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Louisiana Boating Requirements


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JUN 29, 2023 - Louisiana boating requirements summary provides everything you should know about boat registration, title options, recording methods, record searches, tax rules, and operational rules for the State of Louisiana. There are approximately 317,711 boats registered in Louisiana which accounts for 2.7% of all nationwide registrations.

Registration - Titling

Louisiana issues registrations and titles for all non-exempt boats operating within its jurisdiction. These are administered through the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Baton Rouge. A list of the most current exceptions, registration fees, instructions and forms can be found on their boat registration website as shown in WikiLinks.

USCG documented vessels must be registered in Louisiana when used for recreational purposes. Those used commercially are exempt.

Outboard motors are titled in Louisiana under certain circumstances. Visit their boat registration website in WikiLinks for further information.

Boat trailer registrations and titles are required in Louisiana and are handled by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

A visitation period of 90 days is allowed for boats in Louisiana that are registered in another state, Coast Guard documented or registered in a foreign country.

Louisiana has no provisions for bonded boat titles or conditional boat registrations. A court order may be required when there is insufficient proof of ownership.

There is no process available for registering or titling abandoned boats in Louisiana. A court order may  be required under these circumstances.

Inspections are required when registering a boat in Louisiana that is homemade or has a questionable hull identification number.

Numbering - Marking

Boat registration numbers in Louisiana begin with an "LA" designation which is followed by four numbers and then two letters. These must be displayed on all non-documented boats along with registration sticker tabs. Coast Guard documented vessels may not display the state registration numbers. However they must display the state registration tabs, an owner designated vessel name, and a hailing port. An official documentation number must also be affixed to a visible interior location in the hull itself or an integral part of the hull.

All vessels manufactured after 1972 are required to have a 12 digit hull identification number affixed to the vessel by the manufacturer. State assigned hull numbers prefixed with the letters "LAZ" are available for home made boats and those without factory designations. The hull number must be inspected by a Louisiana law enforcement officer if there is a discrepancy.

Liens - Security Interests

Security interests on non-documented boats which are state titled are recorded and perfected on the Louisiana state registration records. If the vessel is documented, a preferred vessel mortgage should be recorded with the U.S. Coast Guard. A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) recording is appropriate if neither state titling or documentation applies.

Louisiana has statutes that allow for the enforcement of mechanic's liens on boats for unpaid goods and services. The assistance of an attorney is recommended under such circumstances.

Databases - Record Searches

Boat title and registration records in Louisiana are maintained by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DFW). Insights on how to go about searching their boat registration database and obtaining current or historical records can be found in WikiTags. Outboard motor title searches may be conducted in the same manner.

Secured interests on non-titled and non-documented boats are recorded as UCC filings. Such information can be obtained by filing a UCC request form with the nearest Parish UCC officer or by utilizing the services of a public record vendor.

State and Federal tax liens on boats are not always recorded in a consistent manner and are sometimes difficult to identify. They may show up as a red flag on state registration records, as UCC filings, in state revenue records, in a county clerks records, or on a vessel's abstract of title for documented boats. Given these disparities, it may be worth obtaining the services of a public record vendor that has access to a broad range of personal property lien recordings.

Ownership, mortgage, and lien search recordings for USCG documented vessels can be obtained by ordering an abstract of title and a copy of the certificate of documentation from the National Vessel Documentation Center. A USCG Vessel Record Request form can be found in WikiLinks. However, abstracts are encoded and can be difficult to interpret, especially on older vessels with numerous recordings. It may be worthwhile to contact a professional vessel title company for assistance in this regard.

Taxes - Insurance

Sales tax is levied on all boat transactions in Louisiana.

Liability insurance is not required for boats operating on Louisiana waters. However, it is highly recommended and usually required if there is a boat loan involved.

Operating - Safety

Boat safety education is required for all boat operators in Louisiana born after January 1, 1984, who will be operating a motorized vessel over 10 hp.

Ownership transfers, abandonments, and destructions must be reported to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within 15 days. Stolen boats must be reported within 5 days.

 Visit WikiLinks for a comprehensive listing of Louisiana boat equipment requirements.


The information contained herein is subject to change without notice and may contain errors or omissions. Be sure to check with the respective government agency before taking action on any such data. More detailed information about all of these topics can be found in the WikiTags and WikiLinks for this page.

Credits and References

JUN 29, 2023 - Page revised.



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