Without a current Arizona boat registration, a vessel cannot legally be operated on the state’s waters. Boater registration through the Arizona Game and Fish Department (ASGFD) proves that a boat’s owner has met the state’s legal standards that protect all boaters.

It also helps sheriff marine deputies to identify vessels and their owners and enforce state boating laws. To learn more about the process of boater registration and how to take boater safety courses in Arizona, review the information in the sections below.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Arizona

Requirements to register a boat in AZ include filling out and submitting an application to the AZGFD in order to legally operate a motorized watercraft. Arizona boat registration instructions are printed on the application, which is available online and includes helpful definitions.

You must also provide proof of ownership, often via a Watercraft Bill of Sale or a Watercraft Letter of Gift, both of which are available from the AZGFD. The department recommends calling (602) 942-3000 before registering your vessel in person or through the mail to receive individualized instructions

A first-time boat registration will include a certificate of number, an AZ number which must be displayed on each side of the boat, and decals to be placed in front of the AZ number. After calling to verify your AZ boat registration instructions for registration by mail, send documents and fee payment to:

Arizona Game and Fish Department
5000 W. Carefree Hwy.
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Is your boat exempt from registration in Arizona?

You may wonder which boats are exempt from registration in Arizona, particularly if you are new to boating. Common boat registration exemptions in AZ include non-motorized boats, as in many other states.

Motorized boats that are exempted are limited to vessels used solely as lifeboats and vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. All other types of motorboats must be registered regardless of their size, type or size of motor.

Arizona Boat Insurance

Boat insurance quotes in AZ will vary between insurers, and as with car insurance, the rates depend on the level of coverage you wish to purchase. Although coverage is available through various boat insurance programs in Arizona, the state does not mandate boat insurance standards. A good policy will provide partial or full protection in the event of an accident or other calamity.

Arizona Boat Registration Fees

The boat registration fees in AZ vary according to the watercraft’s size and whether the owner is a state resident. The boat registration cost in Arizona is as follows, with R designating residents’ fees and NR designating non-residents’ fees:

  • 0 to 12 ft. – $20.00 (R) or $100 (NR)
  • 12 ft. 1 in. to 16 ft. – $22.00 (R) or $110 (NR)
  • 16 ft. 1 in. to 20 ft. – $30.00 (R) or $222 (NR)
  • 20 ft. 1 in. to 26 ft. – $35.00 (R) or $259 (NR)
  • 26 ft. 1 in. to 39 ft. – $39.00 (R) or $292 (NR)
  • 39 ft. 1 in. to 64 ft. – $44.00 (R) or $330 (NR)
  • 64 ft. 1 in. and over – $66.00 (R) or $495 (NR)

When calculating the non-resident registration cost, the state adds a Non-resident Boating Safety Infrastructure Fee (NBSIF) to the base registration cost. These fees support state boating education and safety programs. Other AZGFD boat registration fees include a $13 fee to transfer a boat registration to a new owner, $8 fees for a duplicate registration certificate or decal, and a $5 late renewal fee. Dealers are only charged $2.50 for boat registration costs in AZ, and government-owned vessels are free.

Renewing Your Arizona Boat Registration

You may renew boat registration online in Arizona, by mail or in person at any AZGFD office. Your registration renewal card will instruct you on the different ways. Online and in-person boat registration renewal in AZ provides immediate, uninterrupted use of your boat, while it can take up to 30 days to receive mail-in renewal documents.

You will need your boat’s identification number, the owner’s birthdate or current renewal authorization number, and a fee payment to renew your registration. Your registration renewal notice will display when to renew a boat registration in AZ on time. Note that there is a fee for late renewals.

Replacing Your Arizona Boat Registration

Replace a boat registration in Arizona as soon as you notice the document or decal is missing or damaged. Two methods exist for a boat registration replacement: by mail or by visiting an AZGFD office. For either, complete Form 1503, Application for Duplicate Certificate and/or Decal and submit it in person with the applicable fee. Or, mail both to the Carefree Highway address provided on this page.

Boater Safety Courses in Arizona

Taking a boater safety course in Arizona is not a requirement for boat ownership in in the state. However, taking an Arizona boating safety course can lower boaters’ insurance fees and provide valuable education on boating safety and laws. There are options for a safety course, but perhaps the easiest way is to take an online class. Safety videos and other resources are available through the AZGFD.

Arizona Boater License

You are not required to get a boating license in Arizona before operating a vessel on state waters. Though AZ boating licenses do not exist, state laws govern boat operation. For instance, no one under the age of 12 may operate a motorboat over eight horsepower without onboard supervision by an adult age 18 or over. Passengers under the age of 12 must also wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket when the vessel is underway.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.