Arizona House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Passes Boater Education Legislation

Paves the Way for a Culture of Safe Boating in the Grand Canyon State

Minneapolis, MN, February 15, 2024 – Wednesday, Feb. 9, the Arizona House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted 9-2 to pass H.B. 2149: Watercraft operation; minors; safety education. This marks the first step toward adopting boater education in the Grand Canyon State. As of today, Arizona is one of five states across the U.S. without mandatory boater education for any group of people.

In 2022 alone, boating accidents killed 13 individuals, injured 60 and caused $1 million in damages across Arizona. Sponsored by Representative David Cook (R-07) and Senator Brian Fernandez (D-023), H.B. 2149 establishes a boater education program to ensure the safe use of Arizona’s expansive waterways. By requiring those born on or after Jan. 1, 2007, operating a vessel over 50 HP to take a NASBLA-approved boater education course or presenting a boater safety card from another state, Arizona recognizes the importance of boating and the safety of its users.

The MRAA and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) worked in close collaboration with the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA), the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), and local stakeholders to garner support for this legislation and highlight the need for increased recreational boating safety measures.

“Recreational boating safety continues to be a top priority of the recreational marine industry and we are excited about the potential to pass this legislation in Arizona and give boaters the tools they need to have a fun and safe experience on the water,” said Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager. “The success we are seeing so far in Arizona would not be possible without the support of our Arizona dealers and the work done by coalition members to highlight the broad range of stakeholders who support this measure.”

Driven by Arizonans, H.B. 2149 has been championed across the state. Bullhead City resident Bart Anderson recently penned a letter to the editor in the Lake Havasu News and, calling upon his experience as a Coast Guard Auxiliary Member, stated that it is time Arizona pass boater education. After spending several hundred hours on the river as a deckhand on the police boat, Anderson says, “[Even though] there may not have been [a boating] accident … it doesn’t have to be an accident to be a huge safety concern.”

Arizona House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passes boater education legislation

“In the Grand Canyon State, there are over 126,000 registered watercrafts, and as the boating industry experiences record growth, it’s imperative the boating community advocate for strong, commonsense legislation that establishes safety standards and best practices to protect boaters,” said Rachel Fischer, NMMA Western Policy and Engagement Manager. “Mandatory boater education and training will support a safe environment on our waterways, and allow for recreational boaters to continue to have peace of mind while enjoying time on the water with their families and friends.”

Across the state, Marc Lamber, a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent-rates trial attorney and consumer advocate, published an op-ed in the Arizona Capitol Times supporting H.B. 2149. Lamber has written extensively about boating safety in the past and says, “H.B. 2149 is a common-sense measure” and that the bill does not curtail enjoyment of recreational boating, rather aligning Arizona with 45 fellow states across the country. As Arizona increases in population and popularity, boating has as well, which Lamber believes is up to the state legislature to move forward in passing mandatory boater education.

With more than 125,000 boats registered and a $2 billion annual impact, Arizona is a hub for recreational boating. By bridging the gap between education and boating, Arizona takes the next step in ensuring that recreational boating is here to stay in the state.

If you live in Arizona and would like to support H.B. 2149 in passing the House, please take action on Boating United: LINK

If you have any questions or are interested in scheduling a visit with Arizona members, state legislators or their respective staff members, please contact MRAA Government Relations Manager, Chad Tokowicz at Click here to learn more about MRAA Advocacy.

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit or contact us at 763-315-8043.