Who Can Operate a PWC
Did You Know? 
Michigan Law Says…
 
Those less than 12 years of age:
  • May legally operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 horsepower without restrictions.
  • May legally operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp but no less than 35 hp only if they are directly supervised onboard by a person at least 16 years of age.
  • May not legally operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 35 hp under any conditions.
 Those 12 to 15 years of age:
  • May legally operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 hp without restrictions.
  • May legally operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp only if they:
  • Have passed a boating safety course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have their onboard boating safety certificate or…are accompanied onboard by a person at least 16 years of age. 
 Those 16 years of age or older:
  • May operate any boat on the waters of Michigan.
 
Who May Operate a PWC 
 
No one less than 12 years old may legally operate a PWC. 
 
A person who is 12 or more and less than 14 years of age may operate a PWC only if: 
  • He or she obtained a boating safety certificate prior to January 1, 1999 or…
  • All of the following conditions are satisfied: 
    • The person is accompanied solely by his or her parent or legal guardian.
    • Both the person and the parent or legal guardian have obtained a boating safety certificate.
    • The PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch and the parent or legal guardian has the lanyard attached to his or her person, clothing or PFD (life jacket).
    • The PWC is designed to carry at least two people.
Those 14 years of age or older:
  •  A person born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC only if he or she has obtained a boating safety certificate. 
Those born December 31, 1978, or earlier may operate a PWC without restrictions.