- Written By: Greg Liskow
- Date Written:
BMO is no longer selling them but here is how you now can get them now!
For years we have sold PFBC boat launch permit stickers here at BMO but that changed in 2021 and we are no longer able to sell them. The good news is that you can still get them in person or online.
PA’s new website, Hunt Fish PA (https://huntfish.pa.gov), is a great way to get un-powered boat launch permits. What’s even more convenient is that once you’ve purchased a permit for a boat, that boat is saved to your account and can be renewed in a matter of minutes, without having to re-enter information about your boat!
For more information about where you can get permits and what you’ll need to get them read on! If you want to skip ahead to purchase a boat launch permit on Hunt Fish PA then check out the link below.
Things to know Bookmark this location of the page.
What do Boat Launch Permits allow me to do? Do I need one? Bookmark this location of the page.
Boat launch permits are for un-powered boats. They allow you to use the boat launch accesses that are maintained by the PFBC and State Parks that have lakes or ponds. Much of the cost of a boat launch permit goes to keeping these launches in good condition.
If your boat is powered you will need to register it instead, which also allows you to use these accesses.
Contrary to popular belief not all accesses require a boat launch permit, some are public launches.
Does my boat need to be registered in PA? Bookmark this location of the page.
To keep it brief, if your boat is an un-powered boat (manually propelled such as a canoe, kayak, or SUP without a motor) you shouldn’t need to register your boat.
We do sell fishing kayaks and sometimes canoes that are capable of being equipped with an electric or gas motor. If you do equip these boats with a motor than yes, you will need to register your boat and you will need your boat’s Manufacturer Statement of Origin, a copy of your receipt, and motor information.
For more information on this please check out this FAQ from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Site.
More information about registering/titling boats in PA and on un-powered boat launch permits can be found here.
What do I need in order to purchase a PA Boat Launch Permit? Bookmark this location of the page.
You’ll need to provide some personal information and of course need to pay for it. Here is some of the personal info you may need to have at hand before getting a permit.
- your name
- home address
- social security number
- driver’s license information
- Passport or VISA information
- customer number (may be C.I.D. on receipt)
Not all this info may be needed if you are trying to access your account through Hunt Fish PA. A passport or visa is likely needed for non-US citizens or for Visa citizenship.
Your customer number is a 9-digit number issued to you on your first purchase of a fishing or hunting license, registering/titling a boat, a boat launch permit, etc. in PA. You’ll likely find this on a receipt of a past purchase.
For your boat, you will need the following information -
- make (manufacturer) of your boat
- model of your boat
- model year
- hull identification number (H.I.N.) - (optional, but may be required in the future)
Your make and model should be easy to find labeled on the boat. The H.I.N. of your boat is a 12-digit alphanumeric serial that should be on the right side of the stern (back of the boat), usually around the waterline. If you are unsure about what the model year of your boat is it is located at the last 2 digits of the H.I.N., for example -
– is more than likely a 2018 model year boat.
ZPA23456A696 – is more than likely a 1996 model year boat.
H.I.N.s are sometimes etched in and can be hard to read. You can take a piece of white chalk and rub the H.I.N. on the boat or hold a flashlight at an angle to make it easier to read. Boat’s manufactured outside of, but sold in the United States may not have a proper H.I.N.
Ways to purchase a PA Boat Launch Permit Bookmark this location of the page.
You can buy them online or in person. We recommend buying online personally, especially at the time of writing. You can print a temporary one online while the sticker may take time to produce due to covid-19. You can also download the permit to your phone.
Online through Hunt Fish PA. Bookmark this location of the page.
You can visit Hunt Fish PA (https://huntfish.pa.gov) to get a boat launch permit. On Hunt Fish PA’s landing page you will need to access your account before purchasing anything. You can logon to your account in one of two ways from the landing page.
Account Lookup – You’re a returning customer. Bookmark this location of the page.
If you have purchased a fishing or hunting license, registered/titled a boat, or a boat launch permit in the past you likely already have an account, even if you have done so in person (having provided your personal information).
You will want to use the “Account Lookup” option to access your account. We recommend finding your customer number if you know it, all other information you’ll need to provide then is your birthdate and the last 4 digits of your social security number.
Create New Account – You’re making a purchase for the first time. Bookmark this location of the page.
If you are making a purchase for the first time you need to create a new account. You’ll likely need to provide all of the personal information listed above.
Purchasing on Hunt Fish PA Bookmark this location of the page.
Once you have logged onto your account it’s pretty easy going from there. You may be prompted to enter, review, and/or validate your personal information. After that you should be able to get to the customer dashboard, where you can buy a boat launch permit under the section “Boat Registration Renewals and Launch Permits”.
Below is a Youtube video provided by PA Fish and Boat that goes into detail on buying a fishing license and renewing boat registration.
In Person. Bookmark this location of the page.
You can also buy boat launch permits in person at an authorized issuing agent, a regional commission office or at many state park offices (this would be a DCNR permit). Before you do head out to any of these places please contact them for availability and operating hours.
Authorized Issuing Agent Bookmark this location of the page.
PA Fish and Boat has a web page for finding an authorized issuing agent by county. There is a map of Pennsylvania with its counties and a list of counties to select from. Once you find your county there is a link to a list of agents for that county. Again, please contact them first and confirm they can sell you a permit.
Regional Commission Office Bookmark this location of the page.
PA Fish and Boat also has an ArcGIS map of regions in PA and regional commission office locations. Each of these locations on the map provide a phone number and address.
Many State Park Offices Bookmark this location of the page.
(This will be a DCNR Permit)
According to the PA Fish and Boat website, “many state parks offices” sell boat launch permits; usually those that include a lake. This link below is from the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources for finding state parks.
There are links for finding state parks on a menu to the right on desktop web browsers and near the bottom on mobile web browsers. Each state parks page has contact information that you can use to confirm that they sell boat launch permits.
Placing your boat launch permit stickers Bookmark this location of the page.
Boat launch permit stickers come in pairs of two with identical issuing numbers. Both stickers must be present on the boat to legally launch from a PFBC boat access or State Park launch. Each sticker is about 3” x 3”, placement of each sticker should be near midship on opposite sides of the boat on the outside of the hull just below the rails for canoes, on the top of kayaks near the cockpit, as visible as possible from the shoreline.
There can be some leniency for placement of these stickers, but you must have both stickers on each side of your boat as close to the middle as you can.
Adhering stickers – hull materials. Bookmark this location of the page.
Before you slap that sticker on your boat you’ll want to clean the boat surface to assure the best contact. Most important is that you know whether your boat is polyethylene (plastic, usually thick), aluminum, or a composite or composite hybrid (fiberglass, Aramid, Ineggra, Carbon, etc.). Using a lighter/torch on a composite hull will damage the boat!
Composite or Composite Hybrid, and Aluminum Bookmark this location of the page.
Never use a lighter/torch on a composite boat! Dampen a clean cloth with 70% - 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and clean a small area of the boat where you are applying the sticker. (If aluminum boats are oxidized, white vinegar is helpful to remove the residue) Let dry then apply the sticker, using an old credit card or something similar try to carefully remove any visible air bubbles.
Polyethylene Boats (Plastic) Bookmark this location of the page.
The majority of kayaks currently sold have a roto-molded polyethylene hull, a process of spinning a mold while being filled with melted polyethylene to form a one-piece hull. These molds are lined with mold release oil to free the cooled off hull.
Roto-molded hulls almost always have mold release oil on them when they are new. For best results you will want to remove this oil prior to adhering the stickers.
Several polyethylene boats also have some rough surfaces by design, you will want to avoid putting stickers on these surfaces and instead opt for a smooth surface.
To clean the area and remove as much mold release oil as possible, dampen a clean cloth with 70% - 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and clean the area you are placing the sticker. Let the alcohol air dry completely, then glaze the area with a flame from a small lighter or torch. Practice using the lighter on the palm of your hand first, you’re trying to move the flame over the surface fast enough to prevent burning your hand. Use faster movements for thinner plastics.
Let it cool down, then apply your sticker and use an old credit card to smooth out any air bubbles.
Less expensive kayaks may be blow-molded two-piece; usually identified as one color on the deck and a different one on the hull. The process is the same as above.
Polyethylene Boats Only!
Showing how fast to apply a flame to the surface of a polyethylene boat. After the boat is cleaned with rubbing alcohol and air dried, this helps burn off excess mold release oil.
We hope this information helps! Bookmark this location of the page.
Hopefully this helps getting a boat launch permit in PA. Much of this information comes from a page on the PA Fish and Boat website listed below.
Don’t forget that Cold Weather Life Jacket Regulations are in effect from November 1st through April 30th and all paddlers in non-powered boats are required to wear PFD’s during this timeframe. We do, however, urge all paddlers to wear PFD’s at all times to ensure not only their safety, but also the safety of others on the water.
Thanks for Reading!
- The BMO Gang
( Doug, Mary, Tim, Jeff, Sarah & Greg )