United States Power Squadrons®

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South Bend Sail and Power Squadron

Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan

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MICHIGAN BOATING LAWS HAVE CHANGED! Do You Need a Safe Boating Class?

If you boat in Michigan, your age and your boat's horsepower determine whether you need to take an approved safe boating course. South Bend Sail and Power Squadron offers a class that meets the Michigan requirements!

Boat Operator Age and Education Requirements

If you boat in Michigan, your age and your boat's horsepower determine whether you need to take an approved safe boating course. South Bend Sail and Power Squadron offers a class that meets the Michigan requirements!

Boat Operator Age and Education Requirements

There are no age or education requirements for a boat of less than 6 horsepower. If you were born on or after July 1, 1996, you may not legally operate a boat in Michigan of greater than 6 horsepower unless you have had an approved safe boating course and have your card with you! If you are less than 12 years of age, you may operate a boat up to 35 horsepower if you have had an approved safe boating course and have your card with you, and are directly supervised by someone at least 16 years old. If you were born before July 1, 1996, you may operate a boat of any horsepower without age restrictions or educational requirements. (It's still a good idea to take a boating safety course!)

Personal Watercraft Age and Education Requirements

Michigan now prohibits anyone less than 14 years old from operating a personal watercraft. Persons between the ages of 14 and 15 must complete an approved safe boating course, have the card in their possession, and be accompanied by a parent or guardian or a person 21 or older designated by the parent or guardian. The parent, guardian, or designee must also have taken an approved safe boating course and have the card in their possession if they were born after December 31, 1978. Persons age 16 and older may operate a personal watercraft only if they have completed an approved safe boating course and have the card in their possession. Persons who were born on or before December 31, 1978 may operate a personal watercraft without restrictions or educational requirements. (It's still a good idea to take a boating safety course!)

This summary of the changes in Michigan law is offered only as a guide to suggest further research or inquiry. For the most current Michigan laws and how they affect your boating experience, contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Take a Safe Boating Course with Us!

South Bend Sail and Power Squadron offers the United States Power Squadron's ABC 3rd Edition public boating course, which meets the Michigan safe boating course requirements. You'll receive a boating card that meets the requirements of most states and is good for life. See our Education Page for a listing of courses in the South Bend/Mishawaka area, or go to USPS.org to locate courses in other areas.