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Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

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Old 08-23-2004, 12:42 PM
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Arrow Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

I spoke to a performance boat dealer up North who said officers were giving speeding tickets to those who were boating in Lake Charlevoix lately which feeds into Lake Michigan I believe and the officers were saying that there is a speed limit of 55 mph in all lakes in the State. The officer specifically said the speed limit in Lake Michigan is also 55 MPH. So I went to work to research it not believing what I had heard.

This comes from a very good reliable source. It is the first time I have heard of such a thing and it seems questionable but believable at the same time.

I did some legal research and found this to be the law:

"Slow No-Wake" and speeding Rules

The DNR has also adopted special administrative rules for governing Great Lakes:

These areas are marked with standard and special "NO WAKE" signs for your convenience. Violations of these ordinances are misdemeanors and may be punished by a fine, not to exceed one hundred ( $ 100.00) dollars, or imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days. Speeding laws are subject to penalties equal to those of "land based laws"


Michigan Boating Laws

"The following is a small sampling of rules that apply to boats operating in Michigan waters. For any questions, please direct all questions to the Marien Safety Act, Act 303 P.A. 1967,2004 as amended.

Speed Limit - 55 MPH : On waters of this state..., a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hours is established. (MCLA 324.80146(3) and MCLA 324.80156 ammendment."

I had a paralegal do this research and the sppedlimit on "all Michigan waters" is 55 mph. We can't find out when this took place but it is being sporadically enforced with tickets, fines and points and can include reckless driving. We don't know if points are added to your record and what the fines etc. are.

Anyone have any further info??

Last edited by Hydrocruiser; 08-23-2004 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

Just curious....how is "Michigan water" defined? Are we discussing little lakes within Michigan proper? Seems to me it would be hard to draw a line in the middle of Lake Superior distinguishing Mighigan water from Canadian water.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:55 PM
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Arrow Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

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Originally Posted by Bonnie Outlaw
Just curious....how is "Michigan water" defined? Are we discussing little lakes within Michigan proper? Seems to me it would be hard to draw a line in the middle of Lake Superior distinguishing Mighigan water from Canadian water.
I wish I knew but I just talked to a Boarding Officer at the Coast guard in SCS, MI and he knew of no such speed laws but the 600 ft from shore no wake zones are enforced and the 200 feet from the banks of the St Clair river no wake are enforced.

I don't know what to make of it all. My boat only goes 60 MPH so I am not worried.

Last edited by Hydrocruiser; 08-23-2004 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

I *believe* that Michigan is under the control of the coast guard. Last I knew, the coasties wern't too concerned with speed enforcement. Wisconsin may be different than Michigan, but here the speed limits are set locally. They may have to petition the state for the limit, I don't know, but I know that it's set locally.
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:03 PM
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Arrow Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

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Originally Posted by Cord
I *believe* that Michigan is under the control of the coast guard. Last I knew, the coasties wern't too concerned with speed enforcement. Wisconsin may be different than Michigan, but here the speed limits are set locally. They may have to petition the state for the limit, I don't know, but I know that it's set locally.

I think bodies of water that are small fall into a different category of laws and enforcement based on each specific body of water and are different than this situation in Upper Michigan. Another Coast Guard Officer said that there is a lobby effort to curtail speeds across the country due to the recent rise in speed related accidents. That we probably could have guessed was coming.

It is truly amazing at how much the speed-boat market in Michigan has declined. We have only a very few dealers who only sell a few boats now per season. I never thought I would see the day! A lot more mid-performance boats that go 40-50 MPH are seen along with many new cruisers. When I was out all day on the St. Clair river I saw one 30' performance boat and about 500 Sea Rays and similiar cruisers.

Looks like the offshore market has moved down South?

Last edited by Hydrocruiser; 08-23-2004 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

This is the case on the inland lake in southwest Michigan that I occasionally visit and do a lot of jet skiing on. However, some moron has a 29 Scarab w/twin 502s on that lake (its only 1000 acres), boat runs in the 70s (and DOES it all freakin day). I've never seen him pinched, plus there's a lot of personal watercraft that will easily exceed 55 and they don't seem to be hassled either. Probably just an officer with a bug up his a$$.
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

This is what the DNR handbook for michigan says:

Failure to Regulate Speed is operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger to life or property of any other person or speeds that will not permit you to bring your vessel to a safe stop. It is illegal to operate a vessel:

In excess of 55 mph except if at least one mile offshore of the Great Lakes or Lake St. Clair.
At greater than slow-no wake speed if any person is in the bow of a vessel without proper seating.
Faster than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions (weather, vessel traffic, etc.).
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

Thanks ofshore....I suspected there would be a different set of rules for the great lakes.
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofshore
This is what the DNR handbook for michigan says:

Failure to Regulate Speed is operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger to life or property of any other person or speeds that will not permit you to bring your vessel to a safe stop. It is illegal to operate a vessel:

In excess of 55 mph except if at least one mile offshore of the Great Lakes or Lake St. Clair.
At greater than slow-no wake speed if any person is in the bow of a vessel without proper seating.
Faster than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions (weather, vessel traffic, etc.).
So Lake Charlevoix must qualify as a seperate body of water. Now the question is; why are Coast Guard officers telling boaters up North that Lake Michigan has a speedlimit.?
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Old 08-23-2004, 03:39 PM
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Arrow Re: Boat speeding tickets in Michigan

"Failure to Regulate Speed"- is operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger to life or property of any other person or speeds that will not permit you to bring your vessel to a safe stop.

That is quite a bit of lattitude. You could be out there with a guy in a fishing boat 20 miles out you can't have known about and get a ticket if caught due to a possible "near miss" or even worse slam into it.

"Failure to regulate speed" is an invitation for a legal nightmare if something ever happens. Every state has a version of this law. If you are caught between the nads on this you could be building your lawyer a new "wing" onto his house and neighbor's at that in legal fees alone. No matter what you do to defend a client most non-speed boaters think anything over 60 MPH is too fast.

Last edited by Hydrocruiser; 08-23-2004 at 03:42 PM.
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