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Everything a boat owner in Louisiana should know

Louisiana residents who own and operate boats or other watercraft on the state waterways should know and adhere to the appropriate rules and regulations. Any resident or person operating a boat in Louisiana waters violating these rules may be penalized under the law. Criminal charges may be imposed for irresponsible operation of a watercraft, which may cause an accident and property damage.

All motorboats operating on state waterways should be registered. Theft of a registered boat must be reported by its owner to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days of discovering theft. Speeding and overloading a watercraft beyond its safe capacity is prohibited. No one should steer a watercraft into any area that has been marked as restricted for use for bathing, swimming or any other purpose.

A person is guilty of careless operation of a watercraft if reckless operation does not allow stopping within a safe distance of other watercraft or the shoreline by use of reasonable means. A person is guilty of reckless operation of a watercraft if it is steered in a manner which endangers the life or property of another person.

If someone causes the death of another person by driving a watercraft in a reckless and negligent manner, the operator may be charged and convicted of negligent homicide. An owner of a watercraft or any person in charge of it cannot authorize any person to operate a watercraft if that person is incapable due to physical or mental disability. No person under the influence of alcohol or drugs should be permitted to operate any motorboat, surfboard or any such device. Boats should be used in a safe and secure manner to prevent boating accidents and damage to life and property.

Source:, "Required Equipment & Regulations," Accessed on April 3, 2015

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