Jet skiing can be a pretty enjoyable, and fulfilling activity to participate in during the summertime! It can be an amazing way to create some memories with family and friends. Though to ensure you can have some uninterrupted fun you will need to know the laws that apply to jet skis within the state you are in.
If you are 12 years of age you can operate PWC or water vessel with a hp of no more than 6. Anyone 12 years old or younger can also operate a PWC or water vessel of 35 hp or greater IF you have a boating safety certificate and have with onboard with you. Or if you are supervised by someone at least 16 years old.
The Basics to Owning a PWC
Michigan Watercraft Registration Fee
|Watercraft Instant Title||$10.00|
|Watercraft Transfer||$2 plus 1-2-or 3-year renewal fee, if any|
|Replacement Watercraft Decal||$2.00|
|Duplicate Watercraft Registration||$2.00|
|Motorboats Less Than 12 Feet and Motorized Canoes (All Sizes)||$14.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 12 Feet or More but Less Than 16 Feet||$17.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 16 Feet or More but Less Than 21 Feet||$42.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 21 Feet or More but Less Than 28 Feet||$115.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 28 Feet or More but Less Than 35 Feet||$168.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 35 Feet or More but Less Than 42 Feet||$244.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 42 Feet or More but Less Than 50 Feet||$280.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
|Motorboats 50 Feet or More||$448.00 (Original fee and 3-year renewal)|
Hull Identification Number
A Hull Identification Number (HIN) is a 12-digit number that is assigned by the manufacturer to vessels built after the year 1972. they help be able to determine the difference between multiple vessels.
In case your vessel is stolen you should write down your HIN number and put it somewhere safe.
Numbers and Stickers
Once you receive your registration number and the validation stickers you must display these items in the following ways:
- Each number has to be painted, applied onto your vessel as a decal, or place to be shown on both sides of the bow.
- The numbers must be read from left to right on both sides
- Each number must be in block letter and three-inches high
- The color of your numbers must also be in contrast with the background of your vessel
- The letters have to be separated from the numbers with space or a hyphen
- There cannot be any other numbers shown on the bow of your vessel
Following the Law
Reckless Operation of a Vessel
Improper Speed or Distance
Failing to go at a reasonable speed and even going faster than the speed recommended, especially during vessel traffic, poor weather conditions and closeness to shore can result in injuries.
To be more specific, here are some actions that are considered to be illegal in the state of Michigan:
- Going at a speed that can be harmful to your vessel
- Going faster than the speed limit posted near the body of water you are operating on.
- Being within 20 feet of the outer boundary area that is marked by signs and buoys of it being a restricted area.
- Operating at a greater speed than “slow, no wake” speed that is posted in a “no wake” zone.
- Operating your vessel at extreme speeds in the close vicinity of another vessel, PWCs or dangerous waters.
- Roaming around a swimming area (within 20 feet) and it is marked with red and yellow buoys.
- Operating your PWC within 20 feet of another person who is fishing (gaining their permission first)
Overloading and Overpowering
Going against the recommended weight and horsepower shown on your PWC or vessel is unsafe. You should never exceed the maximum number of persons or weight that is recommended when you purchase or operate a PWC.
If the PWC does not have a plate, in which it shows its capacity, the owner must be able to demonstrate that the PWC follows the safe loading and powering requirements given by the U.S. Coast Guard.
This is when you knowingly allow another person to use a PWC when they suffer from any conditions that may prevent them from operating the vessel accurately. Conditions that can be hard for the operator and their passengers are:
- If the operator has a physical or mental disability
- If there are not enough personal flotation devices, fire extinguishers, backfire flame arrestors, or navigational lights
- Or if an unsafe condition simply exists
Recklessly operating and being negligent of the rules for operating a vessel or PWC is putting yourself and others in danger. The following are examples of negligent and reckless operations of a PWC or vessel.
Encircling people that are participating in water activities. Unless you are retrieving someone who is downed in the water. Do not operate a PWC around:
- Anyone who is on a PWC or vessel that is fishing, water skiing, or engaging in water activity.
- Anyone who is swimming nearby
- Unsafely approaching or passing a dock, ramp, a moored or anchored or even a swimming area that is marked is illegal.
- Any other PWC or Vessel.
Alcohol and Drugs (BUI It’s Against the Law)
In the state of Michigan, you are considered to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol if:
- Your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher.
The following penalties are enforced if you are convicted of boating under the influence:
- You will simply be guilty of a misdemeanor, though on your third conviction within 10 years of your first or second you will be guilty of a felony.
- If someone under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol causes bodily harm to anyone else they will be guilty of a felony.
Personal Flotation Devices
|TYPE 1||TYPE 2||TYPE 3||TYPE 4||TYPE 5|
|Offshore Life Jackets||Near-Shore Vests||Flotation Aids||Throwable Devices||Special-Use Devices|
|This vest can turn an unconscious person in the water to face up in the water. It was made for rough waters and for situations where rescue might take a long time.||This vest is fit for calmer waters and faster rescues. If you were to wear this while unconscious it may not be able to turn you face up in the water.||This vest can also be full-sleeved jacket and it is great for calm waters and fast rescues. This will definitely not turn your face up in the rough waters. This is generally worn for water sports.||This type of flotation device is a cushion or ring buoys and are typically used to throw at someone in trouble. They are not made to last for long hours in the waters, or non-swimmers, or the unconscious.||This type of flotation device was made for activities like kayaking, water skiing. These typically look like water vests, deck suits and personal flotation device hybrids.|
Requirements for PFDs
- A Type 4 personal flotation device that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, and it must be on board a vessel that is 16 feet or longer and it must also be easily accessible for emergency use.
- Any person that is on board a PWC or vessel (no matter the age) must wear a PFD.
- Vessels have to have 1 of the 5 personal flotation devices on board your vessel and they also must be a wearable size for any passenger or operator.
What To Do in an Accident
Anyone who is involved in a boating or PWC accident must:
- Stop your vessel immediately at the moment of the accident.
- Help anyone who may have been injured from the accident unless helping them puts you and others in danger.
- You will have to give, in writing, his or her name, address and vessel identification to the owner of the property that was damaged.
You will also need to file an accident report if one of the following occurs:
- A person dies
- A person disappears from the watercraft or vessel
This accident report must also be filed within 48 hours if:
- A person happens to die within 24 hours of the accident.
- Someone loses consciousness, receives medical treatment, or if someone is disabled for more than 24 hours.
An accident report will have to be filed within 5 days if:
- The vessel damage or property damage that exceeds $2,000.
- The disappearance of a person can indicate death or injury.
The boating laws of Michigan are enforced by the Law Enforcement Division of the Michigan DNR, the county sheriff’s department, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and any other law enforcement agency.
These law enforcement officers are allowed and appointed to enforce these laws and they have the right to stop any vessel to check if they are following the law.