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Arkansas is blessed with more than 600,000 acres of lakes and more than 90,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks. Boating is big fun, but it can be dangerous. The AGFC works to minimize accidents on the water through education and enforcement of boating regulations. Click one of the links below to get started enjoying the water the right way.

Frequently Asked Boating Law Questions

Yes. Any vessel (regardless of the size/length of the vessel) if it is
powered by machinery must be registered.

Insurance is only required if your boat is powered by OVER 50
horsepower OR if you have a personal watercraft (Jet Ski, SeaDoo,
Waverunner). ALL personal watercraft require insurance.

Yes, if you will be operating at night or during periods of reduced
visibility (i.e. fog/rain).

Only USCG approved navigation lights (red and green bow light(s) and
white stern light visible 360 degrees) may be displayed while operating
on federal waters at night. Lights must conform to the specifications
contained in the USCG Inland Rules of Navigation. If operating on sole
state waters, then a motorboat’s lighting shall be sufficient to make the
motorboat’s presence and location known to all other vessels.

Your bill of sale (from the last registered owner) or the manufacturer’s
statement of origin (MSO) if it is a new boat; Proof of Assessment;
Proof of insurance (if required); and verification (either a printed photo
or pencil rubbing) of the boat’s Hull Identification Number (HIN).

The HIN is on the transom (back of the boat where the motor attaches),
on the OUTSIDE top right hand corner. A HIN is only ¼ inch tall so it is
very small.

Most inflatables do have to be worn in order to “count” as a Life Jacket.
All Life Jackets must be used according to the manufacturer’s label on
the inside of the jacket – many inflatable life jacket labels state: this
product must be worn to comply with USCG life jacket requirements.


Yes, if you were born on or after January 1, 1986 you must have
completed a Boater Education course prior to operating any motorboat.

  • You must have a fire extinguisher IF one or more of the following
    conditions exist:

    • Inboard engine
    • Closed compartments where portable fuel tanks or
      flammable/combustible material may be stored
    • Permanently installed fuel tanks