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Who Needs to Take a Boater Safety Course?

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Michigan conservation officers and Michigan county sheriffs encourage all persons operating boats in Michigan to enroll in a boating safety course.

Who May Operate a Boat

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:
    • Have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat and...
    • 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 born on or after July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally only if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat.

Those born before July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally without restrictions.

Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC)

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 they have obtained a boating safety certificate and...

  • He or she is accompanied on board by his or her parent or legal guardian or by a person as 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.

Those at least 16 years of age and born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.

Those born on or before December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.

Search for a Boating Safety Class in your area.

Search for a Boating Safety Class in your area from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 18.
The Auxiliary teaches the Michigan DNR Boat Michigan approved basic boating safety course. We also offer an 8 hour About Boating Safety Class which is Michigan and NASBLA approved, and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard. Upon successful completion of either class students will be issued a boating safety certificate.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety courses provide instruction to boaters at all levels, from the fundamental to the advanced courses for experienced boaters. Our classes are taught by experienced and knowledgeable instructors committed to the highest standards of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Find out more information about boating in Michigan.

The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities

Michigan now offers two online boating safety classes and Exam:
BoatEd.com and BoaterExam.com

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