Skip to main content

Waterways facilities

We provide one of the premier boating programs in the country.

  • 82 state-sponsored harbors (19 state-managed harbors and 63 local state-sponsored harbors of refuge).
  • 1,300-plus state and local boating access sites.
  • two state lock/dam systems owned and administered by DNR.
  • 6,000-plus boat slips spread across state and local harbors.
Explore Michigan boating

The Waterways Program

Derived from boat registration fees and the Michigan marine fuel tax, the Waterways Program helps fund the construction, operation and maintenance of public recreational boating facilities.

  • The program supports state-administered harbors along the Great Lakes and state-administered boating access sites on the Great Lakes and inland waters.
  • The grant-in-aid program provides grants to local government for harbors along the Great Lakes and boating access sites throughout Michigan.

Waterways Commission

The Michigan State Waterways Commission is a seven-member advisory board that works with the Department of Natural Resources on the use of dedicated funds, provided by boaters, for the acquisition, development and maintenance of public harbors and boating access sites, as well as certain locks and dams.

Learn about the commission »

Key project updates

Black River Mouth Boating Access Site public meeting (Alcona County)

Join the DNR 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, to learn about a recent study of the Black River Mouth Boating Access Site in Alcona County. The study addressed the causes of moving sand at the site and alternatives that could alleviate the frequency of dredging.

There are several opportunities to join the Tuesday, April 4 public meeting (4:30-6 p.m.) and/or provide feedback.

  • Join the meeting in person at the Alcona County Library, 312 West Main St. in Harrisville.
  • Join the meeting virtually via Zoom. You can also join by phone by calling 1-305-224-1968 (Webinar ID: 898 6512 4554).
  • After the meeting, those interested can download the study and provide feedback. Comments can be sent to through Friday, April 28.

Torch River Bridge Boating Access Site (Antrim County)

In 2020, the DNR acquired an additional 1.5 acres of property to expand the Torch River Bridge Boating Access Site. The popular site is located at the mouth of Torch River on the south end of Torch Lake. After gathering public feedback on proposed site concepts at a public meeting in June 2022, the following site design is being planned:

  • Parking spaces for vehicles with trailers and boater pedestrian routes.
  • A dual launch ramp.
  • A nonmotorized carry-down launch with parking.
  • A vault toilet.
  • Improved traffic patterns off Torch Lake Drive.

Although a construction timeline has not been announced, it's anticipated that the project will take approximately four months. Minimal impacts to recreational boating and fishing are being carefully considered. The current site will remain open for public boating access and may remain open through the beginning phases of construction. Updates will be posted on this page on the first of each month.


boat parked in harbor

Boating Infrastructure Grants

Provides federal funding assistance for the design and construction of public recreational harbor facilities serving transient boaters. Local units of government, public universities and private facilities are eligible.

Michigan Boating Pumpout Grants

Provides funding for new or upgraded marine sewage disposal facilities, pumpouts and dump stations. Grants are provided to both private and public boating facilities, as long as they are open to the public.

harbors with town in background

Waterways Program Grants

Provides financial and technical assistance for design and construction of public recreational boating facilities, including state-sponsored harbor and mooring facilities. Only local units of government and public universities are eligible to apply.