Boating in Arkansas

How to Get Certified, Insured, and Register Your Boat

Arkansas has more than 600,000 acres of beautiful lakes, so it’s no wonder that you’d want to get a boat and start exploring. However, boaters need to be aware of state and federal regulations in order to comply with the law. This article is going to tell you everything you need to know in order to be boat-ready. First, you’ll need to learn about boating and receive your Boating Education card. Second, you’ll need to insure your boat like you would a car. Third (not mandatory, but certainly recommended) step is to have fun! We believe in you.

You need to become certified if you were born on or after January 1st, 1986 in order to operate a motorboat, personal water craft (PWC), or sailboat in the state of Arkansas.

  1. Take Classes For Your Certification

    Read the Handbook of Arkansas Boating Laws and Responsibilities. The Handbook includes:

    • Boating Basics
    • Boat Laws
    • Water Safety
    • Emergency Information

    Then, get certified! You can get your certification provided that you take an online or in-person course on Boating Education.

    1. Online Course

      The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission uses Boat Arkansas to administer online testing. To clarify, you can take the test from the comfort of your own home. When you pass the exam, you can print out a temporary certificate. They will send you an official copy in the mail.

      Click here to take the Online Boating class.

    2. In-Person Courses

      The traditional boating education class is a 6-hour classroom course with hand-on demonstrations. Classes may be a few hours a night for 3 or 4 nights or an all-day class instead. The final class will end with a test to pass the course. These boating education classes are offered by knowledgable and dedicated volunteer instructors and Arkansas Game and Fish Employees.

      Click here to see the upcoming in-person courses offered in an Arkansas town near you.

  2. Get Boat Insurance – Call Farm Bureau Insurance

    All motorboats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower, and all PWCs, must be covered by a liability insurance policy of at least $50,000 per occurrence. Furthermore, proof of insurance must be carried on board the vessel and be available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

    Farm Bureau Insurance provides comprehensive insurance coverage options for Boat Owners. Not only can we keep you compliant with a liability policy, we offer coverage for:

  3. Register Your Boat

    You may be certified, but is your boat registered? If your motorboat requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your boat unless it is registered.

    What You Need to Apply for Registration:

    • Current Registration or Bill of Sale (Proof of ownership)
    • Proof of personal property assessment and proof of current paid taxes
    • Proof of insurance
    • Hull Identification Number Verification (photograph or pencil rubbing)(Homemade vessels without a Hull ID number applying for new registration must pass an inspection)

    Where to Register Your Boat:

    Register your boat in your county of residence OR the county of principal use at the County Revenue Office. Click here to find a list of County Revenue offices, phone numbers, and hours. If you have any registration questions, you can also call the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration at 1-800-662-8247.

Do you have a fishing, pontoon, ski, sailboat, jet ski, or other personal water craft? Farm Bureau Insurance provides coverages for most personal use boats. Make sure you boat legally out on the water by calling an agent today