The Michigan legislature has adopted strict laws to promote safety on our waters for all users.
Reckless operation of a vessel, or reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard, or similar device is activity that disregards the safety or rights of others or endangers the person or property of others. Some examples are:
- Weaving your boat through congested waterway traffic or swerving at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision
- Jumping the wake of another boat unnecessarily close to the other boat or when visibility around the other vessel is restricted
- Chasing, harassing, or disturbing wildlife with your boat
- Causing damage from the wake of your boat
Failure to regulate speed
- In excess of 55 mph, unless you are at least one mile offshore of the Great Lakes or Lake St. Clair
- At greater than “slow-no wake speed” if any person is in the bow of a vessel without proper seating
- Faster than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions (weather, vessel traffic, etc.)
- A shoreline (if operating in water less than 3 feet deep)
- Any moored or anchored vessel
- A dock or raft
- Any marked swimming area or person(s) in the water
If operating at greater than “slow-no wake speed,” personal watercraft must:
- Stay at least 200 feet from any Great Lakes’ shoreline
- Not cross within 150 feet behind any other vessel, except another personal watercraft
Slow-no wake speed is the slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering and does not create a wake.
Improper direction is the failure to operate in a counter-clockwise direction except in areas marked by well-defined channels or rivers.
Boating in restricted areas is operating within a restricted area clearly marked by buoys, beacons, diver down flags, etc.
Riding on bow (the front of the boat) is illegal in Michigan if the boat is not equipped with bow seating and the vessel is operating at greater than “slow-no wake speed.” Persons are also not allowed to ride on the gunwale. While underway, persons on a vessel cannot sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a vessel not designed for that purpose.