Arkansas Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

To operate a motorboat powered by an engine of 10 horsepower or more, a person must be 12 years of age or older.

To operate a personal watercraft (PWC), a person must be:

  • 16 years old or older or…
  • 12 to 15 years old and under the direct supervision of a person at least 18 years old or…
  • Under 12 years old and under the direct supervision of a person at least 21 years old.

Enforcement

Arkansas law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Reciprocity

For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

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Frequently Asked Questions