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In Michigan, state laws govern many aspects of boat and watercraft operation. The following are summaries of some of the important laws that you need to know and obey.
Michigan law designates these dangerous boating practices as illegal:
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:
Failure to regulate speed
If operating at greater than "slow-no wake speed," personal watercrafts must:
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 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.
Who must wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) in Michigan?
What type of PFD do I need to carry on my boat in Michigan?
What are the differences between the types of PFD's?
By law, all life jackets (PFD's) must be ready at hand and not enclosed in plastic bags or other containers.
Michigan boating law prohibits anyone from boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also unlawful for the owner of a vessel to allow anyone else to operate their vessel if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The following conditions determine if you are boating under the influence:
Michigan boating law establishes the following penalties:
By operating a vessel on Michigan waters, you are consenting to be tested for alcohol or drugs, if arrested by a law enforcement official.
The operator of a Michigan boat, or each person onboard, must report an occurrence without delay, by the quickest means available, to the nearest conservation officer, sheriff of the county, or nearest state police post when:
The operator or the owner of a vessel must file an Accident Report Form prepared by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
Within 48 hours if:
Within 5 days if:
You must stop and render assistance to any person involved in a boating accident, unless the action would endanger your own vessel or passengers.
You must give your name, address, and Certificate of Number in writing to any injured person and to the owner of any damaged property if you are involved in a boating accident.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Michigan boat accident, talk with an experienced Michigan boat accident lawyer. Please submit a simple, free, and confidential legal consultation form now.
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