7 Michigan Boating Laws And Rules That You Need To Know
One of the many reasons to love Michigan is the abundance of lakes we can enjoy.
Not only does Michigan have four of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Erie, and Michigan) but we also have over 11,000 inland lakes.
MICHIGAN BOATING LAWS
The handbook of Michigan boating laws and responsibilities has lots of important rules to follow for yourself and other's safety. Some of the information in the handbook include.
-Boating Laws and Regulations
Let's check out some of the most important ones you need to know.
REGISTER YOUR BOAT
The handbook says “you must have a Michigan Certificate of Number (registration) and validation decals to operate your vessel legally on public waters in Michigan.” There are exceptions to registration requirements; if you are operating a privately owned rowboat 16 feet or less in length, if you are operating a privately owned non-motorized canoe or kayak, or if your vessel is registered in another state using Michigan waters for 60 days or less.
The registration card must be on board at all times and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is being operated. The registration number and validation decals must also be displayed. The number must be affixed to both sides of the bow as high above the waterline as practical. The number must read from left to right on both sides and the numbers must be at least three-inch-high block letters.
IMPORTANT BOAT TRAILER LAWS TO FOLLOW
-All trailers must be licensed and registered
-If the gross weight of the vessel and trailer exceeds 3,000 pounds, the trailer must be equipped with brakes.
-Trailers must have proper lighting, including turn signals, taillights, and brake lights.
-All towing vehicles must be connected to the trailer by a safety chain or cable of sufficient strength to maintain connection under all conditions.
WHO CAN LEGALLY OPERATE A BOAT IN MICHIGAN?
Those less than 12 years old may operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 horsepower legally without restrictions. They may only operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 horsepower but no more than 35 if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat AND are directly supervised on board by a person at least 16 years of age.
WHAT EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED ON A BOAT?
All vessels must be equipped with a personal flotation device, or life jacket, for each person on board or being towed. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requires that all vessels have at least one Type I, II, or III PFD that is USCG-approved, wearable, and of the proper size for each person on board or being towed. All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.
NAVIGATION LIGHT BOATING RULES
If you plan on operating your boat between sunset and sunrise, or during periods of reduced visibility vessels must be equipped with and exhibit navigation lights. If your watercraft is 26 ft. or longer, your vessel must be equipped with red and green sidelights visible from a distance of at least one mile away. A masthead light and a stern light visible from a distance of at least two miles away must also be on board. The masthead light must be higher than the sidelights.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS ON BOATS
Approved types of fire extinguishers must-read “Marine Type USCG-Approved” on the label. Extinguishers should be placed in an accessible area not near the engine or in a compartment, but where they can be reached immediately. The fire extinguisher needs to be less than 12 years old
ARE ALCOHOL OR DRUGS ALLOWED ON A BOAT?
While alcohol and marijuana are legal in Michigan there are certain rules that you must follow when operating a boat. If your blood alcohol content is determined to be 0.08% or greater, you are considered to be under the influence and can be subjected to penalties.
You can get more info by visiting the Michigan DNR website