Arizona Watercraft Registration and Boating Safety Tips
Despite being a landlocked state with a large percentage of desert landscape, Arizona has its fair share of magnificent lakes and rivers that are perfect for boating. But before you hit the water, be sure that you are doing so legally and safely with a watercraft registration and these boating safety tips.
Boating is an excellent way to enjoy the summer. With the COVID-19 pandemic still limiting our typical summer social activities, boating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without risking too much close interaction.
But this leisure activity can also come with severe consequences if not conducted safely and smartly. Much like driving a vehicle, operating a boat comes with its own set of requirements and safety regulations to follow.
Registering Watercraft in Arizona
If you own or have recently purchased a boat, you’ll need to make sure it’s registered before you can use it. To legally put a motorized boat of any size, construction, or type and size of motor on water, it needs to be registered in Arizona. Registered boats in Arizona are issued the following three things:
- A Certificate of Number (this is your ownership document)
- An AZ Number
- A set of decals
Both your AZ number and your decals will need to be affixed to your boat.
Arizona Auto License Services partners with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to offer watercraft registration services. Our location at Carefree Highway and I-17 offers this service. We can also transfer boat ownership, as well as your boat trailer, with the proper documentation. Visit our website to download the necessary forms to bring into our location at 3134 W. Carefree Highway.
Operating Watercraft in Arizona
Arizona does not currently mandate any boater education requirements to operate a motorized boat. However, boating education courses will teach you the necessary skills to be a safer boater. After all, you wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car without first having educated instruction, so consider the same for operating your watercraft. You may even be able to save some money on your boat or personal watercraft insurance after taking a boater education course.
Depending on where you take courses, you can learn skills such as trailering your vessel, navigational rules, anchoring, safety, and legal requirements. Many boating education courses offer online classes as well. For a list of online courses, visit here.
Arizona Boating Safety Tips
While a boating education course can provide you with the most in-depth knowledge on boat safety, there are a few potentially life-saving tips that every boater should know before enjoying the waterways:
- Know Arizona’s laws on boating. The Arizona Game and Fish Department can provide you with everything you need to know about the legalities of boating in Arizona so that you can have a safe and worry-free experience. Call them at 602-942-3000 for up-to-date info on these laws. You can also view the Boater’s Guide of Arizona handbook for an overview of laws and responsibilities.
- Always make sure you have the legally necessary and appropriate emergency safety gear on your boat. You never know when you may encounter an emergency on the water and having the right gear can make all the difference.
- Check the weather forecast before going boating. Unexpected weather can quickly jeopardize your safety on a boat.
- Learn to swim if you don’t know how.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket and make sure that enough are available and in easy reach on your boat. There are certain regulations to follow for wearing life jackets as well, so make sure that you are complying.
- Wear clothes that are appropriate for the water temperature, not the air. Hyperthermia can set in on warm, sunny days, in water as cool as 70 degrees.
- Never operate your boat while under the influence (OUI). Besides being life-threatening to you and others enjoying the water, operating a boat under the influence is a Class One misdemeanor.
- Have a means of communicating, such as a mobile phone in a dry, waterproof bag.
- Always report accidents immediately.
With some due diligence, you can enjoy a safe summer of boating. Remember that while boating can be fun and relaxing, it can also be dangerous. Take it seriously enough to keep yourself and others from harm so that everyone can enjoy their time on the waters of Arizona.