Buy A License Renew Your Boat Registration Pay Fines/Restitution

Boat Title and Registration FAQs

What is the difference between a title and a registration?

A boat title is a legal document proving ownership of a boat/outboard motor. Lenders often require titles to prove the seller has clear ownership of the boat. A title needs to be purchased only once. 

Registration allows the boat/outboard motor to be used on Louisiana public waters. LDWF issues a boat registration card, and this card must be carried on the boat as proof of registration. It is valid for and renewed every three (3) years. A boat is registered in the state of primary use.

Is my out-of-state registration valid in Louisiana?

Yes—out-of-state boaters may operate a vessel with a valid out-of-state registration for up to 90 consecutive days on Louisiana waters.

Your boat must be registered in the state of primary use (the state where the boat is on the water more than it is on the water of any other state). It does not matter where you live--if you use your boat more often in Louisiana than your home state, Louisiana is your state of primary use. The law allows for the occasional use of a boat in states other than those where the boat is registered. 

May I use my boat on Louisiana waters while I’m waiting for my registration to be processed?

Yes, you can make a copy of your registration application and keep it on your vessel to use it as a temporary registration.

Do I have to register a boat with a trolling motor?

Yes, you must register any boat with mechanical propulsion if you’re operating it on waters of the state of Louisiana. If the boat is used exclusively on a private pond, then it does not need to be registered. 

Do I have to register my canoe or kayak?

If you use any type of motor, including an electric one, to propel a canoe or kayak, then you must register it if you use it on the public waters of Louisiana. Otherwise, you are not required to register a canoe or kayak in Louisiana.

Do I have to register a sailboat that doesn’t have a motor?

Sailboats less than 12 feet in length without mechanical propulsion do not require registration. Sailboats more than 12 feet in length without mechanical propulsion must be registered. All sailboats with mechanical propulsion must be registered regardless of length.

I have a boat that I found/salvaged from a scrap metal yard. Can I register it so I can put a motor on it?

No, we cannot register found/salvaged boats because they typically do not have proper paperwork. 

How long is my registration valid?

Boat registrations are valid for three years from the date they're issued. The expiration date is printed on your registration certificate. You must renew your boat registration within 60 days of the expiration date; you will receive a renewal notice in the mail. If you do not renew in time, your boat registration will be canceled. You can renew your boat registration in person at LDWF Headquarters in Baton Rouge, by mail, or online

What forms of payment do you accept?

  • In person: cash, cashier’s check, personal check, money order, and credit card (3% additional charge if paying by credit card)
  • By mail: cashier’s check, personal check, or money order

When you email paperwork for a boat registration, how long does it take to receive a phone call for payment?

Approximately 4 to 6 weeks.

I mailed in my paperwork for my boat registration but haven’t received it yet. How do I check the status?

Please call 225.765.2887 or 225.765.2898 between 8 am and 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

I already emailed the paperwork for my boat registration, but I want it sooner than the typical 4 to 6 weeks. Can I get it processed sooner if I come into the office?

Yes, if you bring the original paperwork to LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

What is a Hull Identification Number (HIN)?

The Hull Identification Number (HIN) is a 12-character serial number that uniquely identifies a boat. The HIN is comparable to a VIN on a car. All boats manufactured or imported on or after November 1, 1972, must bear a HIN. This HIN must be identified during the boat registration process. Vessels manufactured or imported before 1972 are EXEMPT because they often do not have a HIN. 

The HIN is located on a metal or plastic plate, usually on the right/starboard side of the transom within 2 inches of the top of transom, gunwale, or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest. On vessels without transoms, the HIN is usually affixed to the right/starboard outboard side of hull, aft, within 1 foot of the stern and within 2 inches of the top of the hull side, gunwale or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest. On catamarans and pontoon boats with replaceable hulls, the HIN is usually affixed to the aft crossbeam, within 1 foot of the right/starboard hull attachment.

It is a violation of state and federal law to possess any boat from which the hull identification number or manufacturer's identification plates bearing the serial number have been removed or altered. Law enforcement will consider an outboard motor or motorboat without these numbers contraband and seize the property. Salvage or found boats, or boats with no identification markings must be reported immediately to LDWF.

I built a homemade boat. How do I register and title it?

You must have your homemade boat inspected by LDWF before it’s registered and titled. Submit a completed registration application and notarized inspection affidavit to LDWF Headquarters either in person or by mail along with fees to register, inspect, and title the boat. LDWF will issue you a letter with information on how to schedule an inspection appointment. You must provide original receipts for building materials indicating taxes paid at the time of inspection.

How much does it cost to register and title a homemade boat? 

Inspection Fee: $25

Boat Title Fee: $26

Registration Fee: based on the length of your boat

Coast Guard Class Length Fee
Class A 15 feet, 11 inches or less $36
Class I Between 16 feet and 25 feet, 11 inches $57
Class II Between 26 feet and 39 feet, 11 inches $78
Class III 40 feet or longer $99

How does LDWF assign registration numbers?

After processing your boat registration, we will assign a number to be displayed on your boat. The registration number has three parts:

  1. LA, which designates Louisiana
  2. Four digits
  3. Two letters

Each part is separated by hyphens or equivalent spaces.

This number is also noted on the boat registration certificate we mail to you when you register your boat. You must keep your registration certificate on board the vessel at all times. We suggest keeping it in a waterproof container in a safe but easily accessible place.

You’ll also receive two (2) validation decals; their color corresponds with the year the boat registration will expire.

When we issue a registration number for a boat, that number becomes permanently assigned to that boat and remains as identification until the registration is canceled or the boat is destroyed or abandoned. The same number will also be used for identification if the boat is transferred to a new owner.

How do I properly display my registration number on my boat?

Paint or attach the assigned number to each side of the forward half of the vessel's hull. The letters and numbers must be:

  • Plain block design
  • At least 3 inches high*
  • Of a color that contrasts with the hull (light numbers on a dark hull or vice versa)*
  • Clearly visible and legible
  • Placed vertically.

*Disregard border, outline, and shadowing when determining height and color contrast. 

There must be a hyphen or space equal to the width of a number (except 1) or letter (except I) between the prefix, numerals, and suffix. Examples of correct number display are: LA-4002-CS OR LA 4002 GS.

You must attach decals received from LDWF to each side of the vessel's bow within 6 inches of your registration number (before or after it).

Is boat and/or motor titling mandatory in Louisiana?

You must title a boat or outboard motor (25 horsepower or more) that is:

  • Financed or currently titled in another state when you’re registering it in Louisiana
  • A homemade boat
  • A boat that has an incorrect hull identification number.

You must register your boat prior to applying for a title.

If you apply for a title, indicating a lien, the original title will be sent to the lending institution until the lien is satisfied. Once the lien is satisfied, an original title will be provided to the owner, by the lienholder.

States and Territories that Require Titling:

California Massachusetts New York Utah
District of Columbia Michigan North Carolina Vermont
Florida Minnesota Ohio Virginia
Guam Missouri Oklahoma Washington
Idaho Montana Oregon West Virginia
Illinois N. Mariana Islands Pennsylvania Wisconsin
Indiana Nebraska Rhode Island Wyoming
Iowa Nevada South Carolina  
Kentucky New Jersey South Dakota  
Maryland New Mexico Texas  

States with Optional Titling:

  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi

States and Territories that Do Not Require Titling (Registration Only):·

Alabama Colorado Kansas Tennessee
Alaska Connecticut Maine U.S. Virgin Islands
American Samoa Delaware New Hampshire  
Arizona Georgia North Dakota  
Arkansas Hawaii Puerto Rico  

Where do I get my boat trailer registered and titled?

Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles

In addition, a representative from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles will be at LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge every Monday from 8 am to 4 pm to assist with boat trailer registrations. Customers will be able to register their boats and trailers at one location without having to go to both agencies.

How do I renew my boat registration?

Boat registrations are valid for three years from the date they are issued. The expiration date is printed on your registration certificate. You must renew your boat registration within 60 days of the expiration date; you will receive a renewal notice in the mail. If you do not renew in time, your boat registration will be canceled. There are no late fees associated with late renewals.

Complete and submit a Boat Registration/Boat and Motor Title Application. Your renewal application must include your current registration number.

Apply:

  • In person at LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge during normal business hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday
  • Online (you’ll be charged a handling fee in addition to your renewal fee)
  • By mail to:
    LDWF
    Attn: Boat Registration/Boat and Motor Title Application
    PO Box 14796
    Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

Renewal fees are the same as registration fees.

Be sure to notify us of any address changes.

What do I do if I never received my boat registration and decals?

If you haven’t received your registration and decals within 30 days of applying, please call LDWF at 225.765.2898 to check the status.

What do I do if I lost my boat decals, registration card, or title?

If a registration certificate is lost or destroyed, you must notify LDWF within 15 days, describing the circumstances. You can contact LDWF by phone at 225.765.2898 or email at motorboat@wlf.la.gov.

To get duplicate documents, complete and submit a Boat Registration/Boat and Motor Title Application, along with original notarized documentation demonstrating boat ownership. In addition:

  • If you’re applying for a duplicate certificate, you must include your current registration number on the application.
  • If you’re applying for duplicate decals with a certificate, you must include your current registration number and the reason you need a duplicate, and your application must be notarized.*
  • If you’re applying for a duplicate boat or motor title, you must include your current registration number and the reason you need a duplicate, and your application must be notarized.*

Apply either in person at LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge during normal business hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, or by mail to:

LDWF
Attn: Boat Registration/Boat and Motor Title Application
PO Box 14796
Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

*If applying in person, your application form does not need to be notarized. 

Fees:

Duplicate Registration Card $8
Duplicate Decal (includes registration card) $13
Duplicate Title $23

What happens to your registration and/or title when you sell your boat?

When you sell your boat, you must notify LDWF in writing within 15 days of the date of sale. The original registration numbers issued to that boat will be transferred to the new owner. If the boat is titled, you must surrender the title to the new owner. See “How do I transfer ownership of my boat?” for more information.

What do I do if my boat is stolen, lost, destroyed, or abandoned?

If your boat is stolen, immediately notify local law enforcement authorities and provide the boat registration number, hull identification number, serial number of the motor, the owner's name and mailing address, and any distinctive boat markings. Request that law enforcement enter the stolen boat information into the crime information network.

Once you obtain a case number from the police report, complete a Boat Theft Report and submit it to LDWF.

You should also notify the harbormaster, your insurance company, and other marinas and dealers. 

When the boat has been recovered, you can submit the Recovery Report to LDWF for the status to be updated as recovered.

When a registered boat is lost, destroyed, or abandoned, the owner must notify their local law enforcement agency to initiate an investigation. The owner must also notify LDWF’s Law Enforcement Division to change the status of the vessel and notify LDWF’s Boat Registration staff in writing to the address listed below to cancel the registration.

LDWF
Attn: Boat Registration/Boat and Motor Title Application
PO Box 14796
Baton Rouge, LA 70898