Arkansas’ Laws for Careless, Negligent and Reckless Boat Operation

It is illegal in the state of Arkansas to operate any boat or manipulate any waterskis, aquaplane or similar device in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.

Examples of reckless boat operation include:

  • Operating in a designated swimming area.
  • Weaving through congested traffic at more than idle speed.
  • Jumping the wake of another boat unreasonably close to the other boat.
  • Waiting until the last possible moment to swerve to avoid a collision.
  • Creating a hazardous wake.
  • Harassing or disturbing wildlife.
  • Riding on the boat’s stern, bow, gunwales or transom.
  • Overloading a boat beyond the safe carrying capacity.
  • Overpowering a boat beyond the recommended horsepower capacity.
  • Towing a waterskier in a restricted area or where an obstruction exists.

Boat Speed Limits and Operation in Restricted Areas

Speed Restrictions

It is illegal to operate a boat at a rate of speed that creates a  hazardous wash or wake upon approaching or passing boats, including, but not limited to:

  • A wake that causes other boats to take-on water.
  • A wake sufficient to toss occupants of other boats about in a manner to cause injury or the risk of injury.

Restricted Zones

It is illegal to operate at greater than ‘No Wake Speed’ when within 100 feet of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, anchored boat, dam, intake structure, or other obstruction at a speed greater than 5 miles per hour, unless a another speed limit has been established in the area.