Boating DNR Regulations

Based on information from the law enforcement division of the DNR
  1. Boats that must be registered include all motorboats of any size or type, including those with electric trolling motors, personal watercraft, and all sail boats of any size, except sail boards.
  2. Proof of registration must be kept on board the vessel anytime that it is being operated.
  3. Children under 12 may not operate a motorboat larger than 35 horsepower at any time.
  4. Children under 12 may operate a motor boat with 6 to 35 horsepower only under the direct supervision of an adult on board.
  5. Anyone 12 to 16 years of age must carry their Boat Safety Certificate when operating a motorboat or personal watercraft.
  6. Children less than 6 years of age must wear a Type I or Type II PFD when riding in the open deck area of a boat.
  7. Vessels less than 16 feet (including canoes and kayaks) must be equipped with one Type I, II, III or IV PFD for each person on board.
    The U.S. Guard requires all vessels less than 16 feet, used on the Great Lakes or connecting waterways, to carry one approved Type I, II, or III device for each person on board.
  8. Vessels 16 feet and longer, in addition to the Type I, II, or III for each person on board must carry one type IV. (Canoes and kayaks over 16 feet are exempt from the Type IV requirement.)
  9. All motor boats, regardless of size, must display red and green bow lights and a white stern light when underway between sunset and sunrise.
  10. Boat operators as well as persons being towed shall maintain a distance of 100 feet from any dock, raft, occupied bathing area, or other boat, except when you are proceeding at a slow-no wake speed or when water skiers are being picked up or dropped off, provided that the operation is conducted with due regard to the safety of the persons and property in the immediate area.
  11. Bow riding is prohibited.
  12. Sailboats, rowboats, canoes, and other non-motorized vehicles have the right of way over motorboats.
  13. All boats must be operated in a counter-clockwise manner.

For more information consult the

Handbook of Michigan Boating and Responsibilities