Louisiana Revised Statutes - Title 34 - Louisiana R.S. 34
The following selections have been taken from Title 34 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, governing shipping and navigation. R.S. 34 may be viewed in its entirety by clicking here; however, the sections that follow pertain specifically to boating within the State of Louisiana and have been reproduced here for your convenience:
Title 34. Navigation and Shipping
Chapter 4. Ships and Water Craft (Refs & Annos)
Part I. Injury to Persons or Property Subpart A. Liability of Vessels
§ 801. Definitions
When used in this Sub-part, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this Section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) "Vessel" means and includes any steamship, steamboat, tug, towboat, barge, water craft, ship or vessel of any kind or description, whether foreign or domestic.
(2) "Person", "party" or "individual" includes natural persons, firms and corporations.
§ 802. Injury or damage by careless navigation; privilege on vessels
In all cases where any injury, loss or damage is caused or occasioned within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana to the person or property of any person by carelessness, neglect or want of skill in the navigation, direction or management of any vessel, the person suffering such injury shall have a first lien and privilege on the offending vessel for the amount of the injury, loss or damage.
§ 803. Proceedings in rem
The person suffering the injury, loss, or damage may proceed in rem against the offending vessel to recover therefor in any court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to the procedure provided in this Sub-part.
§ 804. Venue of actions
The venue of actions prosecuted under the provisions of this Sub-part shall be, at the option of the person suffering injury, loss, or damage, either at the place where the injury, loss or damage occurred or where the offending vessel may be found.
§ 805. Petition and bond
The person suffering the injury, loss or damage shall present an articulated verified petition to a court of competent jurisdiction setting out the nature of his demand, and, as nearly as possible, the amount of the injury, loss or damage, and claiming the lien and privilege on the offending vessel; he shall also pray that the vessel be seized and sold to satisfy his claim with legal interest and costs of the suit; and with such petition the plaintiff, the state and all agencies and political subdivisions thereof excepted, shall file a bond with security in the penal sum of two hundred and fifty dollars in favor of the clerk of court for the benefit of whomsoever it may concern, conditioned to pay all costs of the proceeding and all damages which may be suffered by the owner or other person entitled to the possession of the seized vessel in the event it will thereafter be determined that the seizure will have been wrongfully obtained, but if the plaintiff's claim be dismissed on the merits, the seizure shall not be deemed to have been wrongfully obtained.
§ 806. Provisional seizure of vessel
Upon the filing of the petition and bond, the court shall issue an order, in the manner now or hereafter provided for the issuance of writs of provisional seizure, directed to the sheriff ordering him to provisionally seize and take into his possession the offending vessel and hold the same subject to further orders of the court, and directing at the same time that public notice be given to all persons interested to appear within fifteen days to answer the petition so presented; and thereupon the sheriff shall provisionally seize and take into his possession the offending vessel and hold her subject to the further orders of the court, and shall cause public notice thereof and of the time assigned for the filing of an answer to the petition to be given by public notice published three times within ten days in a daily newspaper of general circulation at the place where the proceeding is pending, or if there is no such newspaper then public notice shall be given in any manner that the court shall direct, by publication at any place within the state, posting or otherwise.
§ 807. Stay of execution; release bonds
A. In any case where a writ of provisional seizure has been issued for the seizure of such offending vessel, the sheriff shall stay the execution of process, or if the process has been levied, shall discharge the seized vessel, and deliver it to the claimant thereof if the claimant has waived objection to jurisdiction in the cause in which the writ of provisional seizure was issued, and on receiving from the claimant a bond or stipulation in an amount one and one-half times that claimed by the plaintiff, with sufficient surety to be approved by the sheriff to whom the writ of provisional seizure has been directed, conditioned to satisfy any judgment rendered in the cause in which the writ of provisional seizure has been issued.
B. However, if the suit is for unliquidated damages, the claimant of the offending vessel, in lieu of furnishing a bond in an amount one and one-half times that of the plaintiff's claim, may apply to the judge of the court in which the proceeding is pending for a reduction of the amount of the bond, and the judge is authorized in his discretion, and after such summary proceedings as he may direct, to fix the amount of the bond at that sufficient to adequately secure the payment of the injury, loss, or damage which has been suffered by the plaintiff.
(1) In any case where the amount claimed by the plaintiff exceeds the then fair value of the offending vessel, the claimant may without waiving objection to jurisdiction apply to the court to appoint, and thereupon the court shall appoint, two competent appraisers to ascertain the then fair value of the offending vessel and report the same to the court, reserving to either party the right to contest the valuation so fixed in a summary proceeding on competent evidence to be submitted to the court, whereupon the court shall determine the then fair value of the vessel and shall fix the bond at such sum, and if it will be less than one and one-half times the plaintiff's claim, the claimant of the offending vessel may have it delivered to him upon giving bond in the amount so fixed by the court, and any judgment rendered in said cause shall be executory only up to the amount of the bond so furnished.
(2) The release bond shall be returned by the sheriff to the court, and if the plaintiff recovers a judgment it shall be rendered in solido against the claimant of the vessel, the principal, and the surety on the release bond.
§ 808. Intervention of interested parties
Any person having any interest therein may claim the offending vessel and file an articulate verified answer to the plaintiff's petition, and thereafter the cause shall proceed contradictorily between the plaintiff and the claimant-respondent in the manner provided for the disposition of civil suits at law, except as otherwise herein specifically provided.
§ 809. Ex parte proceedings upon claimant's failure to answer
If any claimant who has filed a release bond does not thereafter make due answer to the plaintiff's petition on or before the return day, the court shall on motion of the plaintiff declare the claimant in default, and thereafter the cause shall proceed ex parte, as provided for in the disposition of civil suits at law where the defendant has failed to appear and answer.
§ 810. Procedure when offending vessel not claimed
If the offending vessel is not claimed on or before the return day of the process issued hereunder, the court shall proceed to determine the case ex parte, in the manner provided for in the disposition of civil suits at law where the defendant, after having been duly cited, does not appear and answer, and the court shall render a judgment in his favor and against the offending vessel for the amount which the plaintiff in the cause may be entitled to recover, with interest and costs, and thereupon, when the judgment will have become final within the time prescribed for the finality of judgments in civil proceedings at law, and the said judgment has not been appealed from as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure for appeals from money judgments, the plaintiff may issue execution against the offending vessel and have it seized under a writ of fieri facias and sold to pay the amount of plaintiff's judgment, with interest and costs, by preference and priority over all persons whomsoever. Any amount remaining in the hands of the sheriff after the payment of the plaintiff's judgment, with interest and costs, shall be disposed of by the sheriff as provided by the laws of Louisiana for the disposition of property in the hands of the sheriff belonging to unknown persons.
§ 811. Sale of vessel, procedure
If a claimant of the offending vessel does not give bond for the release thereof on or before the return day of the process, or makes application to the court to fix the amount of the bond in one of the methods provided in R.S. 34:807 and thereafter gives the bond within ten days of the date that the court will fix the amount thereof, the plaintiff may make an ex parte application to the court, and the court shall order that the vessel shall be sold at public sale in the manner provided for the sale of personal property under a writ of fieri facias, and the proceeds of said sale shall be retained by the sheriff as security to satisfy any judgment which may be rendered in the pending cause.
§ 812. Suits in personam; joinder
The plaintiff in any proceeding hereunder may, at his option, join a suit in personam against the vessel's owner or any other party who may be responsible to the plaintiff for the injury, loss or damage sued for.
§ 813. Rules of procedure; time for appeal
In any proceeding hereunder, the court shall follow the rules of procedure prescribed for the trial of civil suits at law to the extent that they are not inconsistent with any provision hereof, and all appeals taken from any judgment rendered shall be taken in the time and in the method provided for appeals in civil suits at law for money demands.
§ 814. Sale of vessel when damaged or subject to deterioration
If any offending vessel, upon seizure by the sheriff, is in a damaged condition so that the expense of keeping the same is excessive or disproportionate, or if it is liable to be lost or suffer injury or great deterioration by being detained in custody, the court may, on the application of the sheriff or on the application of either party, order the offending vessel to be sold at public sale, without appraisement, for cash, after such advertisement and at such time and place as the court may direct; provided that prior to adjudication of the vessel at any such sale any claimant of such offending vessel may cause the same to be released from seizure and delivered to him upon appearing and giving bond in the manner hereinabove provided.
§ 815. Costs; stipulation for payment; insufficiency of release bond
In all cases the court may, on the filing of the petition or the appearance of any respondent or claimant, or at any other time, require the plaintiff or claimant or both, the State of Louisiana, the agencies and the political subdivisions thereof excepted, to give a stipulation or additional stipulation with sufficient sureties in such sum as the court shall direct to pay all costs which may be awarded against either of them by the final decree of the court or on an appeal by any appellate court. In the event that any party considers that the surety on any release bond filed has become insufficient or insolvent after the filing of the bond, on application to the court and due showing of such insufficiency or insolvency, the court shall order a proper and solvent surety to be furnished within a time to be fixed by the court; and if the bond is not filed within such delay, the party obligated to file it shall be in default and thereafter the cause shall proceed just as if no appearance had been entered by him.
§ 816. Time for seizure of vessel; peremption of privilege
If the offending vessel is not seized within one year after the cause of action created under this Sub-part against it has arisen, the lien and privilege shall perempt, and thereafter no proceedings shall lie to enforce it; provided that the offending vessel is within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana continuously during the ten consecutive calendar days immediately preceding the termination of the said one year period; otherwise, the lien and privilege and the proceedings to enforce it shall continue and remain in full force and effect after the termination of the one year period until the offending vessel thereafter will be continuously within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana for ten consecutive calendar days, or for a period aggregating thirty non-consecutive calendar days, whichever will occur first, but thereafter the lien and privilege hereby created shall perempt and no further proceedings shall lie to enforce it.
§ 817. Waiver of provisions
None of the provisions of this Sub-part shall be deemed to be jurisdictional so as to require compliance therewith where the parties to the litigation herein provided for shall waive such provisions in writing.
Part II. Miscellaneous (Refs & Annos)
§ 831. Pleasure craft; tolls; wharfage
All water crafts propelled by internal combustion engines, when owned and used exclusively for pleasure purposes shall be exempt from the payment of tolls in the canals and waterways owned by the State of Louisiana when the said water craft are twenty feet in length and under. In canals and waterways owned by the state the wharfage or dockage space charge shall not be more than twelve dollars per year on all craft coming within the meaning of this section.
§ 832. Wood taken by commander of vessel; payment
Whenever the captain or other person in command of any steamboat takes or causes to be taken from any woodyard, any cordwood or wood of any other kind, he shall pay the price demanded by the owner thereof. If he refuses or neglects to pay the price demanded, the owner of the boat shall pay the price thereof, together with fifty per cent. on such price, as damages resulting from the non-payment thereof. Such damages shall in no case exceed fifty dollars, unless on proof of damage to a greater extent.
§ 833. Proof by owner of wood taken; penalty for false affidavit
It shall not be necessary for the owner of wood to furnish proof of his claim against any steamboat for cordwood taken, other than his affidavit, setting forth all the material facts connected with the taking of such wood, and refusal to pay therefor, accompanied with a certificate of the judge, or of a justice of the peace, in case of the absence or death of the judge of the parish in which the affiant lives, that he is of good standing as to veracity, and is a citizen of that parish, which affidavit and certificate shall be prima facie evidence. Any person making such affidavit falsely shall be guilty of perjury, and shall, on conviction, be punished according to law.
§ 834. Lights on steamboats; penalty for failure to have
All captains or commanders of steamboats navigating lakes, rivers, or bayous within the jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana, shall, when running during the night be compelled to hoist each two lights, both on the hurricane deck, one forward, and the other at the stern, which lights shall be kept up without intermission throughout the night, under the penalty of five hundred dollars for every failure or neglect, to be recovered of the captain or other commanding officer of such steamboat, one-half of which penalty shall be for the use of the informer.
§ 835. Vessels in Atchafalaya bay; discharge of ballast; penalty for unlawful discharge
No one in command of any vessel arriving in the Atchafalaya bay in less than five fathoms of water, having ballast on board, shall discharge any portion thereof into the bay, nor into water near thereto having a depth of less than five fathoms; the ballast of such vessels shall be discharged at such place or places as shall be designated to them, by the persons appointed to superintend the discharging of the ballast from on board all vessels that may come into the waters of the said bay. Whoever violates the foregoing provisions as to the manner of discharging ballast, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars and not less than two hundred dollars.
§ 836. Atchafalaya pilots as ballast masters; duties; penalty for failure to perform
The pilots of the Atchafalaya bay and river, shall be ex officio ballast masters, whose duty it shall be to carry into effect the provisions of R.S. 34:835 through R.S. 34:839, in relation to the discharging of ballast in the waters of the Atchafalaya bay and river; any pilot refusing or neglecting to perform the services imposed on him may be prosecuted every time he may so offend, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars and not less than one hundred dollars. All of the pilots, or a majority of them, shall determine upon a suitable place or places, where all vessels which may receive their cargoes or a part of them in the bay, shall be required to discharge their ballast, and the pilots shall mark out by stakes the place or places which they select for such purpose.
§ 837. Vessels entering Atchafalaya bay; place of taking pilot; duty of pilot
All vessels coming in from sea to the Atchafalaya bay, for the purpose of receiving cargo, shall take a pilot on board when he offers his services outside of the reefs. The pilot shall examine whether the vessel has any ballast on board, and when ballast is found, the vessel shall be conducted by said pilot to the place selected for the discharging of ballast, where the captain or master of said vessel must discharge his ballast; if the vessel has no ballast on board she shall be conducted by the pilot to the usual anchorage.
§ 838. Vessels going into Atchafalaya River; discharge of ballast; penalty for unlawful discharge
All vessels which may hereafter come into the Atchafalaya bay, with the intention of going, and do actually go, into the Atchafalaya river, shall not discharge their ballast in the bay, but must discharge their ballast on the banks of the river, or on the banks of some of the bayous connected therewith. Whoever discharges the ballast of such vessels in the bed of the river or in the waters of the bay, having a depth of less than five fathoms, shall be fined not more than five hundred, nor less than two hundred dollars.
§ 839. Proceedings before justices of the peace for violations
Whenever any person makes complaint under oath to any justice of the peace, that the captain, master or owner of any vessel, or that a pilot has violated any of the provisions of R.S. 34:836 through 34:839, the justice of the peace shall cause the person thus complained of to be brought before him, and if satisfied, from the evidence, that there is a probable cause for the complaint, he shall take a bond, with good security from the accused, in the sum of six hundred dollars, for his appearance at the next regular term of the district court of the parish where the offense has been committed, and if the accused refuses, neglects, or fails from any cause whatsoever to give such a bond, the justice of the peace shall commit the accused to the parish prison to be detained therein until discharged by due course of law.
§ 840. Discharge of grading material into Mississippi River; penalty
Any master or mate of any vessel, or other person who causes to be discharged into the Mississippi river or any of its tributaries, any ballast, gravel, sand or other material used for or suitable for filling or grading purposes, shall be fined not less than ten dollars and not more than one hundred dollars, and imprisoned not less than ten days and not more than thirty days or both. The enforcement of this Section shall not interfere with public works, the building of jetties, stopping of crevasses, or the enforcement of health ordinances.
§ 841. Blowing the stacks prohibited
It shall be unlawful for the captain or pilot or anyone acting under the orders thereof of any vessel, as defined in R.S. 34:801, operating a vessel on the Mississippi River to "blow the stacks" on the vessel while the vessel is in port. As used in this Section to "blow the stacks" means to clean out the conduits and pipes of the vessel by the use of compressed air or steam from the boilers in such a manner that smoke, soot, oil residue, or other pollutants are released through the stacks of the vessel into the air. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
§ 842. Captains and/or helmsmen of barge towing vessels on Lake Pontchartrain; penalty
A. No captain and/or helmsman of any vessel towing or pushing barges on Lake Pontchartrain shall be on duty for more than twelve hours in any twenty-four hour period except in case of emergency.
B. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars. On a second or subsequent conviction for violation of the provisions of this Section, the offender shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars.
§ 843. Objects; removal; disposition
(1) The owner of any tug, towboat, barge, watercraft, ship, vessel, equipment, machinery, or any object of any kind or description, whether foreign or domestic, which has been left unattended, stored, junked, or abandoned in any canal, coulee, drainage ditch, outfall canal, bayou, bay, lake, or any other waterway, whether navigable or not, or on the banks thereof within the state of Louisiana, or the owner of any such object moored or tied off in a drainage ditch or canal, or in an outfall canal shall present a plan as provided herein to remove the object from the waterway or bank within thirty days after receipt of a written notice by certified mail from the federal, state, or local governing authority having jurisdiction thereof, hereinafter referred to as "authority", to remove the object. In the event that the owner cannot be identified or located by the authority, the authority shall publish in the official journal of the parish where the object is located, a notice that the object shall be removed by the authority at any time after thirty calendar days of publication of the notice at the cost of the owner and shall be disposed of by the authority. If the object poses no immediate danger to life or property, the owner shall, within thirty days after receipt of notice by certified mail, present to the authority having jurisdiction over the matter, a plan for the removal of the object as soon as possible, considering factors of safety, cost, and efficiency in accomplishing the removal. The authority shall approve or reject the plan within thirty days from the date of submission by the owner.
(2) In the event the moored, tied off, unattended, stored, junked, or abandoned object poses immediate danger to life or property, it shall be removed by the owner immediately upon receipt of written or oral notice to remove. Any object within one hundred feet of a drainage pump discharge station is presumed to be an immediate danger to life or property.
(1) In the event that a plan for removal of the object is not presented to the authority, or a plan is not approved by the authority, within the periods provided for in Paragraph A(1), then the authority may have the object removed at the owner's cost and junk, discard, or otherwise dispose of the object or sell, exchange, or otherwise transfer ownership of the object to any person, corporation, or entity whatsoever for any price or consideration which the authority may deem advisable, or for no consideration, and apply the proceeds received, if any, to the cost of removing the object, and the balance, if any, shall become the property of the authority. (2) In the event the object poses immediate danger to life or property and is not removed upon written or oral notice to remove as provided in Paragraph A
(2), or the owner cannot be identified or located, the authority may cause the removal of the object at the owner's cost, risk, and expense, and may discard or otherwise dispose of the object, or sell, exchange, or otherwise transfer ownership of the object to any person, corporation, or entity whatsoever for any price or consideration which the authority may deem advisable, or for no consideration, and apply the proceeds received, if any, to the cost of removing the object, and the balance, if any, shall become the property of the authority.
C. The authority shall not be liable or responsible to the owner or other claimant of the object for any damage to or destruction of the object in connection with the removal, storage, sale, or other disposition of the object.
D. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
§ 844. Water intake zone restrictions
A. It shall be unlawful for any person on a vessel, as defined in R.S. 34:801, to discharge any substance from the vessel in a water intake zone or to operate a vessel in a water intake zone in such a manner as to roil the water, or disturb sediment, or otherwise cause the water to become more turbid, or to physically damage or attach any vessel or object to any water intake structure or facility.
B. As used in this Section, water intake zone means an area surrounding a raw water intake facility for any public water purification system or other public facility producing potable water supplies which area on a river, stream, or bayou shall have a length of not more than five hundred feet upstream and not more than five hundred feet downstream of the water intake facility and a width as follows: fifty feet toward the midstream side of the water intake facility and that portion of the river, between the water intake facility and the bank, batture, or shoreline. For such facilities on a lake or reservoir, the area shall be a three hundred foot radius around the water intake and on that portion of the water body the width of that diameter between the water intake facility and the bank or shoreline.
(1) Any person who violates any provisions of this Section shall be subject to a fine of five hundred dollars or imprisonment not to exceed six months or both. Each day of continuing violation constitutes a separate offense.
(2) No fines or penalties shall be imposed until water intake zones are appropriately designated.
Part IV. Motorboats and Vessels
§ 851.1. Declaration of policy
It is the policy of this state to promote safety for persons and property in and connected with the use, operation and equipment of vessels and to promote uniformity of laws relating thereto.
§ 851.2. Definitions
As used in this Part unless the context requires a different meaning:
(1) "Commission" means the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
(2) "HP" means the manufacturer's rated horsepower.
(3) "Motorboat" means any vessel equipped with or propelled by any type of machinery whether or not such machinery is the principal source of propulsion but shall not include a vessel which has a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States Government or any federal agency successor thereto, unless the vessel is a recreational use vessel.
(4) "Operate" means to navigate or otherwise use a motorboat or vessel.
(5) "Owner" means a person, other than a lien holder, having a property interest in or title to a motorboat. The term includes a person entitled to the use or possession of a motorboat subject to an interest in another person, reserved or created by agreement and securing payment or performance of an obligation, but the term excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security.
(6) "Person" means an individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, or other entity.
(7) "Prohibited zone" means an area paralleling each side of the entire length of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and extending outward for a distance of one mile from both the most easterly and westerly outboard sides of the causeway bridge twin spans.
(8) "Sailboat" means any watercraft propelled by sail or canvas. For the purpose of this Part, any watercraft propelled by both sail or canvas and machinery of any sort shall be deemed a motorboat when being so propelled.
(9) "Secretary" means the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
(10) "Vessel" means watercraft and air boats of every description, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
(11) "Watercraft" means any contrivance used or designated for navigation on water.
(12) "Waters of the State" means any waters within the territorial limits of this state and the marginal sea adjacent to this state and the high seas when navigated as a part of a journey or ride to or from the shore of this state.
§ 851.3. Application and justification
The provisions of this Part shall be applicable to all watercraft operating on all of the waterways of this state. The provisions of this Part shall be construed to supplement federal laws and regulations when not expressly inconsistent therewith on all waterways where such federal laws and regulations are applicable.
§ 851.4. Careless operation
Any person who shall operate any watercraft in a careless or heedless manner so as to be grossly indifferent to the person or property of other persons or at a rate of speed greater than will permit him in the exercise of reasonable care to bring the watercraft to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead shall be guilty of the crime of careless operation, punishable by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than thirty days, or by both.
§ 851.5. Reckless operation
Any person who shall operate any watercraft in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb or damage the property of any person shall be guilty of the crime of reckless operation, punishable by imprisonment of not more than ninety days, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or both.
§ 851.6. Negligent homicide
Any person who by the operation of any watercraft at an immoderate rate of speed or in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner shall cause the death of another shall be guilty of the crime of negligent homicide, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.
§ 851.7. Interference with navigation
No person shall operate any watercraft in a manner which shall unreasonably or unnecessarily interfere with other watercraft or with the free and proper navigation of the waterways of the state. Anchoring under bridges or in heavily traveled channels shall constitute such interference if unreasonable under the prevailing circumstances.
§ 851.8. Operating a watercraft during suspension
No person shall operate a watercraft upon the waterways of this state during the period of his suspension or revocation of the privilege of such operation pursuant to R.S. 32:414 or 667.
§ 851.9. Incapacity of operator
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any watercraft or any person having such in charge or in control to authorize or knowingly permit the same to be operated by any person who by reason of physical or mental disability is incapable of operating such watercraft under the prevailing circumstances.
§ 851.10. Collisions, crashes, and casualties; theft, reporting
A. It shall be the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers, if any, to render to other persons affected by the collision, crash, or other casualty such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, crash, or other casualty and also to give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, crash, or other casualty.
(1) The operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars must give notice of the incident immediately, by the most prompt means of communication, to the department, the nearest law enforcement agency, or to state police. Law enforcement agencies shall notify the department immediately upon receiving information of a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person or damages in excess of five hundred dollars. The driver of any vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person, or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars shall, within five days after the incident, forward a department-approved incident report form to the department. A full description of the collision or other casualty must be reported and submitted on an official form supplied by the department. In a crash where the operator is incapable of filing a report, each person on board shall bear the responsibility of notifying the department or determining that a report has been submitted. The department shall submit to the United States Coast Guard reportable accidents consistent with the Statement of Understanding between the state of Louisiana and the United States Coast Guard. The department shall provide copies of completed crash reports to any interested person upon request. The department may charge a fee not to exceed five dollars for reports that do not exceed four pages and seven dollars and fifty cents for reports that exceed four pages. The department may also charge a reasonable fee for copies of photographs, videotapes, audiotapes, and any extraordinary-sized documents or documents stored on electronic media.
(2) When a collision, crash, or other casualty occurs within the prohibited zone, as defined in R.S. 34:851.2(7), involving a vessel or vessel flotilla within the scope of R. S. 34:851.24(J), the report required by this Subsection shall also be made to the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission within the time period applicable to submitting such report to the department.
C. Every owner of a registered boat shall report its theft to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days of discovery of theft. The violation of the provisions of this Subsection shall not be subject to any penalty, including the provisions of R.S. 34:851.31(C) and shall not be construed to be a crime.
§ 851.11. Overloading
No watercraft shall be loaded with passengers or cargo beyond its safe carrying capacity taking into consideration weather and other existing operating conditions.
§ 851.12. Overpowering
No watercraft shall be equipped with any motor or other propulsion machinery beyond its safe power capacity taking into consideration the type and construction of such watercraft and other existing operating conditions.
§ 851.13. Riding on decks and gunwales
No person operating a motor boat of twenty-six feet or less in length shall allow any person to ride or sit on either the starboard or port gunwales thereof or on the decking over the bow of the vessel while underway unless such motorboat is provided with adequate guards or railing to prevent passengers from being lost overboard. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to mean that passengers or other persons aboard a motorboat cannot occupy the decking over the bow of the boat to moor the watercraft to a mooring buoy or to cast off from such a buoy or for any other necessary purpose.
§ 851.14. Restricted areas
No person shall operate a watercraft within a water area which has been clearly marked, in accordance with and as authorized by the laws of the state, by buoys or some other distinguishing device as a bathing, swimming, or otherwise restricted area; however, this Section shall not apply in the case of an emergency or to patrol or rescue craft.
§ 851.14.1. Closure of waterways
A. In an emergency or disaster, as defined in R.S. 29:723, the secretary may close any waterway, other than navigable waters of the United States as set forth in 33 CFR Part 2, to boating access, travel, or use or may restrict the type of use including issuing no wake zones in any reasonable manner. Such closure or restriction shall be for a period of time not to extend beyond the seventh day following the next meeting of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
B. Any such closure or restricted use shall be made by an order issued by the secretary in the same manner as issuance of an emergency rule as provided in R.S. 49:953(B). Such order shall be subject to oversight by the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources in accordance with R.S. 49:953(B). The order authorized in this Section shall specify a closure or a type of restriction, a description of the area subject to the order, and the reason for the emergency action. Upon issuance of any such order, no person shall operate a vessel contrary to the provisions of the order.
C. Violation of any order authorized by this Section constitutes a class three violation, as specified in R.S. 56:33.
§ 851.14.2. Safety and security zones
A. For the purposes of this Section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) A "safety zone" shall mean a zone established for the protection of any vessel, structure, waters, or shore area from a safety or environmental hazard and shall include a water area, shore area, or water and shore area to which, for safety or environmental purposes, access is limited to authorized persons, vehicles, or vessels. The zone may be stationary and described by fixed limits, or it may be described as a zone around a vessel in motion.
(2) A "security zone" shall mean a zone established for national security interests and shall include all areas of land or water which are so designated by the captain of the port for such time as he deems necessary to prevent damages or injury to any vessel or waterfront facility, to safeguard ports, harbors, territories, or waters of the state or to secure the observance of the rights and obligations of the state.
B. No person shall violate any restriction of a safety zone or security zone established pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the United States Coast Guard under authority granted by the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, 33 U.S.C. 1231, or the Magnuson Act, 50 U.S.C. 191. C.(1) Whoever knowingly violates or should have known he violated the restriction of a safety zone shall be subject to the penalty provisions of a class two violation as specified in R.S. 56:32. (2) Whoever knowingly violates or should have known he violated the restriction of a security zone shall be fined not more than nine hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned for not more than one hundred twenty days, or both.
§ 851.15. Waterskiing
(1) No motorboat which shall have in tow or shall be otherwise assisting a person on water-skis, surfboard, or similar contrivance shall be operated or propelled in or upon any waterway unless such motorboat shall be occupied by at least two competent persons.
(a) This Subsection shall not apply to motorboats used by representatives of duly constituted water-ski schools in the giving of instruction or to motorboats used in duly authorized water-ski tournaments, competitions, expositions, or trials therefor if applicable permit has been obtained from the department or the United States Coast Guard.
(b) This Subsection shall not apply to a motorboat being operated by a person sixteen years old or older, which is equipped with a wide-angle convex marine rearview mirror of a minimum size of seven inches by fourteen inches in a position to observe the skiers being towed. (c) Repealed by Acts 2008, No. 34, s 1.
B. No motorboat shall have in tow or shall be otherwise assisting a person on water skis, surfboard, or similar contrivance from the period of one hour after sunset to one hour prior to sunrise; however, this Subsection shall not apply to motorboats used in duly authorized water ski tournaments, competitions, expositions, or trials therefor.
C. All motorboats having in tow or otherwise assisting a person on water skis, surfboard, or similar contrivance shall be operated in a careful and prudent manner and at a reasonable distance from persons and property so as not to endanger the life or property of any person.
§ 851.16. Mufflers
It shall be unlawful to use a motorboat unless the same is provided with an efficient muffler, underwater exhaust, or other modern device capable of adequately muffling the sound of the exhaust of the engine.
§ 851.17. Racing
Nothing in the provisions of this Part shall be construed to mean that the operator of a watercraft competing in a race or regatta or trials therefor, which is duly authorized by an appropriate governmental unit, shall not attempt to attain high speeds on an indicated racing course nor while so engaged shall such watercraft be required to comply with R.S. 34:851.16 and 34:851.24(B), (C), (D), (E), (G), (H), and (I).
§ 851.18. Owner's responsibility; presumption of owner's consent to operate
A. The owner of a watercraft shall be liable for any injury or damage occasioned by the negligent operation of such watercraft whether such negligence consists of a violation of the provisions of the statutes of this state or in the failure to observe such ordinary care in such operation as the rules of the common law require.
B. The owner shall not be liable, however, unless such watercraft is being used with his or her express or implied consent. It shall be presumed that such watercraft is being operated with the knowledge and consent of the owner if, at the time of the injury or damage, it is under the control of his or her husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other immediate member of the family.
§ 851.19. Operation of unnumbered motorboats or sailboats prohibited; exception
Every motorboat or sailboat operated on the waters of this state shall be numbered. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any motorboat or sailboat on such waters unless the motorboat or sailboat is numbered in accordance with this Part or in accordance with applicable federal law or in accordance with a federally approved numbering system of another state, and unless the certificate of number awarded to such motorboat or sailboat is in full force and effect, and the identifying number set forth in the certificate of number is displayed on each side of the bow of such motorboat or sailboat as provided herein.
§ 851.20. Identification number
(1) The owner of each motorboat or sailboat requiring numbering by this state shall file an application for number with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on forms approved by it. The application shall be signed by the owner of the motorboat or sailboat and shall be accompanied by a fee as follows:
(a) For a boat which is fourteen feet or less in length, the fee shall be twenty dollars.
(b) For a boat which is more than fourteen feet and less than eighteen feet in length, the fee shall be twenty-five dollars.
(c) For a boat which is eighteen feet in length or greater, the fee shall be thirty dollars plus an additional two dollars for each foot or portion of a foot in length greater than eighteen feet.
(2) Upon receipt of the application in approved form, the department shall enter the same upon the records of its office and issue to the applicant a certificate of number stating the number assigned to the motorboat or sailboat and the name and address of the owner with a description of the motorboat or sailboat. The department shall maintain a record of the hull identification number of the boat and the serial number of the motor along with the assigned certificate of number on its computer.
(3) The owner shall paint on or attach to each side of the bow of the motorboat or sailboat the certificate of number in such manner as may be prescribed by rules and regulations of the department in order that it may be clearly visible. The number on the motorboat or sailboat shall be maintained in legible condition.
(4) The certificate of number shall be issued in addition to a decal which shall be permanently attached to the motorboat or sailboat, both to be accessible for inspection at all times when such boat is in operation; however, owners of duly registered livery motorboats less than twenty-six feet in length or of duly registered sailboats which are rented for not more than seven continuous days at a time for noncommercial purposes may retain such certificates of number for each such rental motorboat or sailboat on shore and have them readily available for inspection.
B. The owner of any motorboat or sailboat already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to then-operative federal law or a federally approved numbered system of another state shall record the number prior to operating the motorboat or sailboat on the waters of this state in excess of the ninety consecutive day reciprocity period provided for in R.S. 34:851.22(A)(1). Such recordation shall be in the manner and pursuant to the procedure required for the award of a number under Subsection A of this Section except that no additional or substitute number shall be issued.
C. Should the ownership of a motorboat or sailboat change, a new application form with a five dollar fee shall be filed with the commission, along with the registration fee required by this Section, and a new certificate of number and a decal, valid for three years, shall be awarded in the same manner as provided for in an original award of number.
D. In the event that an agency of the United States government shall have in force an overall system of identification numbering for motorboats or sailboats within the United States, the numbering system employed pursuant to this Part by the commission shall be in conformity therewith.
E. All records of the commission made or kept pursuant to this Section shall be public records in accordance with state laws.
F. Every certificate of number awarded pursuant to this Part shall continue in full force and effect for a period of three years unless sooner terminated or discontinued in accordance with the provisions of this Part. Certificates of number may be renewed within sixty days preceding or thirty days following the expiration date by the owner in the same manner provided for in the initial securing of the same for a three-year period by marking the application form "Renewal". The renewal fee shall be the same fee as the initial registration fee. The fee to reinstate an expired certificate of number shall be the same fee as the initial registration fee. Certificates of number may be renewed or reinstated through electronic means as permitted by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
G. The owner shall furnish the commission notice of the transfer of all or any part of his interest other than the creation of a security interest in a motorboat or sailboat numbered in this state pursuant to Subsections A and B of this Section or of the destruction or abandonment of such motorboat or sailboat within fifteen days thereof. Such transfer, destruction, or abandonment shall terminate the certificate of number for such motorboat or sailboat, except that in the case of a transfer of a part interest which does not affect the owner's right to operate such motorboat or sailboat such transfer shall not terminate the certificate of number.
H. Any holder of a certificate of number shall notify the commission within fifteen days if his address no longer conforms to the address appearing on the certificate and shall, as a part of such notification, furnish the commission with his new address. The commission may provide in its rules and regulations for the surrender of the certificate bearing the former address and its replacement for a reasonable fee with a certificate bearing the new address or for the alteration of an outstanding certificate to show the new address of the holder.
I. If a certificate of number is lost or destroyed, the owner shall, within fifteen days, notify the commission in writing describing the circumstances of the loss or destruction and certifying to its loss together with a complete application form marked "Duplicate" and accompanied by a five dollar fee for which a duplicate certificate shall be issued.
J. No number other than the number awarded to a motorboat or sailboat or granted reciprocity pursuant to this Part shall be painted, attached, or otherwise displayed on either side of the bow of such motorboat or sailboat.
K. It shall be unlawful for any person to deface or alter the certificate of number or number assigned and appearing on the bow of any boat.
L. Payment for a motor boat identification number, renewal or duplicate shall be in certified check, money order, or any other form specified by the department.
(1) Any application for registration or title of an outboard motor as defined in R.S. 34:852.2(9) with a serial number that has been removed or obliterated whether on purpose or accident; a vessel as defined in R.S. 34:852.2(17) that is a homemade vessel, a vessel with an alteration in length due to restoration, construction, or other means that would require a change to the vessel's title document or registration certificate, a vessel with a hull identification number that has been removed or obliterated whether on purpose or by accident, a vessel with an incorrect hull identification number or a vessel with no hull identification number shall be submitted to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The enforcement division shall make a visual inspection of the outboard motor or vessel to determine if it is homemade, to determine ownership, or to verify ownership. If the inspection of the outboard motor or vessel is favorable and approved by the State Boating Law Administrator or his designee, the agent shall issue and stamp a sequential hull number on the boat. Persons shall be required to obtain titles for such approved outboard motors and vessels at the time of application.
(2) The fee for the personal inspection shall be twenty-five dollars which shall be in addition to the regular cost of the boat registration. After deposit in the state treasury, an amount equal to the funds collected under the provisions of this Subsection shall be credited to the Conservation Fund and shall be used by the department to fund overtime for Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement officers.
(3) Any proprietor of a scrap or salvage yard who is in receipt of an outboard motor which does not have a serial number or vessel which does not have a hull identification number affixed thereto shall notify the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to obtain verification of ownership thereof prior to payment of any value for the receipt of the outboard motor or vessel, unless proper ownership can be verified by registration or title.
(4) For the purposes of this Subsection "homemade vessel" shall mean a vessel that is built by an individual for personal use from raw materials that does not require the assignment of a federal hull identification number by a manufacturer pursuant to federal law. The term shall not include a rebuilt or reconstituted vessel.
(5) Hull identification numbers issued by the department and inspections of outboard motors shall be for identification purposes only and shall not guarantee the seaworthiness or to certify compliance with safety standards as required by the United States Coast Guard. N. A handling and mailing fee of three dollars shall be collected for each motorboat registration transaction.
§ 851.21. Numbering system
A. The motorboat or sailboat identification number issued by the commission pursuant to this Part shall be divided into parts which include a symbol indicating the state and a combination of numerals, letters, and words indicating the individual identification of the motorboat or sailboat. The group of three digits appearing between letters shall be separated from those letters by hyphens or equivalent spaces. Numbers shall be block characters not less than three inches in height and of a color to contrast on the hull, dark on light or light on dark or as otherwise provided by rules and regulations of the commission.
(1) "LA" shall be the symbol indicating Louisiana.
(2) The second part of the motorboat or sailboat number shall consist of not more than four Arabic numerals and not more than two capital letters as a suffix separated by a hyphen or equivalent space. Since the letters "I", "O", and "Q" may be mistaken for numerals, they shall not be used.
(3) Motorboats or sailboats for hire or rent shall have painted or attached to each side of the bow the word "HIRE" in letters of not less than one and one-half inches which shall appear below the awarded number. (4) Motorboats or sailboats owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions shall have painted or attached to each side of the bow the word "PUBLIC" in letters of not less than one and one-half inches which shall appear below the awarded number except when used for undercover or investigative work.
§ 851.22. Exemption from numbering system
A. A motorboat shall not be required to be numbered under this Part if it is:
(1) Already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state; however, such boat shall not have been within this state for a period in excess of ninety consecutive days.
(2) A motorboat from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of this state.
(3) A public vessel of the United States, a state, or a subdivision thereof.
(4) A ship's lifeboat.
B. A sailboat shall not be required to be numbered under this Part if it is:
(1) Twelve feet or less in length.
(2) A vessel commonly known as a sailboard, where the craft is designed for one person and operated in the standing position.
§ 851.23. Boat liveries; numbering of manufacturer's and dealer's boats
A. Neither the owner of a boat livery nor his agent or employee shall permit any motorboat, sailboat, or any vessel designed or permitted by him to be operated as a motorboat or sailboat to depart from his premises unless it shall have been provided, either by owner or renter, with the equipment required pursuant to R.S. 34:851.24 and any rules and regulations made pursuant thereto.
(1) A manufacturer of or dealer in motorboats or sailboats owning or operating any motorboat or sailboat for sale, demonstration, or trading purposes but not used in the operation of such business otherwise or for pleasure purposes, in lieu of registering such motorboats or sailboats, shall obtain a registration number from the commission by applying therefor upon the proper official form and the payment of a registration fee of fifty dollars for a three-year period. Renewals shall be made in the same manner.
(2) The manufacturer or dealer may have the number awarded printed upon or attached to removable signs to be temporarily but firmly mounted upon or attached to the boats being demonstrated or tested so long as the display meets the requirements.
(3) The word "DEALER" in letters of not less than one and a half inches shall appear below the awarded number.
(4) The number awarded may, during the registration period for which issued, be transferred from one motorboat or sailboat to another owned or operated by the manufacturer or dealer who procured the number.
§ 851.24. Classification and required equipment
A. Motorboats and vessels subject to the provisions of this Part shall be divided into four classes as follows:
(1) Class A. Less than sixteen (16) feet in length.
(2) Class 1. Sixteen (16) feet or over and less than twenty-six (26) feet in length.
(3) Class 2. Twenty-six (26) feet or over and less than forty (40) feet in length.
(4) Class 3. Forty (40) feet or over.
B. Every motorboat or vessel when underway in all weather from sunset to sunrise shall carry and exhibit the following lights and during such time no other lights which may be mistaken for those prescribed shall be exhibited:
(1) Every motorboat or vessel of Class A and 1 shall carry the following lights:
(a) First. A bright white light aft to show all around the horizon.
(b) Second. A combined lantern in the fore part of the vessel and lower than the white aft showing green to starboard and red to port so fixed as to throw the light from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on their respective sides.
(2) Every motorboat or vessel of Classes 2 and 3 shall carry the following lights:
(a) First. A bright white light in the fore part of the vessel as near the stern as practicable so constructed as to show an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of twenty points of the compass and so fixed as to throw the light ten points on each side of the vessel, namely from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on either side.
(b) Second. A bright white light aft to show all around the horizon and higher than the white light forward.
(c) Third. On the starboard side, a green light so constructed as to show an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of ten points of the compass and so fixed as to throw the light from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on the starboard side. On the port side, a red light so constructed as to show an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of ten points of the compass so fixed as to throw the light from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on the port side. The side lights shall be fitted with inboard screens of sufficient height so set as to prevent these lights from being seen across the bow.
(3) Motorboats and vessels of Classes A and 1 when propelled by sail alone shall carry the combined lanterns but not the white light aft prescribed by this Section. Motorboats and vessels of Classes 2 and 3 when so propelled shall carry the suitably screened colored side lights, but not the white lights prescribed by this Section. Motorboats and vessels of all classes when underway shall carry ready at hand a lantern or flashlight showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to avert collision.
(4) All motorboats anchored in navigable waterways of this state shall exhibit a white three hundred and sixty degree stern light between the hours of sunset to sunrise. This light shall be the highest such light to be exhibited.
(5) Every white light prescribed by this Section shall be of such character as to be visible at a distance of at least two miles. Every colored light prescribed by this Section shall be of such character as to be visible at a distance of at least one mile. The word "visible" in this Subsection when applied to lights shall mean visible on a dark night with clear atmosphere.
(6) When propelled by sail and machinery any motorboat shall carry the lights required by this Section for a motorboat propelled by machinery only.
C. Any vessel may carry and exhibit the lights required by the federal regulations for preventing collisions at sea, as set forth in 33 U.S.C. 1602, Rule 20 through 31, as amended, in lieu of the lights required by Subsection B of this Section.
D. Every motorboat or vessel of Class 1, 2, or 3, shall be provided with an efficient whistle or other sound-producing mechanical appliance.
E. Every motorboat or vessel of Class 2 or 3 shall be provided with an efficient bell.
(1) Every motorboat or vessel shall carry at least one life preserver, life belt, ring buoy, or other device of the sort prescribed by the regulations of the commission for each person on board so placed as to be readily accessible; however, every owner or operator of motorboats carrying passengers for hire shall provide and carry so placed as to be readily accessible at least one life preserver of the sort prescribed by the regulations of the commission for each person on board.
(2) Every person sixteen years or younger on board a Class A or Class 1 motorboat or vessel shall wear a coast guard approved life jacket or life preserver while such outboard motorboat or vessel is underway. However, the provisions of this Paragraph shall not apply to persons thirteen years of age or older while engaged in commercial fishing operations on commercial fishing vessels.
(3) For the purpose of this Subsection "underway" shall mean at all times except when a boat is anchored, moored, aground or is being propelled solely by an electric trolling motor.
(4) The operator of the boat shall be responsible and held liable for violations of this Subsection.
G. Every motorboat shall be provided with such number, size, and type of fire extinguishers, capable of promptly and effectually extinguishing burning gasoline, as may be prescribed by the regulations of the commission. Such fire extinguishers shall be kept in condition at all times for immediate and effective use and shall be so placed as to be readily accessible.
H. Every motorboat shall have the carburetor or carburetors of every engine therein, except outboard motors, using gasoline as fuel equipped with such efficient flame arrestor, backfire trap, or other similar device as may be prescribed by the regulations of the commission.
I. Every such motorboat and every such vessel, except open boats, using as fuel any liquid of a volatile nature shall be provided with such means as may be prescribed by the regulations of the commission for properly and efficiently ventilating the bilges of the engine and fuel tank compartments so as to remove any explosive or inflammable gases.
(1) All tugs, towboats, self-propelled dredges, jack-up barges, jack-up rigs, and all self-propelled vessels of one hundred net tons or greater, or one hundred feet in overall length or greater, and all vessel flotillas of one hundred aggregate net tons or greater operating on Lake Pontchartrain, shall be equipped with, and shall have operating on board transmitting and receiving devices compatible and appropriate for use with the Loran C Early Warning System. If a vessel as defined in this Subsection does not have such equipment as required by this Subsection, and if that vessel is under contract, the individual or entity which hires the vessel shall be responsible for ensuring that the transmitting and receiving devices required herein are provided and operating aboard the vessel while the vessel is operating on Lake Pontchartrain. Upon establishment of an improved system to protect the Causeway Bridge from marine collision, the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission may suspend or abolish the requirement that vessels have aboard the Loran C equipment required by this Paragraph.
(2) Except as required to navigate through the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge openings on such course and upon such directions as may be given by the causeway bridge tender, or except as hereafter provided in this Subsection, no tug, towboat, self-propelled dredge, jack-up barge, jack-up rig, barge, self-propelled vessel of one hundred net tons or greater, or one hundred feet in overall length or greater, or vessel flotilla of one hundred aggregate net tons or greater shall enter, navigate, moor, or anchor in any manner within a "prohibited zone".
(3) Notwithstanding Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, nothing shall prevent vessels owned or hired by the United States of America or any department of the United States, or the state of Louisiana, or any department, agency or political subdivision of the state of Louisiana from entering the prohibited zone, for any official purpose consistent with the laws of the United States and the state of Louisiana.
(a) Notwithstanding Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, privately owned vessels otherwise prohibited from entering the prohibited zone may enter the prohibited zone to exercise such property rights as they may have, or to conduct such other lawful business, but only upon receiving written approval of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission under such conditions as the expressway commission may see fit to impose.
(b) The Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, or its designated representative shall meet with the applicant and any other interested parties within ninety days of the filing of such a petition with the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission to consider the petition. Within thirty days from the date of such meeting, the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission or its designated representative, may either allow such activity under such conditions as it determines is appropriate, or disallow such activity. The Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission shall establish and afterwards amend, as necessary, such guidelines as may be necessary for filing, hearing, and acting upon such petitions.
(c) In the event such approval is denied, or in the event the party is not agreeable to such conditions as the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission may impose, the party desiring to undertake such vessel activity may petition the state district court possessed of jurisdiction over the location where the vessel activity is to take place, for permission to conduct such activity. The Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission shall be made defendants in such an action. In considering such a petition, the district court may allow such activity, but only upon making a determination with reasons stated in open court and on the record, or as set forth in a written order, that such activity may take place without threatening the causeway bridge or persons and property lawfully traveling on the causeway bridge. Where such vessel activity is allowed by the court, the court:
(i) shall impose on such vessels and their owners, charterers, operators and other parties hiring such vessels or associated with such vessel activity, at the sole expense of the party seeking to conduct such activity, such conditions as are necessary to assure that such vessels are monitored and manned at all times and such other conditions as the court may find necessary to assure that the causeway bridge, and persons and property traveling on the causeway bridge, are not threatened;
(ii) shall require the party desiring to conduct such activity to post bond in the amount necessary to assure full compliance with the court's order; and
(iii) shall require the party conducting such activity to post a bond or to maintain liability insurance coverage fully protecting the operator, the state, and the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission from all liabilities that reasonably may be anticipated as a result of such activity. Any party to such a court proceeding may appeal the district court's order to the court of appeals with jurisdiction over the district court in which the action was filed in accordance with the procedure for appealing injunction orders. However, no such vessel activity shall take place until such appeal has been decided, or until the time for taking all appeals has run without any appeal having been taken.
(5) Nothing in this Subsection shall prevent any vessel from entering the prohibited zone in an emergency to protect against loss of life or property.
K. The commission is hereby authorized to make rules and regulations modifying the equipment requirements contained in this Section to the extent necessary to keep these requirements in conformity with the provisions of the federal navigation laws or with the navigation rules promulgated by the United States Coast Guard. L. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel which is not equipped as required by this Section or modification thereof. M. Such additional equipment designed to promote the safety of navigation and of person shall be required as the commission may find to be appropriate and for which it has provided in its rules and regulations.
§ 851.25. Prohibited operation
A. Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, the governing authority of any parish or municipality may prohibit the operation of any motor vessel in an area that is inundated from a body of water that is above flood stage when the operation of such motor vessel causes or may cause inundations of dwellings, camps, business establishments or similar structures.
B. The provisions of this Subsection shall not apply to law enforcement officers, members of the National Guard, commercial fishermen and members of a rescue or disaster relief organization or group when any of such people are in the exercise of their duties. In addition, these provisions shall not apply to a person who resides or owns property in or adjacent to the flooded area or his representatives while engaged in caring for his life, family, or property or the lives, families, or property of his neighbors or to a company which operates in or adjacent to the flooded area or its representatives while engaged in caring for the lives of its employees or its property provided entry is not denied by a law enforcement officer or other person authorized to be within the area in the exercise of his duties. C. The governing authority of any parish or municipality may establish penalties for violations of such ordinances in accordance with law.
§ 851.26. Transmittal of information
In accordance with any request duly made by an authorized official or agency of the United States, any information compiled or otherwise available to the commission pursuant to R.S. 34:851.10(B) shall be transmitted to said official or agency of the United States. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to require disclosure of records or the information contained therein held by this department while criminal litigation or any anticipated criminal litigation exists. Only after final adjudication of settlement shall this information become public record.
§ 851.27. Local regulations prohibited; exceptions; speed limits
A. Through the passage of this Part, the state reserves to itself, through the commission, the right to regulate the operation and to establish the minimum equipment requirements of vessels and motorboats. Except as provided in Subsection B of this Section, R.S. 34:3269(13), and R.S. 33:1236.12, all political subdivisions of this state are expressly prohibited from regulating watercraft in any respect, including, but not limited to, their operation, minimum equipment requirements, registration (with or without a fee), or inspection.
(1) The governing authority of any parish or municipality may establish and post speed limits on waterways within its jurisdiction with the exception of the Mississippi River, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Such speed limits, if established, shall be posted along the affected waterway.
(2) Parish ordinances shall apply throughout the parish unless there is a conflict with an ordinance passed by a municipality. In that instance, the municipal ordinance shall prevail.
(3) Speed limits established under this Section shall be enforced by the sheriffs, local law enforcement officers, state police and by permanent status wildlife agents and duly commissioned wildlife agents and officers who shall have the power to make arrests for purposes of such enforcement.
(4) The governing authority of any parish or municipality may establish penalties for violation of such ordinances in accordance with law.
(a) Except as provided in subparagraph (B)(5)(b), the provisions of this Subsection shall not apply to commercial or passenger vessels operating on the waters of the Mississippi River or of the outlets of the river to the Gulf of Mexico.
(b) There are hereby created speed zones on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in St. Bernard Parish which shall be one mile on both sides of the intersections with the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet of Bayou La Loutre, Bayou Yscloskey, and Bayou Dupre, in which speed zones vessels whose draft is greater than twenty feet shall proceed, navigate, or transit at the minimum speed necessary to insure safety.
(6) Repealed by Acts 1997, No. 1116, s 2.
(7) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the operation of all vessels and motorboats shall be subject to state law and local ordinance prohibiting trespass or unauthorized entry. Such state and local laws shall be enforced by state and local law enforcement agencies, including sheriffs, and by wildlife agents duly authorized to perform enforcement functions.
(8) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the local governing authority of any parish with a population in excess of four hundred forty thousand according to the latest federal census may regulate or prohibit watercraft operating within two hundred fifty feet of any structures on any water bottoms in Lake Pontchartrain leased by said local governing authority from the state for recreational purposes.
(9) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the governing authority of Jefferson Parish and its municipalities shall have the authority to regulate the operation of air boats within the parish. This authority shall extend to the establishment of minimum requirements for commercial or recreational use, including equipment, speed limits, issuing air boat permits and inspection, providing for licenses and air boat permit fees, defining violations and assessing penalties, and other requirements. The regulations shall be enforced by the sheriff and local law enforcement officers and may be enforced by state police or commissioned wildlife agents and those officers who shall have the power to make arrests for purposes of such enforcement. Any regulations or requirements established pursuant to this Paragraph shall not be less stringent or impair the authority of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries provided for in R.S. 34:851.1 et seq. Any such regulations shall be specifically limited in effect to operation of an air boat in Jefferson Parish and shall not be deemed to affect the validity or invalidity of operation of an air boat in any other parish.
C. In addition to speed limits established by any governing authority of any parish or municipality under the provisions of this Section, there are hereby established certain "no-wake" zones where each vessel shall operate at bare steerage speed, the slowest speed the vessel can travel while allowing the operator to maintain directional control of the vessel to produce the minimum water surface turbulence. The "no-wake" zones are established on all waterways within three hundred feet of any of the following facilities:
(1) A boat launch accessible by the public.
(2) A docking facility adjacent to a boat launch accessible by the public.
D. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a uniform system of "no-wake" zone signs. Local municipal and parish authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall place and maintain such "no-wake" zone signs as they may deem necessary to carry out the rules and regulations of the commission. All such "no-wake" zone signs hereafter erected by local municipal and parish authorities shall conform to such rules and regulations adopted by the commission.
§ 851.28. Filing of regulations
A copy of the regulations adopted pursuant to this Part and of any amendments thereto shall be filed in the office of the commission. Rules and regulations shall be published by the commission in a convenient form and become effective twenty days after adoption.
§ 851.29. Enforcement
It shall be the duty and responsibility of every wildlife agent and peace officer of this state and its subdivisions to enforce the provisions of this Part, and in the exercise thereof, they are hereby authorized to stop and board any vessel for the purpose of addressing inquiries to those on board, requiring appropriate proof of identification therefrom, examining the certificate of numbers issued under this Part or in the absence of such certificate requiring appropriate proof of identification of the owner or operator of the vessel, and in addition, examining such vessel for compliance with this Part. Officers so boarding any vessel shall first identify themselves and such officer in the performance of his duties shall be without liability for trespass.
§ 851.30. Visual distress
Any watercraft when used on coastal waters including territorial seas up to a point where the waters are less than two miles wide shall be equipped with United States Coast Guard approved visual distress signaling devices. However, the following watercraft shall be exempt from this Section when operating between sunrise and sunset: (1) Recreational boats less than sixteen feet in length. (2) Boats participating in organized events which have been permitted by the department or the United States Coast Guard. (3) Open sailboats not equipped with propulsion machinery and less than twenty-six feet in length. (4) Manually propelled boats.
§ 851.31. Penalties
(1) Any person who violates any provision of R.S. 34:851.7, 851.9, 851.11, 851.12, 851.13, 851.14, 851.15, 851.16, 851.17, 851.18, 851.19, 851.20, 851.21, 851.23, 851.24, 851.27(C), and 851.30 shall be guilty of a class one violation, R.S. 56:31.
(2) In the event that a citation is issued for a violation of R.S. 34:851.20, for failure to have in one's possession the required boat registration certificate, such citation shall be voided if proof of a valid previously issued registration certificate is furnished to the authority which issued the citation not later than ten days after the issuance of the citation.
B. Any person who violates the provisions of R.S. 34:851.8 shall be guilty of a class four violation, R.S. 56:34.
C. Any person who violates any provision of R.S. 34:851.10 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months, or both.
D. Any person who violates R.S. 34:851.24(J) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or six months imprisonment, or both.
(1) Should the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission determine that any vessel is in violation of any provision of R.S. 34:851.24(J) within the prohibited zone, it may impose against any such vessel owner or operator or charterer a civil penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars per vessel for each violation thereof. Any civil penalty imposed by the expressway commission may, in its discretion be suspended in whole or in part.
(2) For purposes of this Subsection, should the monitoring equipment indicate that Loran C equipment assigned to a particular operator has intruded into the prohibited zone defined in R.S. 34:851.2(11), proof of such indication shall constitute prima facie evidence that the operator to whom the equipment was assigned has violated R.S. 34:851.24(J)(2) and is liable for a civil penalty under this Subsection.
(3) The provisions of the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act regarding administrative adjudications shall apply to civil penalty proceedings under this Subsection.
§ 851.32. Disposition of funds
A. Funds accruing to the state of Louisiana from registration fees paid by owners of motorboats shall be paid into the state treasury and shall be credited to the Bond Security and Redemption Fund. Out of the funds remaining in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund, after a sufficient amount is allocated from that fund to pay all obligations secured by the full faith and credit of the state which become due and payable within any fiscal year, the treasurer shall, prior to placing such remaining funds in the State General Fund, pay into the Conservation Fund of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission an amount equal to the total amount of the sums recovered as registration fees in R.S. 34:851.20 and R.S. 34:851.23 of this Part for the purpose of administering and enforcing the provisions of this Part or for such other purposes as may be determined by said commission.
B. The revenues derived from the registration fees shall be made available for the purpose of providing the necessary additional funds for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this Part or for such other purposes as may be determined by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
§ 851.33. Possession of outboard motor with serial number removed prohibited
A. No person shall knowingly or intentionally possess an outboard motor or motorboat from which the manufacturer's supplied identification plates bearing the serial number or hull identification number have been removed or altered.
B. An outboard motor or motorboat described in Subsection A shall be considered contraband and shall be disposed of as provided for in R.S. 15:41(B).
C. Whoever violates this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars and cost of court.
§ 851.34. Powers not affected
Nothing contained in this Part particularly R.S. 34:850.23 and R.S. 34:851.12 shall be construed to limit or affect the powers and functions or the structure and organization of a port commission or of a port, harbor, and terminal district.
§ 851.35. Filing false applications
A. No person shall file a false application with this department for the benefit of obtaining a special marine event permit or in applying for a Louisiana boat registration certificate.
B. Violations of this Section shall be punishable by a five hundred dollar fine or imprisonment of not more than ninety days, or both.
§ 851.36. Boating safety education required
A. Except as provided in Subsection B of this Section, no person born after January 1, 1984, shall operate a motorboat powered by a motor in excess of ten horsepower unless he has successfully completed a boating safety class approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). A person who has completed an approved boating safety class shall be in possession of evidence of such completion when operating such a boat.
B. A motorboat may be operated if any person on board or participating in any boating activity from the motorboat is over the age of eighteen and, if required to have completed a boating safety course under the provisions of Subsection A of this Section, has completed the required boating safety course.
C. A violation of this Section shall be a class one violation subject to penalties and enforcement procedures as set forth in R.S. 56:31, except that any minor charged with violating the provisions of this Section who successfully completes a NASBLA-approved boating safety class shall have the penalty waived by the court and the court shall order the violation expunged.
§ 851.37. Special certificate agents; rules and regulations
(1) The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries may establish a system of special certificate agents.
(2) The special certificate agents may do the following:
(a) Collect the certificate of number and other registration fees authorized by this Chapter, as well as applicable sales and use taxes, and issue registration certificates and decals to motorboats or sailboats.
(b) Receive and process applications filed for certificates of number and other registration certificates, duplicate registration certificates, renewals of registration, and registration of a homemade boat.
(c) Contract with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for the administration of an electronic media system to permit the voluntary recording of motorboat or sailboat registration information.
(d) Receive and process applications filed for commercial fisherman's licenses, issue commercial fisherman's licenses, and may collect the license fees authorized by R.S. 56:303.
(3) In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, [FN1] the secretary shall develop and publish rules and regulations for the following:
(a) Implementation and governing of a system of special certificate agents.
(b) Requirement that special certificate agents other than municipal and parish governing authorities must furnish security for the faithful performance of their duties as follows:
(i) Each special certificate agent other than a municipal or parish governing authority shall execute a good and sufficient surety bond with a surety company qualified to do business in Louisiana as surety. The bond shall be for a sum of not less than ten thousand dollars nor more than one hundred thousand dollars as determined by the secretary. The bond shall name the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as obligee and shall be subject to the condition that, if such special certificate agent shall, throughout the entire term of the bond, timely file with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries all applications delivered to such special certificate agent for filing and remit all fees and taxes collected by such special certificate agent, then the obligation of the surety shall be void. If the special certificate agent does not do so, then the obligation of the surety shall remain in full force and effect. A special certificate agent having multiple locations need furnish only a single bond for a sum of not less than ten thousand dollars nor more than one hundred thousand dollars as determined by the secretary in addition to any other bonds required by law.
(ii) The surety bond furnished pursuant to this Subparagraph shall be delivered to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
(4) The secretary may enter into contracts with special certificate agents other than municipal and parish governing authorities. The contracts shall state the required procedures for the implementation of this Section. Such contracts may terminate upon violation of any of the provisions of this Section or as determined by rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(5) No elected state official or employee of the state shall be allowed to become a special certificate agent. B. The system of special certificate agents shall be in addition to the offices of the secretary delegated to collect the certificate of number and other registration certificate fees, and to issue the commercial fisherman's license. C. Special certificate agents shall be authorized by contract to collect a convenience fee in addition to the registration certificate fees or commercial license fees. The convenience fee shall not exceed twelve dollars per certificate or license, and the special certificate agents shall retain the full amount of the collected convenience fee. Back to top
Part V. Personal Watercraft Safety Act
§ 855.1. Short title
This Part may be cited as the "Personal Watercraft Safety Act".
§ 855.2. Definitions
As used in this Part, "personal watercraft" means a vessel which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
§ 855.3. Regulation of personal watercraft
A. A person shall not operate a personal watercraft unless each person aboard is wearing a type I, type II, type III, or type V personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard.
B. A person operating a personal watercraft equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard type engine cutoff switch shall attach such lanyard to his person, clothing, or personal flotation device as appropriate for the specific vessel.
C. A person shall not operate a personal watercraft at any time between sunset and sunrise.
D. A personal watercraft shall at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner as defined in R.S. 34:851.5.
E. No person under the age of sixteen may operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this state.
F. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any personal watercraft or any person having charge over or control of a personal watercraft to authorize or knowingly permit the same to be operated by a person under the age provided for in Subsection E of this Section.
G. A violation of any provision of this Section shall be a class one violation subject to penalties and enforcement procedures as set forth in Title 56 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.
§ 855.4. Regulation of liveries
A. A livery shall not lease, hire, or rent a personal watercraft to or for operation by any person who is under sixteen years of age.
B. Any person violating this Section shall be fined according to R.S. 56:31.
§ 855.5. Exemptions
The provisions of R.S. 34:855.3 shall not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an officially sanctioned regatta, race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.