Hello Lake Association Friends,
This email is to advise you of the new laws regarding the legal age of operation for both personal watercraft and boat operators. Please feel free to pass this information onto your members or post on your website. Hope all is well as we start the new boating season.
Sgt. Julie Jones
Barry County Sheriff’s Office- Marine Division
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 – they 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 over 12 years of age:
NEW LAW: “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 he or she 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 at 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 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 before December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.