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Arkansas Boating Requirements


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October 19, 2023 - Arkansas boating requirements summary provides everything you should know about boat registration, titling, recording methods, database search lookups, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Arkansas.

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Statistics – There are approximately 185,378 boats registered in the State of Arkansas. This accounts for 1.6% of all nationwide registrations.
 – Arkansas boat registration is required on watercraft propelled by sail or motor. Although there are certain exemptions.
Titling – Boat titles are mandatory in Arkansas for registered boats manufactured on or after 2020. They are not otherwise available.
Branding – Arkansas has not yet adopted boat title branding for salvage, damages or rebuilds. There are no reporting requirements for auctioneers.
Outboards – Outboard motor titles and registrations are not available in Arkansas. Although their serial numbers may be listed on boat title and registration certificates.
 – Boat registration numbers in Arkansas begin with an "AR" designation. Although this does not apply to documented vessels.
Trailers – Boat trailers are registered but not titled in Arkansas.
USCG – Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration and titling in Arkansas.
Taxes – Boat sales tax is collected by new and used boat dealers in Arkansas. Arkansas does not charge sales tax on person to person transactions.
Insurance – Boat liability insurance is mandatory in Arkansas for mechanically powered boats over 50 horsepower.
Operators – A boater safety course is required for operators in Arkansas and they must carry a boater education card.
Visitation – Non-resident boaters are allowed a 90 day visitation period in Arkansas if the boat is duly registered in another state.
Accidents – Boating accidents must be reported immediately in Arkansas if a person dies or disappears, is injured or damages exceed $2,000.

Registration - Titling

Arkansas boat registration and titling is administered by the Department of Finance and Administration through its Office of Motor Vehicle in Little Rock, Arkansas. Services are available from the home office in Little Rock or from any state revenue office, a list of which can be found in WikiLinks. Their boat registration website can also be accessed from WikiLinks.

Boat registration is required on all watercraft in Arkansas propelled by sail or motor, including trolling motors. Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration and titling. Boats registered in another state are also exempt for a visitation period of 90 days. A complete list of exemptions is available from the Office of Motor Vehicle website. Boat registrations in Arkansas must be renewed every three years through the Office of Motor Vehicle. Online renewals are not available.

Titles are mandatory for registered boats in Arkansas with a manufacture date of 2020 and thereafter. They are not otherwise available even as an option. This state has not yet adopted the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act.

Bonding is available in Arkansas for titling or registering boats without sufficient proof of ownership. Contact the Office of Motor Vehicle for further information.

Arkansas has not yet enacted boat title branding for salvage, damages, or rebuilds. There are no auctioneer reporting requirements.

Stand alone registration and titling is not available for outboard boat motors in Arkansas. Although their serial numbers may be listed on title and registration certificates.

Boat trailers are registered in Arkansas but not titled.

Abandoned or destroyed boats in Arkansas must be reported to the Office of Motor Vehicle within 15 days. New boat registrations and changes must be reported within 30 days.

Numbering - Marking

Boat registration numbers in Arkansas begin with an "AR" designation which is followed by four numbers and then two letters. These must be displayed on all non-documented boats along with registration sticker tabs.

Coast Guard documented vessels may not display the state registration numbers. However they must display an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. An official documentation number must also be affixed to a visible interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.

All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. Owners with vessels manufactured prior to 1972 or those with no identification numbers may apply with the Fish and Game Commission for a hull number assignment which will be prefixed with the letters "ARZ". Hull number inspections are required from the Game and Fish Commission whenever there is a discrepancy.

Liens - Security Interests

Ownership of non-documented boats that are titled in the State of Arkansas is evidenced by a certificate of title. On boats that are currently USCG documented it will be shown on the certificate of documentation as supported by its underlying abstract of title. If the boat is neither titled or documented, the registration certificate may suffice as proof of ownership. However, this is not technically viewed as an actual title document. Security interests in state titled boats are recorded with the respective titling agency and will be shown on the certificate of tile. If a boat is neither titled or documented, they are recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings.

If the vessel is USCG documented, a security interest is perfected by recording a preferred vessel mortgage with the National Vessel Documentation Center. Other lien claims can be filed in the same manner although these function as notifications only. All such recordings are listed on the vessel's underlying abstract of title, but are not shown on the certificate of documentation.

There are no provisions for recording mechanic's liens or other non-secured claims on non-documented boats.

Tax liens are sometimes flagged in the state's registration database, recorded as Uniform Commercial Code filings, shown on state revenue records, filed with a county clerk's office, or recorded on a USCG abstract of title.

Databases - Record Searches

Arkansas boat title, registration, and lien records are maintained by the Department of Finance and Administration through its OfficeOffice of Motor Vehicle. Insights on how to go about conducting searches and obtaining record copies can be found in the WikiTags for this page.

The Arkansas uniform commercial code (UCC) database administered by the Secretary of State Office. Information on how to go about this can be found on their Secretary of State website (see WikiLinks) or by using a public record vendor (see WikiTags).

Arkansas county clerks databases. State and Federal tax liens on boats are not always recorded in a consistent manner and are therefore difficult to identify. They may show up as a red flag on state registration records, as UCC filings, in state revenue records, in a county clerks records, or on a vessel's abstract of title for documented boats.

Information about business and legal entities registered in Arkansas can be obtained by searching the Secretary of State's business records online (see WikiLinks).

Taxes - Insurance

Sales tax on boats is collected by dealers of new and used boats in Arkansas. Sales tax does not apply on person to person sales. Personal property taxes are assessed on boats located in Arkansas.

Proof of liability insurance for all personal watercraft and motorboats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower. The policy must be issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in Arkansas and must provide at least $50,000 of liability coverage per occurrence.

Operating - Safety

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1986, operating a motorboat, PWC, or sailboat in Arkansas is required by law to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card.

Boating accidents must be reported immediately to the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission or local Sheriff’s Department if a person dies or disappears, is injured or if damages exceed $2,000.


The information contained herein is subject to change without notice and may contain errors or omissions. Be sure to check with the respective government agency before taking action on any such data. More detailed information about all of these topics can be found in the above WikiTags.

Credits and References

Oct 19, 2023 - Revised



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