Life Jacket Laws

The Coast Guard requires that all boats less than 16 ft. in length (including canoes and kayaks) carry one approved Type I, II, III or IV personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board. Boats less than 16 feet in length which are operated on the Great Lakes or connecting waterways are required to carry at least one Type I, II or III life jacket for each person.

Vessels 16 feet in length or greater are also required to carry one Type IV PFD on board. Canoes and kayaks greater than 16 ft. in length are exempt from this requirement.

Children’s Life Jacket Law

In Michigan, boat passengers 6 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I or Type II life jacket when on the open deck of any boat, while the boat is underway.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) Life Jacket Law

Any person operating or riding on a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II or III life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are not permitted.

Towed Sports Life Jacket Law

Any person being towed behind any boat is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II or III life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are not permitted.

Michigan’s Muffler and Noise Level Laws

It is illegal to operate a motorized boat that has not been equipped and maintained with an effective muffler or underwater exhaust system.

The muffler or underwater exhaust system must prevent noise levels in excess of the following:

  • 90 dB(a) when subjected to a stationary sound level test as prescribed by SAE J2005.
  • 75 dB(A) when subjected to a shoreline sound level measurement procedure as described by SAE J1970.
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