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Bossier Parish is blessed with abundant natural resources, and, due to the growing commercial and recreational use of the Red River and area lakes the Marine Unit was formed.  The Unit is designed to foster a clean and safe boating environment, so that all residents and visitors may enjoy our waterways and natural resources. The Unit is staffed with full-time commissioned deputies trained as first responders and in first aid methods, diving techniques, rescue tactics and watercraft operation.

The Marine Unit’s duties include, but are not limited to, patrolling the Red River and other Bossier Parish waterways, enforcing state laws and parish ordinances, and helping those in need of assistance. Following are some rules and regulations relating to recreational boating, along with some emergency contact numbers and common courtesies to make boating safe and fun for you and your family. Remember, practice safe boating, and help us keep Bossier a safe place to enjoy our waterways and natural resources.

Watercraft Registration and Lighting

Watercraft must have boat registration numbers visible on each side of the bow.
Registration papers must be on board the watercraft or with the operator of the watercraft during operation.
Watercraft operated at night must have running lights. There must be a red light on the left front and a green light on the right front. A white light must be located on the rear.

Louisiana Legal Guidelines

  • Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988 must complete an approved boating course prior to operating a watercraft.
  • DWI on the water is the same as on land.
  • The percentage of alcohol legally allowed in a driver’s bloodstream is .08 percent for those over 21 years old and .02 percent for those under 21 years old.
  • If you refuse to submit to an alcohol test when suspected of DWI, you may lose your driver’s license, be fined and/or be sent to jail.
  • Reckless operation of a motor vehicle includes a watercraft and can cause you to be fined and/or sentenced to jail.
  • Louisiana law (R.S. 14:98) defines a motor vehicle as any motor-driven vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or vessel. If convicted of DWI, you may lose your driver’s license, be fined, and/or go to jail.
  • All children ages 16 and under must wear a flotation device while on a watercraft.
  • There must be a flotation device for all persons on a watercraft.
  • Littering is a violation of state law, parish and city ordinances. Convictions for littering can result in fines, suspension of your driver’s license and/or community service.

Operational Guidelines and Courtesies

When traveling upstream on the Red River, remember:

  • RED cone-shaped buoys mark the right side of the channel.
  • GREEN cylinder-shaped buoys mark the left side of the channel.

When operating a personal watercraft (PWC), remember:

  • Do not use the PWC to chase or disturb wildlife.
  • Do not jump the wake of another craft.
  • Do not operate a PWC in less than 24 inches of water. Foreign articles may be pulled into the water pump and damage your PWC.


  • When meeting another watercraft head on, both vessels should keep to the right.
  • When meeting a sailboat, the sailboat always has the right of way.
  • Respect the right of other boaters to use the water ways, always be courteous and treat others as you would like to be treated.

For additional information regarding water safety and regulations, call 318-965-2203 and ask to speak to someone with our patrol or marine patrol divisions.