Personal Watercraft

State of Michigan Regulations for PWCs:


  1. A person under the age of 14 may not legally operate a personal watercraft (Wave Runner and Jet Ski) in the state of Michigan.
  2. A person who is 14 or 15 years of age may use a personal watercraft legally on the waters of the state of Michigan only if…
    1. The person has obtained a boating safety certificate.
    2. The person is accompanied on board by the person’s parent or legal guardian or by a person at least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian or….
    3. The person is operating or riding the personal watercraft at a distance of not more than 100 feet from his or her parent or legal guardian or from a person at least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian.

Requirements specific to PWCs:

  1. Each person 12 years of age or older operating, riding on or being towed behind a personal watercraft (jet ski) must wear a Type I, Type II or Type III PFD (that is not an inflatable device).
  2. Each person less than 12 years of age riding or being towed, behind a personal watercraft (jet ski) must wear a Type I or Type II PFD.
  3. You may not allow a child under 7 years of age to ride on or be towed behind a PWC, unless with a parent or guardian, or designee of the parent or guardian.
  4. The lanyard of a PWC’s ignition safety switch must be attached to the person, clothing, or PFD of the operator.
  5. PWC drivers must operate in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. It is illegal to:
    1. Jump the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to the other vessel
    2. Weave your PWC through congested traffic
    3. Swerve at the last possible moment to avoid collision
  6. A PWC must be operated at slow-no wake speed if crossing within 150 feet behind another vessel, unless the other vessel is also a PWC.
  7. It is illegal to harass wildlife or disturb aquatic vegetation with your PWC.
  8. You may not operate a PWC in waters less than 2 feet deep unless you are operating at slow-no wake speed, or are docking or launching your PWC.

PWC Courtesy When Encountering Other Vessels:

  1. Jumping the wake of a passing vessel, or riding too close to another vessel, creates special risks and is restricted or even prohibited. Visibility around the vessel making the wake may be blocked, both for the PWC operator and for oncoming traffic.
  2. Vary your operating area and avoid repetitious operation during your ride.
  3. Avoid congregating with other PWC operators near shore as this can increase annoying noise levels.
  4. Avoid making excessive noise near residential and camping areas, particularly early in the morning. Excessive use in one area can be an irritant to people who are there to enjoy a quiet and relaxing time.
  5. Avoid maneuvers that cause the engine exhaust to lift out of the water; this causes increased noise levels.
  6. Do not modify your engine exhaust system if the result is more noise. Improperly modified exhausts will not make your PWC faster and may raise the noise to an illegal level.

Environmental Considerations:

  1. When operating your PWC always be considerate of the effect you may have on the environment.
  2. Do not operate a PWC in shallow water (less than 24 inches deep). Bottom sediments or aquatic vegetation can be sucked into the water pump and damage your PWC and the environment.
  3. Avoid creating a wake, which can cause erosion when operating near shore or in narrow streams or rivers.
  4. Do not dock or beach your PWC in reeds and grasses. This could damage fragile environments.
  5. Take extra care when fueling your PWC in or near the water. Oil and gasoline spills are very detrimental to the aquatic environment. Fuel on land if possible.
  6. Never use your PWC to chase wildlife such as birds feeding near shore, water fowl or other animals.

State Regulations are very specific regarding the hours that Personal Watercraft may be operated on the lake. The Regulations Read as Follows:

“A person shall not operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this state during the period that begins at sunset and ends at 8:00 a.m.”