Boating Laws and Regulations

Michigan Boating Safety Education Requirements

The Michigan DNR requires all persons born after July 1, 1996 to have a boat safety certificate (also referred to as the Michigan boating license) to operate a motorboat on Michigan waters. (This does not apply to motorboats with a motor of no more than 6 horsepower.)

A boat safety certificate is also required for all persons born after December 31, 1978 to operate a personal watercraft.

Age Restrictions

  • Boaters under the age of 12 must have a boat safety certificate and be under direct supervision by someone 16 years or older to operate a motorboat. (This does not apply to motorboats with a motor of no more than 6 horsepower.)
  • All boaters or passengers under 6 years of age must be wearing their PFD, either Type I or II, while the vessel is underway.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in Michigan. For a complete listing of Michigan's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult Michigan Department of Natural Resource's website at www.michigan.gov

Boating License or Boater Safety Certificate... is there a difference?

The boating safety certificate is proof that you have successfully completed a boating safety course. The boating safety certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed; therefore it is NOT a Michigan Boating License!