For-Hire/Charter Fishing Licenses

Renew your license

How do I purchase a for-hire/charter fishing license?

Resident and nonresident guides operating charter fishing vessels in saltwater areas of Louisiana must have a Charter Boat Fishing Guide License. New applicants must apply in person at LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

To quality for a Charter Boat Fishing Guide License, you must present the following:

  • • A valid U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license
  • • A valid driver’s license
  • • Louisiana Recreational Fishing Licenses (Basic and Saltwater)
  • • Proof of liability insurance.

You must also provide proof of residency for your domiciliary state.

 

For more information, please call 225-765-2898.

When do licenses expire?

For-hire/charter fishing licenses are valid beginning January 1 of each calendar year and expire December 31 of the same calendar year. You can renew your license through the mail, in person, or online.

How do I qualify for resident license rates?

To purchase a license at the resident rate, you must meet the bona fide residency requirements defined below and present one of the following valid forms of identification:

  • • Louisiana driver’s license
  • • Louisiana identification card (issued by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety)

If you obtain a resident license but do not comply with the bona fide residency requirements as stated below, you will be subject to criminal and/or civil sanctions.

 

Bona Fide Residency Requirements:
You’re a bona fide resident if you’ve resided in the state of Louisiana continuously during the 12 months immediately prior to the date you apply for any license and if you’ve established Louisiana as your legal domicile. You must demonstrate compliance with all of the following, as applicable:

  • • If you’re registered to vote, you’re registered to vote in Louisiana
  • • If you’re licensed to drive a motor vehicle, you have a valid Louisiana driver’s license
  • • If you own a motor vehicle located within Louisiana, you have a valid Louisiana registration for that vehicle
  • • If you earn an income, you have filed a Louisiana state income tax return and have complied with state income tax law and regulations.

Any person, corporation, or other legal entity that possesses a resident license from any other state or country shall not qualify for a resident license in Louisiana.

License and Permit Types and Fees

To operate a vessel for hire and derive income from taking recreational fishermen to saltwater areas within the state to take fish, you must have one or more of the following licenses or permits issued by LDWF.

If you:

You must have a/an:

Fees and notes:

Operate a charter fishing vessel in saltwater areas of the state

Charter Boat Fishing Guide License

Up to six passengers: $250 resident, $1,500 nonresident; more than six passengers: $500 resident, $2,500 nonresident.

 

To qualify for this license, the captain of a charter fishing vessel must present the following:

• A valid U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License
• A valid driver’s license
• A Louisiana Recreational Fishing License
• Proof of liability insurance.

 

A licensed Charter Boat Fishing Guide shall not have a Spotted Seatrout Permit.

Are a charter fishing operation which does not have a charter boat fishing guide present and consists of a large vessel carrying small skiffs that will be used by no more than two people for fishing purposes

• Mothership License (for the main motorized vessel)

• Charter Skiff License (for each skiff)

• Mothership with up to six skiffs: $1,000 resident and nonresident; mothership with more than six skiffs: $2,000 resident and nonresident; mothership captain must have a valid U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License on his person.

• Charter Skiff License (2 persons per skiff limit): $50 resident and nonresident; identifies the mothership to which it is attached; a licensed skiff may only be used for fishing purposes while the mothership to which it’s attached is located in Louisiana waters

Are a charter boat captain whose passengers are fishing for tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, or dolphin

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

Free. Customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip do not need a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit. Get or renew your Recreational Offshore Landing Permit online. Be sure to select charter permit.

 

Federal Permits

You must have additional permits issued by NOAA Fisheries to operate a vessel for hire in federal waters and take passengers to recreationally fish for and retain federally managed species. You should stay informed of the state/federal jurisdictional boundary as future congressional actions may affect current boundary demarcation as it applies to reef fish species.

If you:

You must have a/an:

Fees and notes:

Own or operate a charter vessel or headboat and take people out fishing in federal waters to catch and keep mackerels, cobia, little tunny, cero, dolphin, or bluefish

Federal Gulf of Mexico Charter Vessel/Headboat Coastal Migratory Pelagics Permit

No permits are currently being issued (as of 6/16/2003); you may not sell fish under this permit. See NOAA Fisheries’ Permits Office website for more information.

Own or operate a charter vessel or headboat and take people out fishing in federal waters to catch and keep snappers, groupers, amberjack, tilefish, hogfish, or gray triggerfish

Federal Charter Vessel/Headboat Reef Fish Permit

No permits are currently being issued (as of 6/16/2003). You may not sell fish under this permit. If your vessel also has a federal Commercial Reef Fish Permit, it must have a VMS onboard. See NOAA Fisheries’ Permits Office website for more information.

Own or operate a charter vessel or headboat fishing for or retaining tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish in both state and federal waters

Federal Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat Permit

$20; buy or renew your permit online. A licensed U.S. Coast Guard captain must be onboard the vessel fishing for Atlantic HMS. The vessel must comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety gear regulations. A permitted vessel may take passengers to recreationally fish for or retain any Atlantic HMS with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with handline; tunas with green-stick or bandit gear; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun. This permit also allows some commercial sale of tunas, swordfish, and sharks, depending on the for-hire status of the vessel and possession of certain permits.