Arizona Kayaking


Spring Into The Joys Of Paddlesports

Here are some suggestions for  kayak and canoe safety and equipment.

AZGFD Paddlesports Training Course Is First

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) was recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for offering the nation’s first paddle-sports class that meets the national standard for ”On-Water Recreational Boating Skills – Human Propelled.” AZGFD’s “Paddlesports Arizona” course teaches fundamental paddlecraft skills that entry-level recreational boaters should be able to demonstrate after receiving instruction.

Game & Fish Is Responsible

In addition to conserving and protecting wildlife and enforcing hunting, fishing and off-highway vehicle laws, Arizona Game and Fish is responsible for registering Arizona watercraft, enforcing boating safety laws and educating the public on safe boating practices.

“Paddlesports Arizona” is the first human-propelled boating course in the U.S. to receive this voluntary third-party verification. According to AZGFD Education Branch,  paddlesports such as canoeing, paddleboarding and kayaking are growing rapidly in Arizona.

As paddlesports become more popular on Arizona waterways, the need to educate people on safe operation has become a priority for the department.

To See A Schedule

To see a schedule of free Arizona Game and Fish Department paddlesports classes, visit For more information, contact the Boating Education program at 623-236-7258 or visit

Under funding provided by a U.S. Coast Guard grant, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators awarded AZGFD with a uniquely-numbered “Verified Course” mark indicating “The content of this course conforms to the American National Standard for on-water skills as verified through an independent third-party assessment process.” For more information about the process, please visit the Verified Course page on the NASBLA website.

National Parks Welcome You To The Waters

Boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rafting, jet skiing, paddle boarding — national parks have plenty of water activities for you and your family and friends to explore! If you do not have a boat of your own, guided trips or rentals may be available within the park.

More information is at

‘Paddle Camp’ Covers The Rules

An excellent source of information re: Arizona kayaking may be found at They answer some questions such as the following:

  • Is it safe to kayak at Lake Powell? Is the lake level ok for paddling? Yes, the lake level is great for paddling and hiking. If you’ve read that Lake Powell levels have gone down, which is true, keep in mind the lake is still very deep!
  • Does a kayak need to be registered in Arizona? The quick answer is no. Arizona doesn’t require you to register self-propelled vessel. Non-motorized vessels are exempted from Arizona boating registration requirements.

Paddle Camp Offers This Summary

Arizona Kayak Laws Summary Arizona Kayaking Laws (Rules and Regulations)

  • Arizona Kayak Law – kayaks, canoes and SUPs are considered recreational, “non-powered” vessels in Arizona and thus exempt from some powerboat regulations.
  • Kayak Registration – Non-motorized vessels are exempted from boating registration.
  • Motorized Kayak Registration – As soon as you put a motor on your canoe or kayak it becomes “motorized” and thus subject to registration.
  • Kayaking Operator Licensing – Arizona doesn’t require a boater’s education course to operate a vessel.
  • Motorized Kayaking Age – There are exceptions, but generally it’s illegal for anyone under 12 to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 8 horsepower.
  • Kayaking Alcohol Law – Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08 or more is illegal and comes with severe penalties.
  • Kayaking Life Jacket Law – All children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG approved PFD while underway.
  • Kayaking Lights Law – Between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, you must have the appropriate lighting.
  • Kayaking Sounding Devices – Vessels less than 39.4 feet (12 meters) in length are required to carry a whistle or horn.
  • Kayaking VDS Law – When kayaking coastal waters you need a (VDS) Visual Distress Signaling device.

We Recommend LowerGear Outdoors

This outdoor sports store in Tempe, Ariz., is a niche retailer offering camping and backpacking gear for sale and rent, plus shipping to travel sites. They also have what you need in paddle-sports equipment. Lower Gear offers in-store shopping, in-store pickup, and delivery.

 Used Gear

Lower Gear state, “We cycle out a lot of our large inventory of rental gear at the end of each season, and take in gear via trades and consignments to make it all available as used gear at a great value to our customers.  Come in to see the ever-changing stock at our retail store in Tempe, or browse the categories below for some general information on our used gear options and then call us for what’s on hand at the moment.

“The great thing about quality outdoor gear is its longevity; enjoy years of life left on used gear bought at great prices.  You can pick up a piece at a very low price and still enjoy many years of functional use.  It might have a stitch here or a taped tear there, but it still does its intended job.

“If you have some good quality gear you no longer need and want some cash, or want to upgrade to something better, learn how our consignment and trade process works.  We’re always looking to add to our used gear on hand!”

Lower Gear is located in the Tempe-Mesa Mall,  2155 E University Dr #112, Tempe, AZ 85281. Their phone number is  (480) 348-8917.

Click here for more about LowerGear.


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