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For-Hire/Charter Fishing Licenses and Permits

Resident and nonresident guides operating charter fishing vessels in saltwater areas of Louisiana must have a Charter Boat Fishing Guide License, as well as other applicable licenses and permits. You can purchase new licenses at LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge during normal business hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. You can also download an application and submit it via email or mail.

  • Email to Scan and attach the application and all required documents to your email. Licensing staff will contact applicants by phone to collect payment by credit card.
  • Mail it to the address below with a copy of your driver’s license and a check or money order for your license fees:
    Commercial License Section
    PO Box 98000
    Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

License and Permit Types and Fees

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
    • Louisiana Recreational Fishing Licenses (Basic and Saltwater)
    • 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

Offshore and Federal Permits

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP)
Charter captains, including those fishing from vessels with a valid federal charter / headboat permit, are required to have a valid Charter ROLP to possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish in Louisiana waters. This permit is free of charge. A Charter ROLP covers all paying anglers on a charter trip. A Charter ROLP is also valid for the captain on any private, recreational offshore trips he may take. Charter captains should not get a separate ROLP for private trips; they only need a Charter ROLP. Be sure to select charter permit when you get or renew your ROLP online. 

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, dolphinfish, 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 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 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.

How do I qualify for resident 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 (valid for 12 months or more)
  • 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.

With respect to a corporation or other legal entity, a resident is incorporated or otherwise organized under and subject to the laws of Louisiana, is domiciled in Louisiana, and has a permanent physical location of business in Louisiana where records are held.

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.


For-hire/charter fishing licenses are valid beginning January 1 of each calendar year and expire December 31 of the same calendar year. Renew your license through the mail, in person, or online.
For more information, please call 225.765.2898.