Boating safety course mandated by State

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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers a free boating course that lasts between 6 and 8 hours. Participants usually complete the course in one day. The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal and equipment requirements, navigation rules, navigation charts, trailering, sailboats and related subjects that include canoeing, personal watercraft and more.

Participants who complete the course will receive a Boater Education Card. LDWF encourages every boater to take a boater education course. However, Louisiana law requires that all boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984, complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. The person may operate the boat if accompanied by someone over 18 years of age who, if required, has completed the course.

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The minimum age for Boater Education Certification in Louisiana is 10 years old. Youth younger than 10 may take the course, but they are not eligible to be certified and must retake the course to obtain certification.

A person who is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a captain to operate a vessel is exempt from boater education requirements.

•How much does the course cost? There is no charge for the classroom format.

•Who teaches boater education courses? LDWF enforcement agents and volunteer instructors teach boater education courses. Volunteer instructors undergo background checks and receive training and oversight from LDWF staff.

•How old do you have to be to operate a personal watercraft? It is illegal for anyone under 16 years old to operate a personal watercraft.

•Did you know? Next time you renew your driver’s license at the Office of Motor Vehicles, you can add the following endorsements to your license; Lifetime Hunting, Lifetime Fishing,  Lifetime Combination, Boater Education and Hunter Education.