Boating Safety

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Each year hundreds of lives are lost... thousands are injured... and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often pleasure outings turn tragic. You — as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual — can make a difference. - U.S. Coast Guard

Marine Safety Division 

Boat Operation by Age

Those less than 12 years of age:

    • 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.

Those 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.
      Those 16 years of age or older:

    • May operate any boat on the waters of Michigan. Note: see Who May Operate a PWC below.

Who May Operate a PWC (Personal Watercraft)?

Those less than 14 years of age may not legally operate a PWC.

Those 14 and 15 years of age may operate a PWC legally only if:

·         He or she is accompanied on board by his or her 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 …

·         He or she is operating or riding the PWC 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.

Safety Education Requirement

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.

(taken from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website; http://boat-ed.com/mi/handbook/whomayoperate.htm)

You can learn more about Michigan Boating by going to the DNR Michigan Boating Safety handbook at http://boat-ed.com/mi/handbook/.


Boating Education

Whether your interest is in fishing, sailing, canoeing or water-skiing, boating education is essential.  The WCSO Marine Division offers many Boating Safety Classes each year. In order to minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental impact associated with the use of recreational boats, citizens who are involved in boating activities are strongly encouraged to attend these classes. Please refer to the following information for the current class schedule.

2014 Boating Safety Classes

You must pre-register for the boater safety classes as class sizes are limited.  Group enrollment is allowed and encouraged! Please send an email to Cpl. Mercure at mercuret@ewashtenaw.org with your full name(s), date of birth(s), and class date that you wish to attend. There are no further steps required for you or your group to register for the class. An email confirmation with additional information concerning the class agenda will be sent back to you, usually within 3-5 days. If you are not able to send email please call (734) 973-4390 and leave a message with your full name, date of birth and contact number.  

All classes will be held on Saturdays in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) Building (4135 Washtenaw Ave) located on the Sheriff's Office Service Center Campus (2201 Hogback Rd, Ann Arbor).  All classes are scheduled 8:00am - 4:00pm.

Marine Safety Boats

March 29

May 24

June 7

June 28

July 12

July 26

August 2

August 16

September 6

September 20 

For more information regarding boating safety, you can see links below.

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