LWFC adopts NOI to amend hull identification number regulations

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a notice of intent to amend existing hull identification number (HIN) regulations at their meeting on Jan. 5 in Baton Rouge.

The notice of intent amends regulations that provide for assignment of HINs to undocumented vessels manufactured for resale in Louisiana that do not qualify for the assignment of such numbers by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

Federal regulations require recreational boats sold in the United States to have a HIN affixed by the manufacturer. Further, manufacturers of recreational vessels for sale in the United States are required to apply for a manufacturer identification code from the USCG and to meet certain manufacturer specifications.

Louisiana law mandates the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to develop regulations that allow for assignment of HINs to boat manufacturers in Louisiana for undocumented vessels manufactured in the state that do not qualify for the assignment of such number by the USCG. As a result, the current regulations are in conflict with federal law and regulation and provide boat manufacturers an opportunity to circumvent certain federal regulatory requirements by applying for and purchasing blocks of 10 HINs from the department that start with the “LAZ” manufacturer identification code.

This proposed notice of intent will amend current regulations that are in conflict with federal law and regulations governing boat manufacturing to mirror the federal regulatory framework. This notice of intent allows manufacturers to be eligible if they meet the criteria established by the USCG exemption but have failed to apply prior to the USCG closing applications. Also, it only applies to manufactures whom have previously received LAZ HIN’s and will terminate July 31, 2024 to coincide with the expiration of the USCG’s current exemption.

The state’s “LAZ” designation is intended to be used to register and title homemade vessels built for personal use, or vessels with a missing, removed or obliterated HIN, not for recreational boat manufacturers to avoid USCG regulatory requirements.

Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed notice of intent to Major Clay Marques, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via e-mail to cmarques@wlf.la.gov prior to Friday, March 31, 2023.

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