MSA Star Kalkaska Sheriff Office
Marine Patrol


Marine Patrol

During the summer Marine Officers Gary Owen and James Bixby , who have been certified for Marine Patrol. Patrol most of the lakes in Kalkaska County. If a lake has an access, they try to patrol it.

Our Marine Officers enforce state and local laws established to help everyone safely enjoy the waterways. That enforcement may include routine safety inspections, warnings, tickets, and arrest for Marine Law violations. Violations range from improper registration to operating a vessel while intoxicated. Most commonly, they see people missing important safety equipment like personal flotation devices (life jackets) and people operating watercraft in an unsafe manner.

It is the responsibility of the vessel operator to know and obey the Marine Laws. We have Boaters Safety Guides and classes available to assist those interested.


A new Michigan law relating to Personal Watercraft took effect in 1999. The following list highlights the major provisions under this law. All other laws/rules remain the same. No one under 14 may operate a PWC. (Those who are 12 - 14 years of age before January 1, 1999, and have their Boaters Safety Certificate before that date, may operate a PWC but MUST have their certificate with them.) No one born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC without a Boaters Safety Certificate. The owner or person in charge of the PWC shall not allow anyone to violate this section. Does not apply to Non-Michigan residents until January 1, 2000.

Anyone, 12 or older, on or towed by a PWC must wear a Type 1, 2, or 3 Personal Floatation Device (PFD).

Anyone under 12 on or towed by a PWC must wear a Type 1 or 2 PFD.

Operator is responsible for everyone wearing a proper PFD, not an inflatable PFD.

No one under 7 years old is allowed on or can be towed by a PWC unless a parent or guardian (or their designee) is on board.

If the PWC is equipped with a lanyard (safety cut-off switch), it must be properly attached.

No operation of a PWC between one hour before official sunset and 8:00 a.m.

No crossing within 150 feet behind another vessel, other than another PWC, unless at slow, no-wake speed. 

No operating a PWC in water less than 2-feet deep, unless at no-wake speed or docking/launching.


Marine PatrolWeaving through congested traffic.

Jumping the wake of a vessel unreasonably close or when visibility is obstructed.

Waiting until the last possible moment to swerve to avoid a collision.

Operating a PWC with more persons on board than it was designed to carry.

Over 55 mph closer than one mile from shore.

On the Great Lakes, you must be at least 200 feet from shore, unless traveling perpendicular to the shoreline at no-wake speed.

PWC must stay at least 100 feet away from docks, rafts, swimming areas, persons in the water, moored, anchored, or drifting vessels, unless at slow, no-wake speed.

Note: To take the Michigan Online Boating Safety Course and Exam. .

Note: The handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities .

  /*********************************************** CREDIT for the Scripts used here goes to: Dynamic Drive CSS Library. Visit for these scripts and 100s more. ***********************************************/