Boating is something fun to do regardless of the time of year in Louisiana, but you do have to make sure that you’re being safe. There are changes in weather patterns that you should be aware of, and you do need to take safety steps to be sure you make it back to shore.
Did you know that you must complete a Louisiana Department of Wildlife-approved boater education course if you want to operate a powered boat over 10 horsepower in Louisiana unless you have someone over 18 with you who has? You cannot boat on your own without that educational certificate as proof that you have completed the course.
Why did the laws around boating certifications change?
For those who were born before January 1, 1984, there is no requirement to complete a boater education course, even though taking one may be helping in preventing accidents. However, since that date, anyone who decides to go boating on a motorboat over 10 horsepower does need to have a certification. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of boating collisions and drowning deaths, so people can enjoy the waterways safely.
There is one exception to the rule outside of being born before 1984. That exception is if you are a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain. In that case, you won’t need to take any additional courses to get your certification.
Do you have to carry your certification with you?
Yes. Think of your certification like a license. You need to have it with you at any time when you’re on a personal watercraft or motorboat covered by the law.
If you don’t want to carry that certification with you, you can have your boater education endorsement added to your driver’s license.
Does the certification require you to go on the water?
Interestingly, this course can be taken online, so you don’t have to go on a boat to complete your education. Why is this? Unlike driver’s education, boating education is primarily focused on waterway regulations and safety. You’ll learn the meaning of terms like port or starboard, but you’ll also learn where you can or cannot boat in your vessel.
Safety starts at home. Take the appropriate courses, so you have the education to drive your boat safely.