Mandatory Boater Education

Please click here to register for a boater education course.

What is boater education?

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.

View of copy of Louisiana's Boater Education Handbook online.

Who needs boater education?

LDWF encourages every boater to take a boater education course. However, Louisiana law requires that all boaters born after January 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. The minimum age for Boater Education Certification in Louisiana is 10 years old. Youth younger than 10 years of age may take the course, but they are not eligible to be certified and must retake the course to obtain certification when they reach 10 years of age or older. 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.

Is there a possibility of failing the course?

Yes, the minimum score on the written test is 70%.  In addition, disruptive behavior or not attending the entire course may cause you to fail.

How do I register for an instructor-led classroom course?

LDWF offers classroom boater education courses year-round. These courses are most popular in the spring and summer. Click here to sign up for a course. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a temporary Boater Education Card. You will receive your permanent card in the mail at a later date.

How do I become a Volunteer Boater Education Instructor?  

Click here to learn more!

How do I register for an approved online course?

If a classroom course is not convenient for you, you may take an LDWF-approved online boating course provided by BoatUS.org or Boat-Ed.com. LDWF does not administer these courses but has approved them to satisfy boating education requirements. The BoatUS.org course is free; there is a fee for the Boat-Ed.com course. Upon successful completion of either course, you will receive a temporary Boater Education Certificate from the website. You will be issued a permanent Boater Education Card approximately three to four weeks later. For more information, visit www.boatus.org or www.boat-ed.com.

How do I replace a lost Boater Education Card?

If you lost your Boater Education Card, click here to print a temporary card and/or request a duplicate card to be mailed to you.

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.

Want to take the free paddle sports safety course?

To take the course, please click on this link: https://www.boaterexam.com/paddling/