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Boat Laws

USBoatLaw.com  - The Boating Laws and Safety Guides

Michigan BOAT LAWS

   

Michigan Boating Laws are administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources  . There are Conservation Officers, State and Local Police Departments also may enforce Michigan Boating Laws. Additional rules and regulations may apply in various counties. Know the law and boat safely.

Basic Michigan Boating Laws

The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities defines the basics of boating, laws and regulations, navigation rules, weather emergencies, encountering other vessels and much more. Safe navigation on Michigan waterways is the responsibility of everyone.

Boating License Requirements

 12 years of age and UNDER:

  • May operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 horsepower (hp) legally without restrictions.

  • May operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp but no more than 35 hp legally only if they are directly supervised on board by a person at least 16 years of age.

  • May not operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 35 hp legally under any conditions.

12 to 15 years of age:

  • May operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 hp legally without restrictions.

  • May operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp legally only if they:

    • Have passed a boating safety course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have on board their boating safety certificate or 

    • Are accompanied on board by a person at least 16 years of age.

16 years of age and older:  may operate any boat on the waters of Michigan. (See notes on PWC)

Jet Ski Rules - Personal Watercraft

UNDER 12 years of age. NOT PERMITTED TO OPERATE A PWC

12 and 13 years of age may operate a PWC legally only if:

  • He or she obtained a boating safety certificate prior to January 1, 1999, or ...

  • All of the following conditions are satisfied:

    • The operator is accompanied solely by his or her parent or legal guardian and ...

    • Both the operator and the parent or legal guardian have obtained a boating safety certificate and ...

    • The PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch and the parent or legal guardian has the lanyard attached to his or her person, clothing, or PFD.

Those 14 years of age or older:

  • And born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.

  • And born on or before December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.

 

Boat Registration - more details on: 
 

It is illegal for the owner or person in control of a motorboat to allow someone who does not meet the age or boating education requirements to operate the vessel.   

Michigan Boat Forms
 
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