The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) works to keep the state’s 600,000 acres of lakes and over 90,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks safe to navigate. Boat registration is one way that the AGFC regulates boating in Arkansas. Boating safety education and licensing are other ways that the commission keeps boating a safe sport for all AR water enthusiasts. Keep reading to learn more about AR boating laws, registration and safety courses.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Arkansas

The requirements to register a boat in Arkansas are set by the AGFC but processed through the Department of Finance and Administration. Each boater must follow AR boat registration instructions, which include providing the following at the time of registration:

  • Proof of ownership via a bill of sale for a new boat, or a current or previous registration on a used one
    • A bill of sale must include the hull identification number (HIN), year, make, horsepower, amount of sale and date signatures of the buyer and seller.
  • Proof from county assessor that the vessel was assessed or listed for assessment during the current year
  • Proof of payment of property taxes due by the previous October 10.
  • Insurance card proving $50,000 liability insurance coverage on all watercraft powered by engines with 50 or more horsepower.
  • Clear photo or legible pencil rubbing of HIN. If the vessel does not have a HIN, contact the AGFC at (501) 223-6379 for instructions.

Because there is no specific Arkansas boat registration form, you must visit your state revenue office to obtain a boat registration and apply within 30 days of purchase.

Exemptions from Boat Registration and Titling in Arkansas

If it is propelled by an engine or a sail, then the boat will not meet any definition of common boat registration exemptions in AR and will require registration to be legally operated on the state’s waterways. That’s because exemptions are limited to vessels without engines or sails. Additionally, vessels that are properly registered in another state are included in the category of boats that do not require registration and titling in AR, provided that they are used on AR waters for 90 or fewer consecutive days per calendar year.

Arkansas Boat Insurance

Boat insurance rates in Arkansas must meet the state’s standard for legal operation of motorboats. Although rates may vary between companies, all owners of motorboats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower must carry $50,000 in liability insurance, per occurrence.

Boat insurance programs in Arkansas must be authorized to do business within the state and the policy must reflect that authorization. Although owners of lesser-powered boats are not required to obtain coverage from boat insurance in AR, many choose to obtain liability coverage anyway, to protect themselves against loss in the event of an accident.

Arkansas Boat Registration Fees

Boat registration fees in Arkansas are as follows:

  • Motorboat less than 16 ft. long: $ 7.50
  • Motorboat 16 ft. to less than 26 ft. long: $ 15.00
  • Motorboat 26 ft. to less than 40 ft. long: $ 51.00
  • Motorboat 40 ft. and over: $105.00

The boat registration cost in AR covers a registration that will remain valid for three years. Other registration-related fees include a $2 boat registration transfer fee, and $1 to replace a missing registration.

Renewing Your Arkansas Boat Registration

If you are wondering how to renew your boat registration in Arkansas, you may do so in person at your state revenue office or by mail. Boat registration renewal in AR costs the same as the current initial registration fee for your size of vessel. Make sure you send any mail renewals no later than 15 days prior to the expiration date.

As with initial registration, you should provide HIN verification by presenting a clear printed photo of the number or a legible pencil rubbing of it. Send the required registration items to:

Department of Finance and Administration
Office of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 3153

Little Rock, AR 72203-3153

Replacing Your Arkansas Boat Registration

It is important to replace a boat registration in Arkansas as soon as you realize it is missing or damaged as you must always carry your certificate of number or registration card onboard whenever the vessel is in operation. The steps for replacing your registration are basically the same as the steps for obtaining a new registration, outlined above. However, boat registration replacement in Arkansas only costs $1. You cannot replace a registration online as it must be obtained in person at a state revenue office.

Boater Safety Courses in Arkansas

All boaters born on or after January 1, 1986 must take an official boater safety course in Arkansas before operating a boat. A boater safety course in AR can fulfill this requirement. However, all courses must be approved by the AGFC. Approved ways to take a safety course in AR include free instructor-led classes taught by the AGFC, and Boat Arkansas. This is an approved online boater course, and certification costs $24.50.

Arkansas Boater License

Although not officially referred to as an Arkansas boating license, your boater education card serves the same purpose as a boater license and must be carried any time you are operating a vessel on the state’s waters. Contact the AGFC for information on obtaining an in-person or online boating license (boater education card), which will remain valid for your lifetime.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.