By Craig McMorris, TV5 Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
LANSING, MI (WNEM) -
Even though temperatures are winter-like early this April, state officials said now is a good time to take a boating safety course if you plan on hitting the water later this spring and summer.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said classroom and online options are available, and boating safety is required for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1978, who wants to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) and those born after July 1, 1996 who want to operate a motorboat. Children under the age of 14 may not legally operate a personal watercraft in Michigan.
"Spring is a great time to get your boating safety class in, so that you start the summer boating season with safety requirements fresh in your mind," said boating law administrator Lt. Andrew Turner of the DNR's Law Enforcement Division. "We encourage anyone who plans on operating a watercraft in Michigan to take a boating safety course."
Boating safety requirements in Michigan are as follows:
Those born on or after July 1, 1996 (new in 2012, as a result of Public Act 0120), are required to have a boater's safety certificate to operate a motorboat.
Persons younger 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 they have obtained a boating safety certificate and if 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 guardian or from a person at least 21 years old who has been designated by the parent or guardian.
Those at least 16 years of age and born after Dec. 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.
Those born on or before Dec. 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.
Boating safety courses are offered in classrooms around the state, and a searchable database is on the DNR boating web site at www.michigan.gov/boating. The state of Michigan also offers two online boating safety courses - Boat-Ed and BoaterExam.
The DNR manages more than 1,000 boating access sites and 80 harbors around the state that support Michigan's $4 billion boating industry, Turner said.
"Boating is part of the Pure Michigan lifestyle, and safe boating is everyone's responsibility," Turner said. "From canoes and kayaks to larger craft to jet skis, there are opportunities for nearly every type of boating. A boating safety course can benefit anyone who wants to enjoy being on the water."
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