How to Register a Boat in Arkansas

Arkansas is a state filled with scenic waterways, making it an ideal destination for boating enthusiasts. Before you hit the water, you need to register your boat with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). Here's a step-by-step guide on how to register your boat in Arkansas.

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

·        Proof of ownership: You must provide documentation that proves you are the owner of the boat, such as a bill of sale, title, or registration from the previous state.

·        Proof of identity: You'll need a government-issued identification card, such as a driver's license, passport, or state ID card.

·        Proof of tax: proof that the personal property tax for the boat due October 10th of the previous year has been paid. This could be either a receipt from your local tax office or a certification of payment.

·        Proof of assessment: proof that your local county tax assessor has assessed the boat and listed it for tax assessment for the current year.

·        Proof of insurance: If your boat’s engine is more than 50 horsepower, you must hold an active insurance policy from a company authorized to do business in Arkansas and have at least $50,000 in liability.

·        Hull Identification Number (HIN): Either a clear picture of the boat’s HIN or a pencil rubbing of the HIN on a white piece of paper.

·        Payment: The registration fee varies depending on the length of the boat. The fees are:

Step 2: Complete the Registration Application

Once you have all the necessary documentation and information, it's time to complete the registration application. This must be done in person at any Arkansas State Revenue Office. Be sure to bring all the documentation listed in Step 1 with you!

Step 3: Display Your Boat Registration Numbers

Once you've completed the registration process and received your registration certificate and decal, it's time to display your boat registration numbers.

The registration numbers must be displayed on both sides of the forward half of the vessel, must be in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat, and must be at least 3 inches tall. The registration decal must be affixed to the boat's starboard side within 6 inches of the registration number.

Step 4: Renew Your Registration

Boat registration in Arkansas is valid for three years. You'll receive a renewal notice in the mail before your registration expires. You can renew your registration either in person at any Arkansas State Revenue Office or by mailing your renewal forms no later than 15 days prior to the expiration date to the following address:

Department of Finance and Administration

Office of Motor Vehicle

PO Box 3153

Little Rock, AR, 72203-3153

Be sure to include payment when mailing in your renew forms. You may pay by either check or money order made payable to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.


In conclusion, registering your boat in Arkansas is a simple process that can be completed online, by mail, or in-person. Make sure you gather all the necessary documentation, complete the registration application, display your boat registration numbers correctly, and renew your registration annually. By following these steps, you can enjoy Arkansas's beautiful waterways with peace of mind knowing that your boat is registered and legal to operate.