It's the Law: Before Going Out
The boating laws of Arizona are enforced by Arizona Game & Fish Department officers, county deputy sheriffs, municipal officers, park rangers, and any other state-commissioned law enforcement officers. The officers have the authority to stop and board vessels to check for compliance with state laws. The U.S. Coast Guard has federal enforcement authority on all federally controlled waters.
- When hailed by an officer, the operator of a vessel must immediately stop and maneuver in such a way as to permit the officer to come alongside.
- Failure to obey an order or to comply with an officer will result in an enforcement action up to and including arrest.
- Officers may issue citations and may order an operator of a vessel back to shore to correct a violation. Some Arizona waterways—like the Colorado River—are shared with other states. On these shared waterways, laws from these other states apply—as well as federal regulations. To ensure that you are obeying all applicable laws, make sure you are knowledgeable about all the laws and regulations for the specific waterway you are using.
- Officers also may establish checkpoints on the waterways to ensure public safety.