Boat trailers to be exempt from annual state inspection sticker requirements

Badon’s bill already signed by the governor, becomes effective Aug. 1, 2014

If it’s been years since you’ve gotten your boat trailer inspected, you’re probably not in any hurry to rush out and get that taken care of while the summer fishing season is in high gear.

Now, thanks to a bill that passed through the state Legislature this session, you won’t have to worry about it all.

House Bill 347, sponsored by Rep. Austin J. Badon Jr. (D-New Orleans) specifically exempts boat trailers from the state law requiring annual trailer inspections.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the bill last week, and Badon said the exemption for boat trailers will become official on Aug. 1.

“A lot of people had never heard about it. They didn’t know you needed an inspection sticker on a boat trailer. I had never heard about it,” said Badon, a self-described outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, hunting and kayaking. “So when I heard about this from some fellow fishermen and heard some people had actually gotten tickets because of it, I started calling around to the State Police and Wildlife and Fisheries and I was kind of shocked to find out that it was actually law that you needed an inspection sticker on a boat trailer.

“And in some cases previous to this year, they were giving tickets. But most of those agencies told me they knew about it, but weren’t aggressively or actively giving tickets for it. They said they had bigger fish to fry.”

Since relatively few people actually complied with the law anyway, Badon said the state isn’t losing out on much funding by stripping it from the books.

Boat trailer inspections cost $10 per year, or $20 for a two-year certificate.

“A lot of people were not doing it, so it didn’t generate that much money,” he said. “That was the argument. A lot of people didn’t know they had to do it, and some just said, ‘I’m not doing that.’”

Badon said the bill, which became Act 235 when Jindal signed it, only exempts boat trailers from annual inspections — not utility trailers, ATV trailers or any other types of trailers.

And he pointed out you could still receive a ticket for a violation relating to a boat trailer — like a busted light or missing safety chain.

But he doesn’t expect the boat trailer inspection sticker law to be actively enforced from now until the exemption kicks in on Aug. 1.

“Technically you could get an officer who writes one, but they haven’t been enforcing it in the past, and I have no reason to think they would right now,” Badon said.

Adam Einck, spokesperson for LDWF, said the department hasn’t traditionally enforced the trailer inspection requirement.

“When this issue came up last summer, there were rumors there were agents going through parking lots in all these marinas writing tickets,” Einck said. “And when we looked at all our books, we didn’t issue one single ticket for anything associated with any of that.”

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and