boaters

Are there any requirements, other than a valid driver’s license, necessary for an adult to operate a powerboat in area public waterways? Are any safety/boating courses required?

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries encourages every boater to take a boater education course.

For those born after Jan. 1, 1984, however, it’s a requirement. To operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower, those in that age range must successfully complete a LDWF-approved boater education course, unless they are accompanied by someone over 18 who has completed the course.

In addition, if you were born after Jan. 1, 1984, you must successfully complete an approved boater education course to operate a personal watercraft. You must also be at least 16 to operate that type of watercraft.

The only exception to the motorboat or personal watercraft rule are those who are a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain.

Individuals are required to carry their certification of course completion while on the motorboat or personal watercraft.

The department offers a free, in-person boater education course that satisfies these boater education requirements. The course lasts between six and eight hours and is usually completed in a day.

During the course, LDWF agents and trained volunteer instructors conduct the training — which includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal and equipment requirements, navigation rules, navigation charts, trailer manoeuvring, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more. To pass the course, you must achieve a score of 70 percent.

The courses are offered year-round and registration is available online at www.wlf.louisiana.gov. Once you complete the course, you will receive a temporary Boater Education Card; a permanent card will be mailed at a later date.

Another option is taking a LDWF-approved online boater education course through Boat US.org or Boat-Ed.com. The BoatUS.org course is free, but Boat-Ed.com charges a fee.

Again, to pass you must score at least 70 percent. Once you complete a LDWF-approved online course, the website will provide you a temporary certificate. LDWF will issue you an official Boater Education Card in three to four weeks.

Children younger than age 10 may take a boater education course, but are not eligible to be certified. They must retake the course to be certified when they reach 10 years of age or older.

Informer is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com.

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