MICHIGAN PWC LAWS

* Each person riding on or being towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs may not be used. See PFD age restrictions.

* You may not allow a child under 7 years of age to ride on or be towed behind a PWC unless with a parent or guardian or designee of the parent or guardian.

* The lanyard of a PWC’s ignition safety switch must be attached to the person, clothing, or PFD of the operator.

* It is illegal to operate a PWC during the period that begins at sunset and ends at 8:00 a.m. Sunset means that time determined by the national weather service.

* PWCs must be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times. It is illegal to:

o Jump the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to the other vessel.

o Weave your PWC through congested traffic.

o Swerve at the last possible moment to avoid collision.

* A PWC must be operated at “slow, no wake speed” if crossing within 150 feet behind another vessel unless the other vessel is also a PWC.

* You may not operate a PWC within 200 feet of a Great Lakes shoreline unless traveling at “slow, no wake speed” perpendicular to the shoreline.

* You may not operate a PWC in waters less than two feet deep unless you are operating at “slow, no wake speed” or are docking or launching your PWC.

* It is illegal to harass wildlife or disturb aquatic vegetation with your PWC.

Sharing the fun of your personal watercraft (PWC) with friends is all part of the boating experience. Before you share your PWC, however, make sure that others you allow to operate it understand their responsibilities as an operator. They need to know that they have the same responsibilities as any other vessel operator, including obeying the navigation rules

Observer on PWC facing backward to watch wakeboarder

Requirements for Towing Skiers

* Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device must have a person, in addition to the vessel operator, observing the towed person(s) at all times.

* It is illegal to tow persons on water skis, surfboards, or any device of this type between:

o One hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise if towed behind a boat

o One hour before sunset and 8:00 a.m. if towed behind a PWC

* Persons being towed must stay at least 100 feet away from:

o A shoreline (if operating in water less than three feet deep)

o Any moored or anchored vessel

o A dock or raft

o Any marked swimming area or person(s) in the water

* Those being towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs may not be used.

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