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Welcome to the Best Boating Resources in the U.S. and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The State of Michigan is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes—the world's largest freshwater lakes. These Great Lakes constitute 90% of the United States' fresh surface water. Michigan has approximately 3,288 miles of Great Lakes coastline; has more than 10,000 inland lakes and ponds; and is interwoven by a 35,000-mile web of freshwater rivers, streams, and wetlands. Accordingly, Michigan leads the nation for registered boats.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources promotes the safe use and enjoyment of the bountiful waters of Michigan. Through education, regulation, and enforcement, the department hopes to ensure that boating continues to grow in safety and popularity.

Whether your interest is in fishing, sailing, hunting, canoeing, camping, or water-skiing, boating education is essential. We hope that you will practice what you learn from this handbook and pass your knowledge on to others.

To find more about recreation safety, visit our website at

Michigan Lighthouse

Stay up to date on new boating laws...

  • Call the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at 517-284-6000
  • Visit the Department of Natural Resources website at
  • Report all poaching at 1-800-292-7800