Michigan is fortunate to have an abundance of inland lakes, streams, and rivers, in addition to the Great Lakes. As the weather gets warmer, many Michigan residents will be spending the summer cruising around on a boat. In Michigan there are over 939,000 registered boats on file with the Secretary of State.
Although Michigan does not require a separate license to operate a boat, there are many differences between driving a car and a boat. However, boaters between the ages of 12 and 16 need a Boater Safety Certificate to operate a boat in Michigan. Here are a few safety tips to help keep your summer boating activities safe for you, your family and friends.
- Make sure you wear a life jacket. The United States Coast Guard estimates 90 percent of all drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Do not drive your boat at excessive or unsafe speed.
- Make sure to be aware of other boats on the water, but don’t forget about water skiers, tubers, jet skiers, and wave runners.
- Do not drink and drive a boat.
- Perform a safety inspection of your boat in order to avoid problems when boating.
- Tell someone on land who is with you on the boat, where you are headed, and how long you expect to be gone.
Last year in Michigan, there were 35 boating deaths reported. Your local sheriff may offer boating safety classes. Please remember to take proper precautions before boating. Following the tips above will lead to a safer boating experience.