Louisiana Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Louisiana boat bill of sale form allows individuals to register a purchased vessel. The state only considers it eligible if it contains the parish, the names and signatures of the buyer and seller, the date of the sale, and a notary public seal of approval. It must also include the boat’s registration number (if applicable), the model year, the manufacturer (make), hull identification number (HIN), motor serial number, and sale prices of the vessel and motor.

  • Statutes: RS 34
  • Signing Requirements: The buyer(s) and the seller(s) must sign. A notary public or two (2) witnesses must observe the signing and inscribe their name(s).

What is a Louisiana Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Louisiana vessel bill of sale ascertains that the seller does not have a mortgage, lien, or encumbrance on the boat or its parts when transferring it to a buyer. Both parties can only provide truthful and accurate information. If either person gives false answers, the state can reject the registration and title application. They can also ticket and arrest individuals who intentionally add incorrect details in rare cases.

The buyer and seller must sign the form regardless of the negotiations. A notary public, or two (2) witnesses, must watch the signing and check each person’s photo identification (ID). After observing the signatures, the third party must also include their printed name, signature, and date for authentication purposes (§ 32-705).

Did You Know?

Louisiana law requires anyone born after January 1, 1984, to have a certification to operate a vessel greater than ten (10) horsepower. However, the driver does not need the document if someone over eighteen (18) who has passed a boater education course is onboard. Nobody under the age of sixteen (16) can operate a watercraft. Any person, regardless of age, can take the class, although the state only gives certifications to eligible individuals. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) provides residents with free six (6) to eight (8) hour in-person instructional courses and online classes.

How to Register a Boat in Louisiana (6 Steps)

Residents have fifteen (15) days to title and register their boat from the purchase date. People residing outside the state can use their vessel for up to ninety (90) consecutive days. After this time, they must obtain a Louisiana registration and title.

Step 1 – Requirements

Louisiana jurisdiction mandates the registration and titling of mechanically operated boats and motors in the state. Exemptions include 1) sailboards, 2) sailboats twelve (12) feet or less long, and 3) vessels with documentation from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Step 2 – Inspection

In unique cases, boats require a certified inspection before applying for the title and registration. These scenarios include homemade ships, unreadable or lost hull identification numbers (HIN), incorrect HINs, and new vessels without a manufacturer’s identification code (MIC).

Residents must bring the vessel to an approved LDWF inspection station. A licensing staff member inspects the boat and provides their signature on an affidavit, authenticating the document. The registrar must pay $25 and then also include their signature. A notary public must observe the signing for the state to accept the form.

Step 3 – Title

Owners must title their boats and motors in Louisiana. The state requires the forms listed below when going through the titling process. The LDWF headquarters accepts the paperwork in person and by mail. It takes about forty-five (45) days for the office to process the application and provide the resident with the title(s).


When titling a boat, the owner must submit a boat and motor title application (Form 55), proof of ownership (i.e., a notarized bill of sale), and the previous title (if applicable). Lienholders (if any exist) must release the title to the office before the resident can proceed.


Obtaining a motor title requires the owner to provide the original manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO), a copy of the invoice, and proof of paid taxes. If the invoice contains evidence of settled state and local taxes, the individual does not need additional documentation. However, if it does not, the person must submit the original tax payment certification (Form R-1331) from the Department of Revenue (DOR).

Step 4 – Register

Louisiana boat registrations happen by mail or in person. Residents should gather the required documents ahead of time to ensure the state does not turn them away. They should also bring more than one (1) accepted form of payment if the first method does not work. Delays can prevent owners from using their boats.

The owner should also provide an MCO and invoice if they made a dealership purchase. The state can also request an affidavit/court order if a chain of ownership does not exist.

Step 5 – Number + Decals

When the owner receives their personalized registration number and decals, they must display the information on their vessel. The individual must pay special attention to the state and federal requirements for attachment. Otherwise, they could face citations, penalties, and other issues.

The Louisiana boat registration number consists of eight (8) digits and always starts with “LA.” Four (4) numbers follow along with two (2) additional letters. For example, the owner could have “LA 9568 JF” as their registration number. Each section must have a space or hyphen following it (e.g., LA-9568-JF).

Individuals must adhere to the set of instructions listed below when attaching their information to the ship:

  • Numbers must appear left to right on the port and starboard sides of the boat’s front end (i.e., the bow).
  • The lettering must stand at least three (3) inches tall in a block-style font;
  • Its color must strongly contrast against the boat’s paint;
  • Individuals cannot place other information or stickers (aside from the decal) in this area so that it stands out.
  • The decal must go no more than six (6) inches from the end of the registration numbers.

Step 6 – Renew

Louisiana boat registrations last three (3) years after the issuance date. Owners can find the expiration date on their registration certificate. They must renew within sixty (60) days of the listed date. If they fail to renew on time, the state cancels their registration. As a result, they have to reapply as a new applicant.

To renew, the individual must fill out an application (Form 55) that includes their registration number and provide the total amount owed. Per state law, renewals can happen at the LDWF headquarters, by mail, or online. Owners who opt for the digital method must use a form of electronic payment and submit an additional handling fee.

Mailing Address:
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries
PO Box 14796
Baton Rouge, LA 70898