Boat Registration and Titling

In order to legally operate a sail-powered or motorized boat (including boats with trolling motors), you must obtain an Arkansas Certificate of Number (registration card) and validation decals. The Certificate of Number must be on board and be available for inspection by an enforcement officer during boat operation.

Boat Registration Exemptions:

  • Human-powered boats.
  • Boats documented by the Coast Guard.
  • Boats that have been registered in another state or country and are using Arkansas’ waters for 90 days or less.

The Certificate of Number and validation decals are obtained by submitting an application and fee to any state revenue office. Boat registrations are valid for a period of 3 years.

Other Boat Registration Info

The owner of a motorized boat that requires registration must apply for the registration within 30 days of the date of purchase.

The Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) must be notified within 15 days if the boat is destroyed, lost or abandoned.

The DFA must be notified within 30 days if the owner transfers ownership of the boat.

If you lose or destroy your Certificate of Number or decals, you must apply to the DFA for duplicates and submit processing fees to receive replacements.

If an outboard engine is purchase for a motorized boat that was previously registered, the owner must provide the serial number of the engine to the Department of Finance and Administration.

Registration Number and Decal Placement:

  • The numbers must be applied as a decal, painted or permanently affixed to each side of the boat’s bow (boat owners are not permitted to display any other numbers in this area).
  • The number must be in bold 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.
  • The number must be read from left to right.

Validation decals must be:

  • Affixed on both sides of the boat.
  • Displayed 3 inches from and in line with, the registration number.
  • Affixed towards the stern of the registration number.
  • Decals that have expired must be removed.

These placement requirements also apply to personal watercrafts (PWCs).

Note: If your boat requires registration, it is illegal to operate or allow others to operate your boat unless it is registered and numbered as described above.

Arkansas’ Liability Insurance Requirements

All motorized boats (including PWCs) powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower, must be covered by a liability insurance policy that has been issued by an insurance company.

The policy must provide at least $50,000 of liability coverage per occurrence. Proof of insurance must be carried on board the boat and be available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

For boats requiring liability insurance, registration applications must be accompanied by proof of the insurance policy.