Marine Division / ORV

The Marine Division patrols all 50 of the inland waters during the summer months. The Marine Division handles search and rescues and recoveries in Clare County. The Division also teaches young people how to become safe boat operators. Classes are held during the weekends of May and June Sergeant Bill Larson with the help of three seasonal deputies, promotes boater’s safety to make Clare County waters enjoyable for everyone.

Boater safety booklets can be picked up at the Sheriff’s Office for Clare County Residents only. Check you local Sheriff’s Office for a test booklet and testing procedures. A written test is included with each book and can be returned for grading. Upon successfully completing the written test, a boaters safety certificate is issued. Certificates are needed for children 12 or older for motor boats and 14 or older for personal watercraft.


 Personal Watercraft Laws


A person who is 12 or more and less than 14 years of age may use a PWC on the waters of this state if all of the following circumstances exists:

The person is accompanied solely by the person’s parent or legal guardian.
Both the person the parent or legal guardian have obtained a boating safety certificate.

The PWC is equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type cutoff switch, and the parent or legal guardian has the lanyard attached to his or her person, clothing, or personal flotation device.
The PWC is designed to carry not less than 2 persons.

 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.

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 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.

The following are considered Reckless Operation:
Weaving 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.

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

 ORV Ordinance 

Clare County Ordinance #22