Arizona's State Boating Laws

Arizona’s Boat Registration Requirements:

All motorized boats must be registered in order to be legally operated, anchored, or moored on Arizona state waters.

Arizona has staggered registration, which is similar to registering a motor vehicle. The color and date on the registration decals indicates when the registration will expire.

Upon registration, boat owners will be issued an Arizona Certificate of Number, and registration decals. The Certificate of Number must be carried on board at all times during operation and must be available for inspection by law enforcement, if required.

An Arizona Certificate of Number and validation decals are obtained through the Arizona Game and Fish Department by submitting an application and paying a fee.

Boat Registration Exemptions:

  • Human-powered boats.
  • Boats that have been federally documented by the Coast Guard.
  • Boats that are used solely as lifeboats.
  • Boats that have been registered in another state or country, that are operating on Arizona waterways for 90 consecutive days or less.

Boat Registration Number and Decal Placement:

  • The number must be painted or permanently affixed to the forward half of each side of the boat where it can be easily seen (boat owners are not permitted to display any other numbers in this area).
  • The number must be read from left to right.
  • The number must be in vertical, block letters that are at least 3 inches high and in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat.
  • The numbers must be separated from the letters by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
  • Validation decals must be affixed 3 inches from the registration number, on both sides of the forward half of the boat.
  • The same placement requirements apply to personal watercraft (PWCs).

Arizona’s Hull Identification Requirements

Owners of boats which do not already have a Hull Identification Number (i.e. homemade boats, or boats built prior to October 1st, 1972) must apply to the Arizona Game and Fish Department in order to have one issued. Boats which do not have a HIN may not be registered.

Other Boat Registration Information

If a boat is sold or there is a transfer of ownership, the new owner is required to notify the Arizona Game Fish and Department within 15 days. If a boat owner changes their address, they are required to notify the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) within 15 days of an address change.

If a boat is stolen, the event must be reported to law enforcement within 15 days of the theft.

If a Certificate of Number is lost or destroyed, boat owners may obtain a duplicate through the AZGFD for a fee of $2.