Month: June 2010

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Ohio's Summer Festivals

Riverboats along the Ohio River in Cincinnati,...
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Columbus, Ohio – The Buckeye State is home to some of the country’s premier summer festivals and celebrations of small-town Americana, and offers a number of ways to get in a festive mood this summer. Whether you’re interested in grooving to the foot-stomping sounds of Celtic song and dance or feeling the power of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they zoom above your head, this year’s Ohio festival lineup can’t be missed.

Following is just a sampling of amazing summer festivals celebrating music, the arts, culture and chapters of American history. For more fun, budget-friendly travel ideas close to home, check, follow us on Twitter@DiscoverOhio or “Like” the Ohio Tourism Division on Facebook at

Festival Fun for the Whole Family

Check out the riverboat town for the sweet, family-friendly Marietta Sweet Corn Festival, July 16 – 17. Enjoy hot buttered Ohio sweet corn served fresh on the cob and piping hot. Bring the whole family to experience a wide variety of delicious foods, prepared by local restaurants, or participate in events for all ages, such as cornhole tournaments and historical re-enactments. Pet your favorite farm animal, experience a fun hayride or tour Marietta’s historic downtown along the Ohio River. Highlights of this year’s event include live performances from local and regional performers Matt First Band, The Faculty and Todd Burge and the Odd Urges.

Check out the festival that’s sure to leave you seeing double (and possibly triple) at the Twins Day Festival, Aug. 6 – 8. Every year, more than 2,000 sets of twins, triplets and multiples gather in Twinsburg for the Double Take Parade, live entertainment, fireworks and more, making this the world’s largest annual gathering of twins and one of Ohio’s most unique festivals.

Wilkommen! Bucyrus is known for its German-rich heritage and the aroma of brats as they sizzle on a grill at the annualBucyrus Bratwurst Festival, Aug. 19 – 21. Known for its authentic bratwurst makers, Bucyrus welcomes the whole family for some open-fire-roasted bratwurst, parades, art shows, rides and games. Also, make sure to stick around to see which Bucyrus-native is crowned the Bratwurst Festival Queen and cheer on riders in the best “wurst” bicycle race!

Groove to Your own Beat

Macy’s Music Festival is a two-night extravaganza of R&B, jazz, hip-hop and soul in the heart of Cincinnati and dates back to 1962. From July 30 – 31, this larger-than-life music experience features national acts including Charlie Wilson, Maze (featuring Frankie Beverly), En Vogue, Jill Scott and more. Clap your hands, stomp your feet and discover why Macy’s Music Festival is more than just a concert!

Known as one of the biggest and best Irish festivals in the country, the Dublin Irish Festival (Aug. 6 – 8) provides an authentic Irish experience without traveling to the Emerald Isle. More than 60 musical acts from the United States and Ireland liven up seven stages and feature bands performing different styles of Irish music. Discover Ireland’s traditional instruments while learning to play the fiddle or tin whistle. Other highlights include Celtic sports, hands-on workshops, an area to research your genealogy and a 10th-century authentic Irish village.

This year’s Lebanon Blues Festival (Aug. 7) isn’t just a celebration of blues music, though there will be eight different blues bands rocking the live entertainment stage. Check out live performances from No Saints No Saviors, Bryan Lee, Robin Lacy and DeZydeco, and Them Bones. Make sure to channel your inner dragster and check out the Blues, BBQ and Bumpers car show for delicious barbeque and 150 classic road warriors like hot rods and roadsters. Best of all, admission is free.

Celebrations of Art and Culture

Celebrate the end of American slavery and fight for the continuing struggle for freedom at the Juneteenth Cincinnati festival in beautiful Eden Park, July 19 – 20. This free festival features a unique parade of flags of the African Diaspora, speeches from Frederick Douglass and President Lincoln re-enactors. Check out live entertainment featuring music genres such as jazz, gospel, blues, reggae and R&B and be inspired by performers as they dance to these beats rooted in African-American culture.

Check out the two-day Zanesville Y-Bridge Arts Festival, Aug. 6 – 8, and watch as Zanesville’s famous Y Bridge is transformed into a stunning outdoor gallery showcasing multi-media artwork and fine contemporary crafts from more than 50 artists. Additional highlights include live entertainment and gourmet treats from local restaurants. Enjoy pottery, blacksmith and fiber arts demonstrations and a children’s activity area for the little ones in the family.

Revel in the bright colors, delicious food and hip-swinging music of central Ohio’s Hispanic culture at the Festival Latino in Columbus’ Genoa Park, Aug. 14 – 15. The perfect way to heat up the summer, this amazing festival features multiple stages of continuous salsa, cumbia, meringue, norte ño and banda music. Sample traditional Latin fare, dance to the beats of a Mexican mariachi band or peruse the marketplace for Ecuadorian crafts and Mayan jewelry.

Calling all History Buffs!

Witness the majesty of the Tall Ships festival when it returns to Cleveland July 7 – 11 for a sailing spectacle of historic proportions. This four-day historical celebration includes spectacular vessels representative of maritime history from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 to Great Lakes trading schooners, Baltimore Clippers and more. A family-friendly event, the festival offers live entertainment and a children’s play area. Visit the maritime marketplace and tour these magnificent ships to learn more about their history and how they operated.

Check out the Summer Moon Festival in Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta July 15 – 17 and test your sleuthing skills at the moon rock hunt or visit the kid-friendly, rocket-building demonstration. One of the most unique and fun activities during the festival is the moon pie eating contest where contestants battle to see who can down the largest combination of chocolate and marshmallow heaven. Other highlights include wiener dog races, festival rides and live music entertainment from regional acts.

Join aviation enthusiasts from around the country to celebrate Dayton’s aviation heritage during one of the country’s leading air shows. At the Vectren Dayton Air Show, July 17 – 18, feel the adrenalin rush as the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds make a return appearance and push their F-16 Fighting Falcons to the limit in a display of speed, skill, power and precision. The event also showcases world-class aerobatic champions, military jet demonstrations and entertainment for everyone.

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Ohio Public Shooting Ranges

Shooting range near Pittsburgh, PA.
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AKRON, OH- Public shooting ranges operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife are located statewide, allowing hunters to practice their shooting skills for the upcoming season.  Six different counties including Harrison, Jefferson, Medina, Portage, Trumbull, and Wayne offer rifle, pistol, shotgun, or archery ranges.

Ranges are classified by the type of facilities offered and whether they are supervised.   A class “A” range requires a shooting range permit for all persons 18 years and older. Shooters age 17 and under are not required to purchase a permit, but must be accompanied by and directly monitored by an adult (age 18 years or older) holding a valid shooting range permit. This permit, available at all hunting and fishing license outlets, partially offsets the cost of the shooting range attendant, restroom facilities, maintenance, trash removal, and improvements. 

In northeast Ohio, only the Grand River Wildlife Area range in Trumbull County is a class “A” range.  It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Wednesday through Sunday.  Hours of operation for other class “A” ranges may vary, however all are closed every Monday and Tuesday as well as the following dates: Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day (also closed all of January and February).

The remaining ranges are class “B, C, and D” ranges. These ranges are open free-of-charge, no permit is required, and no range attendant or restroom facilities are provided. Archery ranges are open everyday except during holidays, sunrise to sunset.

Harrison State Forest in Harrison County and Fernwood State Forest in Jefferson County both offer class “O” shooting ranges which are operated by the ODNR Division of Forestry

The annual shooting range permit is $24.00 and allows the permit holder to access Class “A” ranges throughout the year. A one-day shooting range permit is $5.00 and allows permit holder to access a Class “A” range for one visit (the permit is valid only once). These permits partially offset the cost of the shooting range attendant, restroom facilities, maintenance, trash removal, and improvements. 

Other ranges, owned and operated by a wide variety of organizations are also available throughout northeast Ohio. Contact Wildlife District Three at (330) 644-2293 for more information on other ranges in or near your county.  

NOTE: All ranges are subject to closing during inclement weather or flooding conditions. Range users are advised to contact the range number provided or call the District Three office at (330) 644-2293 for range conditions. 

Click here to view information on shooting ranges

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Consumption Advisory Lifted For Pymatuning

The Pymatuning Reservoir, a man made lake in O...
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Harrisburg – The departments of Environmental Protection and Health, and the Fish and Boat Commission have lifted the “Do Not Eat” consumption advisory for all species of fish taken from Pymatuning Reservoir and Tamarack Lake in Crawford County. 

Fish tissue samples tested by the Fish and Boat Commission and Cornell University determined the large fish kills in both lakes were the result of a Columnaris outbreak. Columnaris is a naturally occurring bacterium that was triggered by several stressors, including rapidly warming waters during the spawning season.

The commonwealth’s Interagency Fish Consumption Advisory Technical Workgroup verified the findings. 

DEP also tested water quality and fish tissue samples. The preliminary results show no contaminants of concern for persons who consume fish from the lakes or for downstream water supplies.

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Back From Columbus

Image by lcthulou via Flickr

Sorry haven’t been posting the latest and greatest because I’ve been in Columbus for Jamie’s orientation at Columbus College of Art and Design. It was stressful: She’s been having cold feet since graduation. It was nice to get to Columbus and see old friends, old neighborhoods, and to have CCAD welcome us into their Community. Things are real now for her: She’s ready to go and fly.

SO, While I go through Personal and Work Emails this weekend, I’ll Be listening to Indie Wax’s RustBelt Rock Radio Podcast. You Should Too.

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ODNR On Facebook, Youtube and Twitter

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has launched its social media campaign in an effort to provide residents and visitors with information on the great outdoors as well as other department programs, services and events. ODNR can now be found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The new Facebook page will allow the public to interact with each other as well as ODNR. Fans that choose to “like” this page will not only learn about great outdoor events, but also conservation programs and volunteer activities the department offers across Ohio. To complement the new Facebook page, ODNR will provide updates on its Twitter account, where the public can sign up to receive short, timely messages. Additionally, videos on wildlife, boating, recycling and more can be found on the ODNR YouTube channel.

“We’re excited to expand our communications efforts and provide the public with new venues to discuss natural resources issues,” said ODNR Director Sean Logan. “As technology continues to evolve, our goal is to offer communications to our constituents and other key audiences in a variety of formats that are easy to find and use.”

Social media outlets are becoming increasingly popular among all demographics. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, are among the most dominant examples of socialized media. These sites generate a dynamic location that is used to build relationships between individuals and organizations. is listed as the number one most visited website in the world. The social networking site has more than 540 million unique visitors monthly, or 32 percent of the current online population.

To become a member of the ODNR Facebook page, visit, log in, and click on the “like” button. To follow ODNR on Twitter, visit and click “follow.” To acces the ODNR YouTube channel, visit

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

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ODNR's "National Get Outdoors" Day Evants and Activities

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COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) invites Ohioans and visitors to celebrate the annual National Get Outdoors Day this weekend by ramping up participation in outdoor activities. Get outside and get active at one of Ohio’s scenic state recreation areas.

There are many ODNR activities and events scheduled across the state that will help individuals and families reconnect with the outdoors and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.

Many of State Parks have an array of events and activities slated for this Saturday and Sunday.  Go to for the latest on events in your area.

Those who are seeking beautiful trails can visit ODNR’s Ohio trails web site, It provides a comprehensive list of ODNR hiking, biking, mountain biking, ATV and equine trails statewide. Once the final phase of the web site is complete, it will provide outdoor enthusiasts with interactive features that will allow them to find trails that best suit their needs and abilities.

For the wildflower lover, don’t miss the latest ODNR Natural Areas Discovery Series event on Saturday, June 12.  The Ladyslipper Open House will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Portage County and is a rare opportunity to see one of Ohio’s most lovely wildflowers – the pink lady’s slipper orchid – blooming naturally in this unique wetland area.  This event is limited so please reserve your place by calling 440-632-3010.

For parents who are looking for an exciting, hands-on outing that will get the youngsters involved in the outdoors, this weekend is a great time to get involved in the ODNR’s free Explore the Outdoors program. It provides Ohio parents and youth leaders with an easy guide to lead Ohio’s young people, particularly those in grades 1-5, into the outdoors. The program also provides an interactive online resource that families can use to find exciting outdoor activities and events.

The program’s engaging activity guide recommends a variety of fun outdoor activities, including Spot a BirdHike a Trail or Camp Under the Stars. All of the activities in the book can be accomplished at state parks, forests, preserves and wildlife areas throughout Ohio. Families can also complete some of the activities at local parks, green spaces or even at home.

Explore the Outdoors participants can find special activity completion codes posted at welcome centers and kiosks in participating ODNR and partner facilities statewide. Children who enter at least two codes on the Explore the Outdoors web site,, will receive a printable certificate signed by Gov. Ted Strickland. Participants are also eligible for prizes the more codes they enter online and if they send in the detachable postcard.  Special Explore the Outdoors events are also posted on the Explore the Outdoors web site.

The Explore the Outdoors web site provides activity guides for free download and a listing of special Explore the Outdoors events. Parents can contact 614-784-PLAY (7529) or explore@dnr.state.oh.usfor additional information or to request activity guides and program resources.

ODNR appreciates Explore the Outdoors sponsors who share a desire to improve the health of Ohio children and families by getting them outdoors. Sponsors include ODNR Division of Recycling, ODNR Division of Watercraft, American Heart Association, GreenBird and Highlights.

National Get Outdoors Day is an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people are inspired and motivated to get outdoors. Partnerships between federal, state and local agencies help make Get Outdoors Day a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure aimed at reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting children to the outdoors.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at

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"Paddle at the Point" World Record: Video

Here’s a time lapse video of the record setting “Paddle at the Point” event last Saturday. Sorry I Couldn’t Make: Jamie’s Graduation intervened.

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PA Hunt Clubs: Plan Your Junior Pheasant Hunt Now

HARRISBURG – While Pennsylvania’s junior pheasant hunt seems like a long way off, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe noted that now is the time for hunting clubs to make plans to host an organized junior pheasant hunt.

“The future of hunting is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians,” Roe noted. “The goal is to successfully compete with all the other activities and recreational opportunities that vie for a young person’s time. It’s truly a challenge for the Game Commission, as well as Pennsylvania’s one million hunters.

“To maximize this opportunity for younger hunters, and to ensure we pass along the importance of ethics and sound ideals that have shaped our hunting heritage, the Game Commission and Pheasants Forever urge local clubs to consider hosting a junior pheasant hunt in their community.”

Those clubs interested in hosting a junior pheasant hunt are encouraged to use the 26-page planning guide prepared by the Game Commission and the Pennsylvania State Chapter of Pheasants Forever.  The booklet offers a step-by-step guide on how to develop an organized junior pheasant hunt.  The guide-book includes: a sample timeline; suggested committees and assignments; general event planning considerations; and several sample forms and news releases.  It also includes event evaluation guides so clubs and organizations may consider changes for future junior pheasant hunts.

The guide can be viewed on the Game Commission’s website, by clicking on “Hunting” in the left-hand column of the homepage, then selecting the pheasant photo and then choosing “Junior Pheasant Hunt Planning Guide.”  Later this year, the agency will update this section to include a listing of locations that the Game Commission plans to release birds for the 2009 junior pheasant hunts, as well as a listing of all the junior pheasant hunts being hosted by local clubs.

To participate in the junior pheasant hunt, youngsters must be 12 to 16 years of age, and must have successfully completed a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course.  As required by law, an adult must accompany the young hunters.  Participating hunters do not need to purchase a junior hunting license to take part in the youth pheasant hunt, but all participants must wear the mandatory 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined, visible from 360 degrees.

To bolster participation in the junior pheasant hunt, the Game Commission again plans to stock pheasants just prior to this special season.  For the 2010 hunt, the agency will release 15,000 birds on lands open to public hunting.  These areas will be identified in the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, as well as in future Game Commission news releases and on the agency’s website (

Additionally, the Game Commission will provide, free of charge, a limited number of pheasants to those clubs that host a junior pheasant hunt. Applications must be received by July 31, and the only two stipulations to be eligible is that clubs must have registration open to the public and must be held on lands open to public hunting.

Based on previous surveys, about half of the junior participants successfully bagged game; a male relative had accompanied most of them; the majority of participants were between the ages of 12 and 14; and many of them intend to hunt again.  The agency also received many positive comments about the junior hunting opportunity.

Pheasants Forever is a national non-profit habitat conservation organization with a system of hard-working local chapter volunteers dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasants and other wildlife populations.  Pheasants Forever emphasizes habitat improvement, public awareness and education, and land management policies that benefit private landowners and wildlife alike.  For more information, visit the organization’s website (

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PA 2010-2011 Hunting Licenses On Sale June 14th

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and eight Chicks
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HARRISBURG – Beginning Monday, June 14, Pennsylvania hunting and furtaker licenses for the 2010-11 seasons will go on sale throughout the state, according to Carl G. Roe, agency executive director.  Licenses will be available through the Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS), over-the-counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as the more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents.  Licenses also are available through the PALS website:

For the 2010-11 license year, all fees are the same as they have been since 1999.  However, there is a 70-cent transaction fee attached to the purchase of each license and permit, which is paid directly to Automated License Systems, the Nashville-based company that runs PALS.

“PALS enabled the Game Commission to modernize the licensing system and improve security,” Roe said. “To ensure faster processing, personal information is now recorded through a Pennsylvania driver’s license scan. This eliminates data entry; provides a more secure, reliable and accurate means to gather and store license holder records; and eliminates license buyer duplicity.

“For all these reasons – and more – the Game Commission has eliminated paper applications. Nonresidents who have always submitted a paper application will need to use PALS either on the agency’s website or at an issuing agent. It’s fast, easy and secure.”

Roe noted that all license-issuing agents are now part of an integrated, real-time, cyber network that allows them to offer licenses that up until now simply could not be provided via the old license system.

“Now all license agents can issue senior lifetime licenses; Mentored Youth Hunting Program permits; elk drawing applications; bobcat and fisher permits; even resident landowner reduced-fee hunting licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program Harvest (DMAP) permits,” Roe said. “Hunters also can purchase the special spring gobbler license, which allows them to harvest a second gobbler in the 2011 spring gobbler season.”

New features this year will be the rotation of up to 10 random survey questions of which a license buyer may be asked one question that requires a positive, negative or no response. Additional survey questions may be asked of specific constituents based upon the license privileges they purchase.

Roe also noted, as originally envisioned by the U.S. Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly, PALS now will enable the agency to suspend issuing licenses to those, who through court order, have had their hunting license privileges revoked for failure to pay child support.

Roe reminded hunters that, under state law, only Pennsylvania County Treasurers may issue antlerless deer licenses. However, thanks to PALS, county treasurers now may issue an antlerless deer license for any WMU, so long as its allocation isn’t sold out.

Applications for the regular round of antlerless deer licenses for residents begins July 12, and nonresidents can apply beginning July 26.  An antlerless license application will be printed with every general license purchased, and an application also will be available in the 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping Digest for the first and second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses. Except for Wildlife Management Units (WMU) 2B, 5C and 5D, hunters only may apply for one license during each application period.

“Hunters will need to continue using pink envelopes to mail antlerless deer license applications to the county treasurer of their choice to process the applications and mail back antlerless deer licenses,” Roe said. “Hunters will have the option of listing their first, second and third WMU preferences for doe licenses on their applications. Treasurers will fill the highest WMU preference listed by the hunter. This option will eliminate reapplication for a doe license if your first WMU preference – or second – is sold out. However, hunters do not need to list alternative WMUs if they only plan to hunt in one specific WMU.”

A list of all County Treasurer mailing addresses is included in the 2010-11 Digest, which is provided to each license buyer. More details on the new procedures for applying for a doe license can be found in the Digest, which has been posted in the right-hand column of the agency’s website (

Another change will be the new look and feel of licenses. The yellow strip – similar to a fishing license – will fit into your old license holder, or one of the smaller new ones. Carcass tags are different-looking, too. They’re squarer, have perforated holes and are preprinted with your name and address. Licenses will fold into a 2.5-inch by 3.5-inch, tear-resistant document.

Roe reminded hunters that, in conjunction with the move to PALS, the Game Commission now is able to accept online harvest reports for deer, wild turkey, bobcat and fisher.  In addition to reporting deer and wild turkey harvests within the prescribed time limits, those who possess a DMAP, bobcat or fisher permit are required to report, regardless of whether they harvested an antlerless deer, bobcat or fisher, respectively.  Each online harvest report costs the Game Commission 50 cents.

“A hard-copy of the postage-paid report card still will be available in the 2010-11 Digest, but the agency is hoping hunters will report online to save on the cost of postage and data entry,” Roe said. “Reporting online also will ensure your harvest data will not be lost in the mail.”

Waterfowl and migratory game bird seasons are not included in the 2010-11 Digest, as those seasons won’t be established until mid-August.  Once seasons are set, the Game Commission will produce the annual Guide to Migratory Game Bird Hunting brochure, which will be posted on the agency’s website ( and mailed to U.S. Post Offices.  However, applications and directions for the public drawing to waterfowl hunting blinds in the controlled hunting areas at the Game Commission’s Pymatuning and Middle Creek wildlife management areas are in the 2010-11 Digest.

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Buying, Registering and Titling a Used Boat in Ohio

Fishing boat
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COLUMBUS, OH – Finding a boat to fit your needs may mean purchasing a used boat instead of a new boat. When buying a used boat from a private seller, whether it’s your neighbor or through a newspaper or online ad, it’s important to ensure your purchase is legal, which allows for proper registration and titling.

Whatever type of used boat you are buying, the same general rules apply. Follow these tips and you can buy a used boat with confidence, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft.

Most importantly, know the titling and registration laws for boats not only in the state where you live (, but also the state where the boat is coming from. Know if the boat/outboard motor is required to have a title, because if you buy a boat that should have a title but doesn’t, you likely won’t be able to register it. All out-of-state boats, boats that do not have a 12-character hull ID, and boats without a proper title need to be inspected by a State Watercraft Officer before an Ohio title (or a registration) can be issued. All outboard motors that are 10 HP and more are required to be titled in the State of Ohio, but not registered.

Other homework to do before contacting the seller:

Before you buy, call your local State Watercraft office to clarify what you are going to need, paper-wise, to legally register the boat; be sure to include all related details when you call, such as: “I’m looking at buying a 16-ft. fishing boat with a 40HP outboard from a guy in Indiana. What do I need to get it registered in Ohio?” This will keep surprises to a minimum, help you determine the worth of the boat, and ensure legal registration and titling in Ohio.

When you contact the seller, be sure to ask:

  • Is the boat registered in Ohio? If so, what are the “OH” numbers?
  • Do you have the registration paper or card for this boat? Is it in your name?
  • Do you have a title (if required by state law) for this boat outboard motor if 10 HP or more and being purchased in Ohio in your name? If the title is not in the seller’s name, you may not be able to title the boat/outboard motor in your name – which means you won’t ever be able to register it.
  • Why are you selling the boat? This question can give you some clues as to how well the boat has been looked after before you even see it.
  • What comes with the boat (trailer, safety equipment, etc.)? If the equipment needed to transport or operate the boat is not included, build that into your cost for purchasing the boat. NOTE: If a trailer is involved, be sure the required paperwork is included for it, too. Trailers in Ohio are registered through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles annually, like car license plates. That is a different procedure from getting the boat registration changed.

If any of the answers seem suspicious or if the seller is not forthcoming with information, walk away. For more information on boat registration and titling requirements, call 1-877-4Boater (toll free in Ohio) or 614-265-6480.

When you meet the seller in person:

  • Ask to see his/her photo ID, the title (if the boat/outboard motor requires one) and the registration.
  • Make sure the hull ID number on the registration and the serial number on the outboard motor matches the title (if the boat/outboard motor requires a title). Make sure the seller’s name is on both documents.
  • Look at the boat’s maintenance log. This should list all services, repairs and oil changes. If it’s missing, it can be hard to tell how well the boat has been looked after.
  • You should also ask what the boat was used for, which may affect its condition. For example, boats that are used mainly for skiing tend to run up a large number of engine hours. However, this may not be an issue if the boat was properly maintained.

When checking out the boat itself:

  • Find the hull ID number and make sure it doesn’t look like it has been tampered with and that it matches the number on the boat’s registration and title documents. Write it down or make a pencil tracing (place the paper over the hull ID and rub the side of the pencil lead over the stamp or etching).
  • Look at obvious features, such as the gel coat, woodwork and upholstery. If these haven’t been maintained then there’s a good chance the rest of the boat has not had much care either.
  • Inspect all wooden decking and interior woodwork for any soft spots.
  • Are any parts of the exterior paintwork poorly matched? This may indicate an accident which, in itself, may not be enough to dismiss the boat, but if the owner has not already mentioned it to you, then what else have they not told you?
  • Check that all control cables are in good working order.
  • Look for water lines inside the boat or on the engine. These would indicate that the boat has flooded in the past.
  • Open and close all the hatches and sea cocks to ensure they’re in good working order. If there are any water marks inside the hatches, it would indicate that they are no longer water-tight.
  • Test out all the systems: bilge pump, winches, freshwater system, lights, heater and air conditioning, generator, stove etc.
  • Check that all hardware is attached firmly, and that electrical items and connections are free from rust.
  • On a sail boat, check that all the sails and rigging are in good working order by rigging the boat.

Check the engine:

  • Check for the presence of oil in the bilges—a sign of an oil leak.
  • Check for any oil leaks around gaskets and hoses.
  • Inspect the level and condition of the oil. A milky appearance to the oil is a sign that water may be leaking into the engine. A burned smell or any grit in the oil is additional indications of mechanical problems, while a chalky residue on the engine or drive would signal that the engine has been running hot.
  • Pull out one of the spark plugs and examine it for age. If it’s old, perhaps the engine hasn’t been serviced as often as it should.
  • Examine all the hoses and belts. Are they cracked or degraded? Smell for fuel leaks, and check that the fuel tanks are sound.
  • Get a compression check on the engine or have a boat mechanic check it out for you.

Buying the boat

  • If the boat hasn’t been tested on the water, include that as a contingency in the purchase agreement.
  • Be sure you have all the paperwork before you pay.
  • Pay with a cashier’s check made out to the seller.
  • The boat and outboard motor (if 10 HP or more) must be titled within 30 days after purchase. The boat can not be registered until the title (if a title is required) is transferred in your name. This also is required to be completed within 30 days.

Once you have your boat legally titled and register, it’s time to go boating. Information on boating safety programs, tips and where to enjoy boating may be found at

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

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