DNR Reminds Boaters Motorized Watercraft Prohibited In Michigan’s Boundary Waters

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds Wisconsin boaters using the Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Waters that the waters are governed by a joint agreement between Michigan and Wisconsin.

Michigan’s COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order prohibits the use of a motorboat, jet ski or similar watercraft (includes gas and electric motors) in Michigan waters for the duration of the Executive Order, which is currently set to expire at 11:59 p.m. April 30. Users of these boundary waters must pay attention to their location and follow the laws of the state they are in.

“The waters in Michigan territory are subject to that state’s laws while Wisconsin retains jurisdiction on waters within the state of Wisconsin,” said Capt. Dave Zebro, DNR Regional Conservation Warden. “This boating order is similar to when a person operates their car into Michigan, and we are subject to Michigan traffic laws.”

Silent Sports OK; No Motors in Michigan Waters

This order only applies to motorboats underway by the use of motor in Michigan waters.. Boaters are asked to keep their motor out of the water while in Michigan waters to aid law enforcement with the enforcement of this order.

“A boater can be floating on Michigan waters without the use of their motor and use non-motorized boats such as canoes, kayaks and sailboats anywhere in Michigan waters,” Zebro said.

Michigan’s Order

Under Michigan’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order, if a Wisconsin boater ventures onto the Michigan side of the Boundary Waters while underway of their motor, that boater is in violation of the Michigan order.

“This has nothing to do with boating laws. The states have an agreement that anglers can use either state’s fishing license on any part of the boundary waters,” Zebro said. “This is a situation of states having specific orders for how to operate under the COVID-19 emergency.”