he took them with him to the ‘hereafter.’  Went right by her.  She then told me any receipt will do: a receipt for the wood, for the seats, for the epoxy or varnish – anything.  YGBSM!  She went on to tell me, they needed receipts for their computer records.

Well hell, okay.  I think I have some receipts around the shop I might be able to dig out; I’ll see when the spirit moves me.  In the meantime, while I wait for the ranger to call, to set up an appointment to inspect the canoe, I think I’ll go online and order a couple “adult-oriented” toys.  Those receipts might just go nicely with the ones for the epoxy and varnish… wonder what their computer will think of that?

I would love to think of the Ranger getting back to headquarters and handing a fist-full of receipts to the clerk who has to enter them into the computer.  You know, it just might never dawn on them why I would need 4 D-cell batteries for that redwood strip canoe!

She then asked me if she could answer any other questions I might have.  “Well,” I began, “now that you brought it up, what am I going to tell my grandchildren?  I told them that Grampa Bob would take them for a canoe ride this afternoon, and now I can’t.”

She replied, “Well Sir, you’re almost there.”

“Okay,” I said, “I’m sure ‘almost being there’ will help a 4 and 6-year old understand.”  Then she told me that I could take the canoe up to Michigan; that they don’t have registration laws in their state.

“Don’t they care for their people as much as you do, down here in Ohio?” I asked.  Oh crap, she bit!

After that I decided to let her go; she was wearing me out!


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