Just like our license plates say, Michigan truly is a "Water-Winter Wonderland"! Between the Great Lakes and thousands of inland lakes, our state is certainly a boater's paradise. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Here's what you need to know about boater's safety in Michigan.

Although it is not required that Michigan boaters posses a specific "boating license", a boating safety certificate is required for boaters born after June 30, 1996. In addition, those born after December 31, 1978 and are at least 16 years old must obtain a boating safety certificate to legally operate a personal water craft (PWC). With summer fast approaching, you may want to brush up on your safety knowledge!

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According to the Michigan DNR there are several ways boaters can obtain their safety certificate: online, in-class courses, or with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Says the DNR,

Although there are some people who do not need to obtain a boating safety certificate to legally operate a boat or personal watercraft, Michigan conservation officers and county sheriffs encourage everyone operating a boat in Michigan to enroll in a course.

The Allegan County Sheriff's Office says they will once again be offering boater's safety courses to the public throughout the summer, with some starting up as early as mid-May! According to their website, classes are open to anyone 12 years of age or older and are provided in 1 or 2 day sessions. Typically there is no fee for boater's safety courses, although some facilities charge a facility use fee or online fee. Several courses offered throughout west Michigan include:

View the complete list of Michigan boater's safety courses here.

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