Watercraft Ordinances


AKA: Boating control ordinances, local watercraft controls

As more development occurs around lakes and lake cottages become year-round homes, boating and other recreational activities on inland lakes will increase. In addition, the size, number and speed of watercraft have greatly increased over the years thus potentially creating a conflict between users and property owners. Local governments can work with the Department of Natural Resources to establish watercraft control ordinances to address conflict between high speed boaters, water skiers, swimmers, fisherman, and others.

Watercraft ordinances are generally adopted in accordance with provisions of Part 801 of Act 451 of 1994, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, based on an identified safety concern or problem. For example, an ordinance could set hours for water skiing, prohibit motorboats (entirely or in certain sensitive areas), or require no-wake speed. Local governments can also set limits on motorized to non-motorized watercraft ratios. For more information, contact the Michigan DNR Marine Safety Program.


Additional Reference Materials

State / OrganizationCountyResource DescriptionResource Link
MichiganStatewideNatural Resources and Environmental Proection Act 452 - Marine SafetyClick here
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc.StatewideMI Riparian Magazine Article: On Lake RegulationsClick here

Additional Ordinance Examples

MunicipalityCountyResource DescriptionResource Link
Porter TownshipCass CountyPart 50: Boating Regulation OrdinanceClick here
Lincoln TownshipClare CountyOrdinance 22: Boating RegulationsClick here
Grand Traverse CountyGrand Traverse CountyOrdinance 20: Boating ControlClick here
Glen Arbor Township Leelanau CountyOrdinance 2-94: Special Local Watercraft ControlClick here
City of Orchard Lake VillageOakland CountySection 11: Watercraft and Water Skiing OrdinanceClick here