Michigan safe and clean boating – Tips for people new to boating

Being a knowledgeable boater can help you stay safe and protect Michigan’s water resources, but some may not know where to start.

When it comes to water, some may be hesitant and some may jump right in, but new (and experienced) boaters should equip themselves with knowledge so they have a safe, clean, and fun boating experience. Boating is one of the major recreational activities Michigan is known for, and being a safe and clean boater in Michigan means enjoying our natural resources responsibly. Whether you just bought a boat, or are thinking of buying one, there are activities you can participate in to gain valuable knowledge on boating safety and boating practices that protect the environment.

Completion of a certified boater safety class is a great way to learn the different aspects of boating, and it is required for people who operate boats in Michigan if they were born after December 31, 1978. These courses cover the different parts and functions of a boat, boat handling, emergency preparedness, and the federal and state laws that influence boating depending on whether you are operating the boat on inland waters or on the Great Lakes. In addition to protecting lives, these laws are designed to protect Michigan’s waters and shoreline habitat from hazards like petroleum and sewage pollution, and preventing the spread of aquatic non-native species. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a list of resources available to boaters, as well as links to boater safety courses that are approved by the Michigan DNR either through certified individuals, through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, or even online.

For those who have not yet decided to get into boating, there are additional ways to familiarize yourself with this great recreational activity. Renting a boat or finding a friend with a boat is a great way to see if you are interested in become a Michigan boater. There are numerous boat shows around the state, that are put on throughout the year, that can help people decide just what kind of boat would best suit them.  The Detroit Boat Show will be held at the Cobo Center February 16-24,2013 and is hosting a Michigan Clean Marina booth manned by Josh Gunn, Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension Educator. The Michigan Clean Marina Program is a private-public partnership between Michigan Boating Industries Association, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Michigan Sea Grant. Michigan Sea Grant, which is a cooperative program between Michigan State University and University of Michigan, will have several resources available at the booth for boaters who want to learn what they can do to reduce water pollution and become better environmental stewards of Michigan’s waters and Great Lakes.

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