LAKE SHANNON Boating Safety and Courtesies
Michigan Boating Regulations
The following are excerpts from the Michigan Boating Safety Handbook. For more complete information click on the link below.
Requirements Specific to Personal Watercraft
Each person riding on or being towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard—approved Type I, II, or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs may not be used.
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.
The lanyard of a PWC's ignition safety switch must be attached to the person, clothing, or PFD of the operator.
It is illegal to operate a PWC between one hour before sunset and 8:00 a.m.
PWCs must be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. It is illegal to:
- Jump the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to the other vessel.
- Weave your PWC through congested traffic.
- Swerve at the last possible moment to avoid collision.
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.
You may not operate a PWC within 200 feet of a Great Lakes shoreline unless traveling at "slow, no wake speed" perpendicular to the shoreline.
It is illegal to harass wildlife or disturb aquatic vegetation with your PWC.
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.
Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC)
No one under the age of 12 years may operate a PWC legally.
Those 12 and 13 years of age may operate a PWC legally only if:
He or she obtained a boating safety certificate prior to January 1, 1999, or ...
All of the following conditions are satisfied:
The operator is accompanied solely by his or her parent or legal guardian and ...
Both the operator and the parent or legal guardian have obtained a boating safety certificate and ...
The PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch and the parent or legal guardian has the lanyard attached to his or her person, clothing, or PFD and ...
The PWC is designed to carry at least two persons.
Those 14 years of age or older:
A person born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if he or she has obtained a boating safety certificate.
Those born on December 31, 1978, or earlier may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.
Sharing the fun of your personal watercraft (PWC) with friends is all part of the boating experience. Before you share your PWC, however, make sure that others you allow to operate it understand their responsibilities as an operator. They need to know that they have the same responsibilities as any other vessel operator, including obeying the navigation rules.
1. Make sure that anyone you allow to operate your PWC meets the minimum age and education requirements for PWC operation in Michigan and the local waterway you are using.
2. Show new operators how to start and reboard the PWC while on shore or in shallow water.
3. Explain how to steer and control the PWC. Tell all new operators and remind experienced operators that power is required for steering control!
4. Make sure that the operator understands how to use the ignition safety switch and attaches the lanyard to his or her person or PFD before starting the engine.
5. Have anyone new to PWCs go out in an uncongested area first. Tell them to stay well clear of other PWCs, boats, or persons in the water.
6. Explain how to recognize a "slow, no wake speed" marker and what to do when approaching one.
Courtesy When Encountering Other Vessels
Jumping the wake of a passing boat, or riding too close to another PWC or boat, creates risks and is restricted or even prohibited in some states. The vessel making the wake may block the PWC operator's view of oncoming traffic and also conceal the PWC operator from approaching vessels.
Excessive noise from PWCs often makes them unwelcome with other vessel operators and people on shore. Be a courteous PWC operator.
1. Vary your operating area, and do not keep repeating the same maneuver.
2. Avoid congregating with other PWC operators near shore, which increases annoying noise levels.
3. Avoid making excessive noise near residential and camping areas, particularly early in the morning.
4. Avoid maneuvers that cause the engine exhaust to lift out of the water because that increases noise levels.
5. Do not modify your engine exhaust system if it increases the noise. Improperly modified exhausts will not make your PWC faster and may raise the noise to an illegal level.
When operating your personal watercraft, consider the effect you may have on the environment:
1. Make sure that the water you operate in is at least 30 inches deep. Riding in shallow water can cause bottom sediments or aquatic vegetation to be sucked into the pump, damaging your PWC and the environment.
2. Avoid causing erosion by operating at slow speed and by not creating a wake when operating near shore or in narrow streams or rivers.
3. Do not dock or beach your PWC in reeds and grasses. This could damage fragile environments.
4. 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.
5. Never use your PWC to disturb, chase, or harass wildlife