Louisiana requires all boat operators to have boat registration numbers and for boaters to have taken a boating safety course. Operating without a boat registration or license is illegal and failure to comply will result in fines and penalties. Find more information on Louisiana vessel registration and boating licenses in the following sections.

Requirements for Boater Registration in Louisiana

Registering a boat in Louisiana requires several documents from the boat owner. When registering a boat, the owner will need to provide proof of ownership and that all taxes have been paid. He or she will also be required to complete a Boat Registration Application and pay any applicable fees.

Proof of ownership can be a bill of sale, dealer’s receipt or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). For special homemade vehicles that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) cannot run a boat registration check, boat owners will need to also provide an Application for Boat Inspection.

Exemptions From Registration and Titling in Louisiana

Documented vessel registration is not required for all watercrafts in Louisiana. Canoe vessel registration is not required by most states including Louisiana. Any powerboats and sailboats longer than 12 feet will need to be registered.

Examples of exempt vessel registration include:

  • Sailboards
  • US Coast Guard documented vessels
  • Sailboats less than 12 feet in length
  • Vessels plying on Louisiana waters for 90 consecutive days or less that have been registered in another state

Louisiana Boat Insurance

Louisiana boat registration does not require boaters to have obtained boat insurance. Boat insurance has options for boat coverage, medical coverage and liability coverage. Even though registering a boat does not require boat insurance, it is advised.

When buying boat insurance, the provider will consider size, type and age of the boat. Accidents happen and boaters who are not covered may face high-priced boat repairs and potential lawsuits in the event of a collision.

Louisiana Boat Registration Fees

When filing a new boat registration, boaters will be required to pay registration fees which are contingent on the length of the vessel. Louisiana boat registration fees are used to help with marina, boat ramps and waterway clean up. Knowing the cost of registration is important and provided on the boat registration application.

Examples are as follows:

  • 14’0” or less – $23
  • 30’1” – 31’0” – $59
  • 45’1” – 46’0” – $89
  • 57’1” – 58’0” – $113
  • Any vessel over 58” will need to add an additional $2 per foot

Renewing your Louisiana Boat Registration

Every three years a Louisiana boat registration renewal is required. The LDWF will send a renewal notice 15 days prior to the renewal month to allow boaters ample time to renew.  Vessel registration renewal can be completed by mail or online.

Renewing decals requires a registration application, fee payment and the current registration number. Louisiana boaters will have 60 days to renew a registration and failure to do so will result in having to have the license reinstated.

Replacing your Louisiana Boat Registration

A Louisiana boat registration is typically kept in a waterproof container on the vessel to avoid damage or misplacement. Accidents happen and boaters will need to get a boat registration replacement when it has been lost or damaged.

The LDWF will need to be notified within 15 days of the loss. Boaters needing a boat decal replacement will be required to submit a registration application and send $8 for the registration or $13 for decal and registration.

Boater Safety Course in Louisiana

To meet boat registration requirements Louisiana requires boaters to take a boater safety course. The course is free and has six to eight hours of instruction. The courses can be taken year round online or in person.

An online course may be subject to fees. This course is required for all water vessel operators excluding any boaters licensed through the U.S Coast Guard. The course will cover how to choose a boat, motors, legal, navigation rules and sailboats.

Students will also learn about boat classification, equipment requirements, navigation charts, trailering and personal watercraft information. Upon completion, boaters will receive a temporary boater safety card while an official one is mailed out. Boater safety courses can also reduce the rate of an insurance policy.

Louisiana Boater Licenses

Obtaining a boat registration number requires any boater born after January 1, 1984 to have obtained a boater education card. This is required for any operational boat with over 10 horsepower. Louisiana does not allow anyone under the age of 16 to operate a water vessel.

Vessel registration cannot be completed without a boater license obtained through a boater safety course. The boater safety course is offered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.