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Motor Boat Registration 

Registering a Motor Boat
Boats propelled by sail or motor (including trolling motors) of any type must be registered when operated on public waters. You must have an Arkansas Certificate of Number (registration) and validation decals to operate a motorboat on Arkansas’ public waters. The only exceptions are:
Vessels that are not propelled by an engine or by sail.

Vessels properly registered in another state and using Arkansas waters for 90 or fewer consecutive days.

Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The owner of a motorboat that requires registration must apply for the registration within 30 days of the date of purchase.

Boat registrations may be applied for at any state revenue office. The requirements are:

Proof of ownership – current registration or bill of sale. A bill of sale must contain a description of the boat including the hull identification number, year, make and horsepower, the amount of sale, be dated and signed by the buyer and seller. If a trailer is included it must be itemized on the bill of sale for sales tax purposes or be on a separate bill of sale.

Proof from your county assessor showing that the boat has been assessed or listed for assessment for the current year.

Proof that personal property taxes due by the previous October 10th have been paid. Acceptable proof is either your receipt from your county tax collector, or certification of payment stamped on your assessment papers.

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.

Click here for a link to a list of State Revenue Office locations and hours of operation. 

The fees to register your motorboat are: 

  • Motorboat less than 16 ft. long $ 7.50
  • Motorboat 16 ft. to less than 26 ft. long $ 15.00
  • Motorboat 26 ft. to less than 40 ft. long $ 51.00
  • Motorboat 40 ft. and over $105.00

Registrations are valid for a period of 3 years.

Sales tax is collected by the dealer for new and used boats. Arkansas does not charge sales tax on casual sales (individual to individual) for boats.

Valid registrations on a newly purchased boat may be transferred to the new owner for a fee of $2.00.

Replacement registrations may be obtained for a fee of $1.00.

The certificate of number (pocket sized registration card) must be onboard and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the motorboat is operated.

The registration number and validation decals must be displayed as follows:

  • Number must be painted, decaled or otherwise affixed to the forward half of each side of the motorboat, placed to be clearly visible.
  • Number must read from left to right on both sides of the motorboat.
  • Number must be in at least 3 inches high, bold, BLOCK letters.
  • Number’s color must contrast with its background.
  • Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen:
    “AR 3717 ZW”, “AR-3717-ZW”, “AR 123 ABC” or “AR-123-ABC”.
  • No other numbers may be displayed on either side of the bow.
  • Decals must be affixed on each side of the motorboat, toward the stern of the registration number, 3 inches from and in line with the number.
  • If your motorboat requires registration, it is illegal to operate or allow others to operate your motorboat unless it is registered and numbered as described above.  

Renewing a Motorboat
Boat registrations may be renewed by mail or at any state revenue office. The requirements are:

  • Renewal notice or current registration certificate. 
  • Proof from your county assessor showing that the boat has been assessed or listed for assessment for the current year.
  • Proof that personal property taxes due by the previous October 10th have been paid.
  • Acceptable proof is either your receipt from your county tax collector, or certification of payment stamped on your assessment papers.
  • 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.

The fees to renew your motorboat are:

  • Motorboat less than 16 ft. long $ 7.50
  • Motorboat 16 ft. to less than 26 ft. long $ 15.00
  • Motorboat 26 ft. to less than 40 ft. long $ 51.00
  • Motorboat 40 ft. and over $105.00

Registrations are valid for a period of 3 years.

To renew by mail send the required items no later than 15 days prior to expiration date with a check or money order payable to the Department of Finance and Administration in the amount of the correct registration fees to:

Department of Finance and Administration
Office of Motor Vehicle
P O Box 3153
Little Rock, AR 72203-3153

You may renew at any state revenue office. Click here for a link to a list of State Revenue Office locations and hours of operation.

For Arkansas Game and Fish Rules and Regulations about Boating click here.

Please call (501) 682-4692 for other questions regarding boat registration information.