Louisiana Boating Laws

Louisiana life includes a lot of time on the water and whether you like to fish in the bayou, sail the Gulf Coast, or travel the great Mississippi River, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the state's rules and regulations. Louisiana has requirements for boat operators, documentation of watercraft, and responsibilities that arise in the event of an accident. This article provides an overview of Louisiana's boating laws.

Vessel Titling and Registration

Louisiana boating laws require a certificate of title for vessels valued in excess of $2,500 or bearing an outboard motor. Certificates may be requested within 60 days of acquiring a vessel or outboard motor and must be issued upon first transfer. A title is needed to transfer or assign such a craft.

Boating Licenses

Many Louisiana boaters are required to complete a boating safety education course in order to be eligible to operate a boat. No license is required and the boater education document is not a license because it does not expire. The details of these requirements are found in the chart below.

Boating and Alcohol

Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is punished under Louisiana boating laws. Details regarding blood alcohol content (BAC) and other elements are found in the chart below.

Louisiana Boating Laws: The Basics

Code Sections
Age & Education Requirements

All boaters born after January 1, 1984 must complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat with a 10 horsepower (HP) or greater engine.

A person may operate a motorboat if accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older that has completed the course.

Those under 10 years old can complete the course but are ineligible for certification.

Boating Under the Influence

An operator found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is deemed to be intoxicated and punished under Louisiana law. Operation under the influence of controlled substances is also punished.

Punishments are enhanced where the person has prior convictions. Penalties may include fines, jail time, and a suspended driver's license.

Boating Accidents

Operators of a vessel involved in an accident must, to the extent safely possible, render assistance to those affected by the crash. They must also provide their identifying information to anyone injured or the owner of any damaged property.

Those involved in an accident involving a recreational vessel that results in a death, injury, or damages in excess of $500 must file a report within five days of the incident.

The owner of a registered boat must report its theft to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days, though there is no penalty for failing to do so.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Find Out More About Louisiana Boating Laws

Whether you trawl for crawdad or sail the gulf, vessel operators need to be well-acquainted with Louisiana boating laws. If you find yourself involved in an accident or have a complaint about the way your boat was sold or manufactured, you would be wise to consult with a lawyer because of the serious potential consequences. Contact a Louisiana attorney to better understand your legal situation and options.

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