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Things You Should Know About Boating in Michigan

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Boating and Drinking

It gets hot out there being the Captain and driving my boat. Can I have a frozen rum margarita to keep me cool while pulling my kids tubing?

Do we really have to answer that question… Captain? This page is general FAQs. Go here to see Boating and Drinking Laws after you read this.

What am I required to have on my boat in Michigan?

All boats operating on Michigan waters must carry and, if required, have in operation, acceptable personal flotation devices (PFDs), visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, sounding devices, backfire flame arrestor, ventilation systems, and navigation lights as required by federal law.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in Michigan?

In Michigan, anyone born on or after July 1, 1996, must successfully complete a boater safety course approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in order to operate a motorized vessel. Anyone born after December 31, 1978, require boater education in order to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).

Can you drink on a boat in Michigan?

Michigan law does not prohibit drinking on the water. Passengers—and the watercraft operator—can openly cruise around with a bottle or two. But that’s where the leniency stops. Just as operating a motor vehicle under the influence is illegal, so is jumping behind the wheel of a boat

Boating – Do it wrong and it could cost you.
If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, DUI or driving while high or boating wrong.
Hire Komorn Law PLLC and turn your legal defense into an offense and fight for your rights.

Call NOW 248-357-2550

Can local police board your boat?

Any law enforcement agency within its own jurisdiction can board a boat when faced with “exigent circumstances,” such as someone clearly operating a vessel to endanger, boating under the influence, displaying gross negligence, and so on

Do I need a horn on my boat in Michigan?

All boats also must carry a device capable of producing 4-second sound bite that can be heard for a half-mile. This could be a siren, a horn, or even a whistle. Boats longer than 39.4 feet also must have a bell

How late can you be on a boat in Michigan?

Personal watercraft laws in Michigan include: Operators must wear a lanyard-type engine cut-off on their vest. This shuts down the engine in the event the operator falls off. Operators can’t ride a personal watercraft after sunset and before 8 a.m.

Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Michigan?

The answer to this question is yes, you can get a DUI on a kayak in Michigan. There are no specific laws in Michigan that address the issue of drinking and kayaking, but the state does have laws that prohibit operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol

Can the Coast Guard search my boat?

The USCG can board any vessel under the U.S. jurisdiction. Once aboard the ship, the service members can inspect and search the vessel. They can also make arrests and ask for information about the ship, the workers, the homeport and the destination of the vessel.

Can you live on a boat in Michigan?

Yes, you can live on a boat without breaking any laws in Michigan. The biggest drawback of staying on a boat in Michigan is that it is very cold during the winter.

Is it illegal to use goldfish as bait in Michigan?

In Michigan, goldfish are not a pest species, but the state has prohibited their use as bait.

Can you drink in an RV in Michigan?

Open Container Law in MI

Michigan’s open container law prohibits both drivers and passengers from transporting or possessing an open container of alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle.

Can you walk with alcohol in Michigan?

Sec. 915. (1) Alcoholic liquor shall not be consumed on the public highways. (2) Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), alcoholic liquor may be possessed or consumed in public parks, public places of amusement, or a publicly owned area not licensed to sell for consumption on the premises.

Michigan Legislature – Section 436.1915

Can you anchor anywhere in the Great Lakes?

All navigable waters consequently are under the federal domain. As anchoring is considered under common law to be an inherent part of navigation, the right to anchor a vessel is also considered to be unassailable, except for certain restrictions.

Which side do you pass an oncoming boat?

If you meet another boat head-on: Under the boating rules of the road, vessels approaching each other head-on are always supposed to pass each other port to port — or left to left, just like on the road.

When two boats meet who has the right of way?

The boat on a starboard tack has the right of way—the wind coming over the starboard rail. When two vessels are on the same tack (the wind is coming from the same side), the leeward boat (downwind) has the right of way over the windward boat (that presumably has clean air for better sailing conditions).

Are minnow traps legal in Michigan?

Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2), a person shall not do any of the following:

  (a) Take or possess minnows, wigglers, or crayfish for commercial purposes from any of the waters over which this state has jurisdiction; import minnows, wigglers, or crayfish for commercial purposes from outside of this state; or transport minnows, wigglers, or crayfish without having first procured a license as provided in section 48732. A license, except a license to fish in the waters of this state as provided in part 435, is not required of persons taking minnows, wigglers, or crayfish for their individual use for bait. A person shall not set or use minnow traps for the taking of minnows, wigglers, or crayfish for any purpose unless the name and address of the user is on the trap.

Michigan Legislature – Section 324.48729

When you get arrested for alleged operating a motor vehicle under the influence and need a lawyer you know who to call.
Attorney Michael Komorn 248-357-2550

Michigan Boating Laws

Alcohol restrictions

Find out where alcohol possession and use is limited in state parks, recreation areas and boating access sites.

Boat registration

All watercraft, unless exempt, must be registered with the Michigan Department of State and display a registration decal. Registrations expire on March 31 in the third year of issuance.

Boat operator-age restrictions

Learn how old you need to be to operate a boat or personal watercraft (such as a wave runner/jet ski)

Boating access site hours

The majority of state-sponsored boating access sites are posted closed 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. unless otherwise posted.

Boating and fishing laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

The laws include the removal of drain plugs and aquatic organisms from boats and trailers and the disposal of unused baitfish.

Buoys and markers – what they mean

Learn what the different marker and buoys stand for – “traffic signals” on the water.

Life jacket rules

Who needs to wear a life jacket and what type of personal floatation device needs to be carried on your boat in Michigan.

Local watercraft rules

Know the rules about motorboats, high-speed boating, water skiing and more for particular waterbodies.

Pet restrictions at boating access sites

There are some restrictions in some locations during certain times of the year.

Still Need More? Here’s something from Channel 4…

A guide to Michigan’s boating laws: What you need to know. Make sure you stay safe on the water and keep these laws in mind.

Here is the entire book

Michigan Boating Handbook FAQ

Boating and Drinking

A number of rules, regulations and policies were put in place to enhance safety, create a welcoming environment and protect parks and campgrounds for future generations.

Alcohol restrictions at state parks and recreation areas

You may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage within the following described locations April 1 through Labor Day without written authorization of the park manager:

  • Fort Custer Recreation Area – entire park.
  • Holly Recreation Area – day-use areas south of McGinnis Road.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area- day-use areas in park, excluding rented shelters.
  • Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area – day-use areas in park.
  • Muskegon State Park – day-use area.
  • Pinckney Recreation Area – rented shelters in the Silver Lake and Halfmoon day-use areas.
  • P. J. Hoffmaster State Park – campground.
  • Proud Lake Recreation Area – day-use area east of Wixom Road.
  • Seven Lakes State Park – day-use areas of the park.
  • Sterling State Park – day-use areas in park.
  • Van Buren State Park – day-use and beach area.
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area – Gun Lake day-use area.

March 1 through Sept. 30, you may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage in the following locations:

  • Grand Mere State Park – entire park.

April 1 through Sept. 30, you may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage in the following locations:

  • Brighton Recreation Area – Bishop Lake day-use area.
  • Warren Dunes State Park – entire park.

You may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage at any time within the following described locations, without written authorization of the park manager:

  • Belle Isle Park – entire park.
  • Dodge #4 State Park – entire park.
  • Grand Haven State Park – entire park.
  • Holland State Park – entire park.
  • Maybury State Park – entire park.
  • Pontiac Lake Recreation Area – day-use areas in the park.
  • William G. Milliken State Park and harbor – entire park/harbor.
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area – Deep Lake campground, mountain bike parking lot and boating access site 8-18.

Alcohol restrictions at boating access sites

Consuming alcoholic beverages or possessing an open alcoholic beverage are not allowed at locations below. This prohibition does not apply while on a vessel.

  • Big lake boating access site 3-1, section 14, T2N R12W, Allegan County
  • Green lake boating access site 3-4, section 10, T4N R11W, Allegan County.
  • Lake sixteen boating access site 3-9, section 16, T2N R11W, Allegan County.
  • Irving road boating access site 8-5, section 31, T4N R9W, Barry County.
  • Bristol lake boating access site 8-11, section 10, T1N R8W, Barry County.
  • Airport road boating access site 8-32, section 10, T3N R9W, Barry County.
  • Benton harbor boating access site 11-12, section 24, T4S R14W, Berrien County.
  • Jasper dairy road boating access site, 11-13, section 27, T5S R18W, Berrien County.
  • Buchanan boating access site 11-8, section 23, T7S R18W, Berrien County.
  • Goguac lake boating access site 13-2, section 14, T2S R8W, Calhoun County.
  • Hemlock lake boating access site 14-7, section 3, T5S R13W, Cass County.
  • Lake Fenton boating access site 25-2, section 14, T5N R6E, Genesee County.
  • Lake Ponemah boating access site 25-3, section 22, T5N R6E, Genesee County.
  • Long lake boating access site 34-2, section 3, T8N R7W, Ionia County.
  • East Tawas mooring facility (May 15 to Sept.15), Iosco County.
  • Sherman lake boating access site 39-2, section 29, T1S R9W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Morrow pond boating access site 39-5, section 22, T2S R10W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Eagle lake boating access site 39-6, section 9, T3S R12W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Rupert lake boating access site 39-9, section 5, T1S R12W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Sugar loaf lake boating access site 39-11, section 5, T4S R11W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Austin lake boating access site 39-14, section 26, T3S R11W, Kalamazoo County.
  • Murray lake boating access site 41-1, section 33, T8N R9W, Kent County.
  • Campau lake boating access site 41-2, section 12, T5N R10W, Kent County.
  • Camp lake boating access site 41-4, section 18, T9N R11W, Kent County.
  • Harley Ensign memorial boating access site 50-1, section 15, T2N R14E, Macomb County.
  • Selfridge boating access site 50-3, section 5, T2N R14E, Macomb County.
  • Clinton river cutoff boating access site 50-7, section 30, T2N R14E, Macomb County.
  • Little Whitefish lake boating access site 59-9, section 8, T11N R10W, Montcalm County.
  • Orchard lake boating access site 63-1, section 14, T2N R9E, Oakland County.
  • Tackles drive boating access site 63-4, section 13, T3N R8E, Oakland County.
  • Tipsico lake boating access site 63-18, section 30, T4N R7E, Oakland County.
  • Lake George boating access site 65-16, section 18, T21N R2E, Ogemaw County (May 20 through Sept. 15).
  • Lake St. Helen boating access site 72-14, section 21, T23N R1W, Roscommon County (May 20 through Sept. 14).
  • Klinger lake boating access site 75-2, section 2, T8S R11W, St. Joseph County.
  • Fishers lake boating access site 75-3, section 34, T5S R11W, St. Joseph County.
  • Clear lake boating access site 75-4, section 17, T6S R12W, St. Joseph County.
  • Gravel lake boating access site 80-3, section 31, T4S R13W, Van Buren County.
  • Van Auken boating access site 80-7, section 33, T2S R16W, Van Buren County.
  • Three mile lake boating access site 80-8, section 21, T3S R14W, Van Buren County.
  • Lake Cora boating access site 80-10, section 18, T3S R14W, Van Buren County.
  • North Channel boating access site 74-1, section 9, T2N R16E, St. Clair County.

View ALL park rules & regulations »

Things not to do while boating

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This post may contain re-posted content, opinions, comments, ads, third party posts, outdated information, posts from disgruntled persons, posts from those with agendas and general internet BS. Therefore…Before you believe anything on the internet regarding anything – do your research on Official Government and State Sites, Call the Michigan State Police, Check the State Attorney General Website and Consult an Attorney – Use Your Brain.

The post Things You Should Know About Boating in Michigan appeared first on Komorn Law.

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