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Arkansas Boating Regulations


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This summary is designed to inform the boating public about title options, registration requirements, recording methods, record searches, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Arkansas The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular state. Simply click on the above "Wiki-Share" link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.

Registration and Titling

Arkansas issues boat registration certificates for all non-exempt watercraft operating on its waters. Titles are also mandatory for registered boats with a manufacture date of 2020 and thereafter. They are not otherwise available even as an option. Arkansas boat registration and titling is administered by the Department of Finance and Administration through its Office of Motor Vehicles in Little Rock. Boat registration is required on all watercraft propelled by sail or motor, including trolling motors. Coast Guard documented vessels are exempt from registration. Boats registered in another state are also exempt from registration for a visitation period of 90 days. A complete list of exemptions is available from the DFA website. Arkansas does not issue conditional or bonded boat registrations, but has other provisions for registering boats without a previous title or registration.

Stand alone registration and titling is not available for outboard boat motors in Arkansas. However, their serial numbers can be recorded on the boat registration records.

Boat trailers are registered but not titled.

There are approximately 185,378 boats registered in the State of Arkansas. This accounts for 1.6% of all nationwide registrations.

Numbering and 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.

Recording Methods

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.

Record Searches

Boat registration and title records in Arkansas are maintained by the Office of Motor Vehicles. They not facilitate online searches for the general public but registration information may be obtained by submitting a Boat Record Request form. It is also reported that they will verify information from registration or title certificates in hand.

Boat security interests in non-documented boats can be found by searching the state's Uniform Commercial Code records. Information on how to go about this can be found on their Secretary of State website or by using a public record vendor.

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 that own boats registered, titled, or documented in Arkansas can be obtained by searching the Secretary of State's business records online.

Ownership, mortgage, and lien search recordings for USCG documented vessels can be obtained by ordering an abstract of title and a copy of the certificate of documentation from the National Vessel Documentation Center.

Taxes and Insurance

Arkansas requires liability insurance with at least $50,000 in coverage is required for all boats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower.

Operating and 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.


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.

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3/29/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.


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