Learn About Our Boating Education Programs

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Boating Safety Education courses cover the basic skills required to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft, trailering your vessel, navigational rules, buoys, anchoring, legal requirements, boating emergencies, water sports, and paddling.


Whether you have been paddling for years or are just thinking of giving it a try, we have opportunities for you to brush up or try out your paddling skills.

AZGFD offers hands-on classes for kayaking and for standup paddleboarding. These courses are designed to equip paddlers with basic skills to get from point A to point B successfully, understand the legal responsibilities that come with getting on the water, and what to do in emergency situations. AZGFD provides all of the paddle equipment including life jackets.

These classes have been verified to meet the American National Standard for on-water skills and has received the Verified Course-Human Propelled Mark. This is the first human propelled course in the nation to receive this voluntary third-party verification based on the American National Standard for boating skills.

Paddlesports classes

Helpful videos

Power boating: America’s Boating Channel, BoatUS Foundation, West Marine, Boat Ed, Using a PWC.

Paddlesports: American Canoe Association, Canoe and Kayak Magazine, Kayak Angler Magazine, Paddle TV, Standup Paddling 101, Paddling with Kids.

Other videos: Use an Engine Cutoff Switch: USCG, Get Connected with an Engine Cutoff Switch, Top 10 Tips for using a SUP Safely, Top 10 Tips for using a canoe or kayak safely, Stories of Survival.

Printable resources

Choose the right life jacket NSBC brochure, Lake Pleasant ramp manners, Cold water shock, Electrical shock hazards, Monsoon awareness, Monsoon awareness (Spanish), Towed water sports safety, USCG propeller safety, USCG propeller safety (spanish), Get out and paddle safely, Stand-up paddle board safety.

Power boat education

Courses are offered in three formats: classroom courses, home study courses and online courses.

AZGFD does NOT offer hands-on power boat training. Contact your local marina for training options.

Need to complete a boating safety education course because of a boating ticket? Choose an option below to meet the court’s requirements. Submit your certificate of completion to the court. AZGFD does NOT notify the court system of course completions. (Duplicate in Spanish)

life jacket information

Life Jackets – Personal Flotation Devices

All vessels except sailboards and certain racing shells or rowing sculls must have at least one wearable life jacket (PFD) that is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved and of the proper size for each person on board.

life jackets: what to know

Life jackets must be readily accessible, in good and serviceable condition, and sized for the intended wearer. In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 feet in length or longer, except a canoe or kayak, must have one Throwable USCG approved throwable flotation device on board and readily accessible.

All children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG approved life jacket (PFD) anytime while underway on any vessel. The life jacket must be worn according to the design of the manufacturer’s recommended use and must fit the child properly. All snaps must be snapped, and zippers and fasteners closed.

Each person on a personal watercraft such as a Jet Ski or Wave Runner must wear a USCG approved life jacket with all fasteners and closures secured according to the manufacturer’s design and recommended use. Further, the life jacket must be adjusted for a snug fit.

Each person being towed behind a vessel on water skis or a similar device must wear a life jacket.

1. Check the label for appropriate chest size and weight.
2. Make sure the life jacket is not damaged in any way before putting it on.
3. Buckle all buckles and zip all zippers. Pull everything snug.

Fitting a kid with a lIfe jacket – video
Life jacket information for Paddlers – video

Inflatable life jackets

are much less bulky and are more comfortable to wear in warm weather.
Warning: They are not approved for under 16 years old.
Warning: They are not recommended for nonswimmers.
Warning: They are not for use in towed sports or on Personal Watercraft.

Excellent Video on Inflatable Life Jackets
Inflatable Life Jacket Info
New Life Jacket Labels in-depth look
New Life Jacket Labels Infographic


I Float!
Man Overboard
Don’t be a Clown

national and state boating data

Dashboards provide ready access to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and state-level recreational boating safety data.

Boating education

These Boating Education Dashboards provide ready access to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and state-level recreational boating safety data. Information include boating education requirements, approved courses, and certification numbers. See dashboard

Life jacket information

These Life Jacket Dashboards provide ready access to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and state-level recreational boating safety data. Information include life jacket requirements, seasonal requirements, and state and national wear rate numbers. See dashboard


These Paddlesports Dashboards provide ready access to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and state-level recreational boating safety data. Information include accident numbers, resources, and participation numbers. See dashboard

Recreation in Arizona

License your off-highway vehicle for going out on trails. Check out the lakes in Arizona and what they have to offer.

buy your OHV decal

OHVs are required by law to display a valid Arizona decal to operate on public and state trust lands in Arizona.

buy now

spend some time boating on arizona lakes

See information about many Arizona lakes, including fishing, facilities and lake amenities.

lake locations

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