A boating license is a credential that residents need to obtain in order to legally operate a boat or watercraft on open waterways within the state. However, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) does not issue nor requires boating licenses. Instead, they encourage individuals to get a boat certification by completing a safety course. The course for boaters provides them not only with the possibility to operate a vessel, but also teaches them to become safer participants on the public waterways.

Prior to getting a boat safety certificate in Louisiana, residents will have to satisfy certain requirements and age criteria. Moreover, boaters will also have to obey the imposed rules and regulations while operating a boat or water vessel. To discover more information about the safety course and about how to get a certificate of completion, continue reading the sections below.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in Louisiana?

The LDWF does not issue a boating license to LA residents who want to operate a watercraft or boat. However, it encourages boaters of all ages to enroll in a boating education in order to increase their knowledge of operating a water vessel, as well as general information about boats, classification, requirements, navigation rules and charts, and other related subjects. Note that boaters may add a boater education as an endorsement to their LA driver’s licenses the next time when they will renew the driving credential at a local LA OMV office.

Louisiana Boat License Requirements

Prior to getting a Louisiana boat certification, residents may have to satisfy a set of requirements that are determined by the LDWF. As part of the boat license requirements, every boater is encouraged to complete a safety course. According to Louisiana law, individuals who are born after January 1, 1984 are required to attend an LA boating school and obtain the appropriate certificate in the end. They need to carry the certificate on board with them when operating a motorboat with excess of 10 horsepower.

LA residents who are at least 10 years of age may qualify for a boat safety certificate, only if they operate their boats when accompanied by a person who is over 18 years of age. Individuals who are younger than 10 years of age may take the course, but they will not receive a certificate and will have to retake the course when they turn 10 years of age.

Note: Individuals who have a captain license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard are exempt from the boating education requirements.

Getting a Boat License in Louisiana

Since the LDWF does not require a boating license in Louisiana, residents may need to obtain a certificate of completion from a boater course provider in order to operate their vessels on state waterways. A boat certification is not a mandatory requirement. However, all residents are encouraged to complete a safety course and increase their safety skills of operating a boat.

The available methods for enrolling in a boater safety course are the following: online or in a classroom setting. Future boaters may either choose an instructor-led classroom course or an online course provider, if they are unable to attend classroom lessons.

Louisiana Boater Safety Courses

LA residents need to take and complete a boater safety course in Louisiana to operate a watercraft or motorboat on state waterways. The course teaches individuals about boats, their classification, sailboats, hulls, motors, requirements, equipment, navigation rules and charts, and other related topics. Individuals who enroll in a boating school will have to pass a written test in the end. They must have a score of at least 70 percent on the written test, in order to obtain the certificate of completion.

The LDWF offers a classroom boating education course in Louisiana to residents who want to operate boats or water vessels. When individuals complete the course successfully, they will receive a temporary boater education card that they can use while waiting for the permanent one to arrive in the mail. Prior to enrolling in a classroom course, note that the course is most visited in spring and summer.

Boaters who are unable to enroll in classroom boating lessons may choose an LDWF-approved online provider through which they will obtain the wanted certificate. There are two online courses, one of which is free of charge while the other requires payment for an applicable fee. Upon completion of an online boaters safety course, boaters will also receive a temporary education certificate which they can use while waiting for the permanent to be sent to their mailing addresses within three to four weeks.

Renewing and Replacing a Louisiana Boating License

A boat safety certificate in Louisiana does not have a renewal date, therefore boaters who are wondering “Do boating licenses expire?” need not worry for a date of expiration. However, a replacement option is available to boaters who have lost their cards.

Individuals who want to replace their education cards need to visit the LDWF website, provide the mandatory information, print a temporary card and request a duplicate credential to be sent to their mailing addresses.

Louisiana Boat Registration Basics

Boaters must obtain a Louisiana DMV boat registration for all motorized vessels or watercraft, as well as for sailboats which are 12 feet or longer, in order to operate them legally. The registration procedure requires boat owners to complete an application form and submit it in person or via mail to the LDWF along with original and notarized proof of boat ownership, other mandatory documents and payment for the applicable fees. Note that the documentation for a watercraft registration in LA may differ based on the boater’s specific situation.

Louisiana Boating Rules and Regulations

Certified boaters are required to obey Louisiana boating laws, rules and regulations when operating a motorboat or watercraft. Per the LA law, individuals who are born after January 1st, 1984 are mandated to attend a boating education course in order to get a certificate in the end.

Moreover, individuals who are younger than 10 years of age may enroll in such course, but they will not receive a boat certification before they turn at least 10 years of age. Minor boaters will be allowed to operate a boat only if accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years of age and who has completed the course, if required.

Note: The minimum age for operating a personal watercraft is 16 years of age. Boating without a license or certificate for a personal watercraft may result in penalties because this action is considered as illegal.

Louisiana Boating License Fees

When wondering whether you need to pay certain fees for a Louisiana boat safety certificate, you must know whether the course provider requires payment for the offered classes. Although there are no strict information about the classroom course fees, the online providers may mandate individuals to submit payment for their lessons.

Therefore, prior to making a payment for an online boaters safety course in Louisiana, contact the course provider and inquire more information about the applicable fees.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.