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Louisiana Boating Requirements


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May 28, 2023 - This summary is designed to inform the boating public about title options, registration requirements, recording methods, record searches, tax rules, and operational guidelines for the State of Louisiana. The data is maintained as an open wiki forum where readers are encouraged to participate by sharing knowledge and experiences with this particular jurisdiction. Simply click on the above WikiShare link to contribute further details or suggest a revision.

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

Boat registration in Louisiana is required on all motorized boats including sailboats 12 feet or longer unless otherwise exempt. This includes non-motorized houseboats and U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels. A visitation period of 90 days is allowed for boats that are registered in another state, Coast Guard documented, or registered in a foreign country. Visit their website for additional exemptions.

Louisiana issues titles for boats and outboard motors of 25 horsepower or more that are financed or currently titled in another state. This state has no provisions for bonded boat titles, conditional boat registrations. There is no process available for registering or titling abandoned boats.

There are approximately 317,711 boats registered in the State of Louisiana. This accounts for 2.7% of all nationwide registrations.

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

Boat registration records in Louisiana are administered by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This agency does not facilitate online registration searches for the general public. However, they will check their records by phone for a boat hull number and will verify a registration certificate if you have a copy in hand. If you need a print-out, it will be necessary to mail or fax the above Boat Record Request.

Security interests on non-documented boats which are state titled must be recorded 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 UCC recording would be appropriate if neither state titling or documentation applies.

Databases - Record Searches

Boat title and registration records in Louisiana are maintained by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This agency does facilitate an online boat registration search lookup, although it provides only minimal information. More detailed boat record printouts may be obtained by an owner or otherwise qualified party upon submitting a boat record request form. It is also reported that DWF offices will provide telephone verifications on information shown on boat title or registration certificates in hand.

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 therefore 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. However, these 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.

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 above WikiTags.

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May 28, 2023 - Page revised.



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