Boating Laws

Please obey all Hutchins Lake and State of Michigan boating laws to keep everyone safe, protect the health of the lake, and maximize the enjoyment of the lake for all.

Top 5 Hutchins Lake Boating Laws

  1. Slow no wake from 7:30 PM to 11:00 AM.

  2. Slow no wake within 100 feet of any shoreline, vessel, dock, raft, or person(s) in the water.

  3. All vessels must travel in a counterclockwise direction.

  4. All powered vessels must give right-of-way to unpowered vessels.

  5. Every vessel towing a person(s) on skis, boards, tubes, etc. must have a competent person on board, in addition to the vessel operator, observing the towed person(s) at all times.

Please report violations to the Allegan County Sheriff Dispatch at 269-673-3899.

Wake Boat Best Practices

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) conducted an in-depth study that concluded that operating wake boats in a manner that creates large waves can lead to loss of habitat, resulting in the decline of aquatic ecosystems and angling opportunity.

The MDNR concluded that these concerns can be mitigated by following these voluntary wake boat best practices:

  1. Operate at least 500 feet from docks or the shoreline, regardless of water depth when operating in wake-surfing or wake-boarding modes during which boat speed, wave shapers, and/or ballast are used to increase wave height

  2. Operate in water at least 15 feet deep when operating in wake-surfing or wake-boarding modes

  3. Completely drain ballast tanks prior to transporting the watercraft over land

The pictured map shows the recommended wake boat operational area for Hutchins Lake based on the MDNR recommendations.  The area in white indicates the area for full wake operation, while the area in blue should be avoided if in full wake mode.

To learn more about the effects of wake boats on aquatic habitat and what you can do to protect Hutchins Lake, visit the Hutchins Lake Wake Boat Best Practices page.

The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The handbook introduces you to Michigan laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation.

Official Michigan Boating Safety Course Online

Take the Michigan–approved course to complete your online boating safety education. Boat-ed is a delegated provider for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Do you need a Boating License in Michigan?

Any motorized boat operator born after June 30, 1996, is required by law to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card. In addition, boater education is also required for all PWC operators born after December 31, 1978.

There is no minimum age requirement to take the online course.  You do not have to be a resident of Michigan to take the online course.

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