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It's the Law

Legal Requirements for Trailers


Michigan has specific requirements for boat trailers.

Trailers must be licensed and registered.

If the gross weight of the vessel and trailer exceeds 3,000 pounds, the trailer must be equipped with brakes.

Trailers must have proper lighting, including turn signals, taillights, and brake lights. All trailer lights must be maintained in an operable condition—same as when the trailer was manufactured.

All towing vehicles must be connected to the trailer by a safety chain or cable of sufficient strength to maintain connection under all conditions.

All aquatic plants must be removed from trailers, watercraft, and equipment before launching watercraft.

Crisscross the safety chains
Two strong safety chains should be crisscrossed to support the trailer's coupler if it becomes disconnected from the towing vehicle. The chains should be strong enough to hold the combined weight of the vessel, engine, and trailer.

For further information, contact the Michigan Secretary of State at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424), call one of the branch offices or visit www.michigan.gov/sos.