White Lake Citizens League

Boating Safety & Regulations

Immediately report serious incidents or dangerous activity on the lake by calling the Oakland County Sheriff Dispatcher at 248.858.4950 or by calling 9-1-1

The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities


Boaters on White Lake are encouraged to read and follow The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities, which contains information about the regulations enforced by the Sheriff Marine Unit, as well as valuable information about safe boating practices.

Download a free .pdf copy of the latest Handbook and keep it on your smart phone for quick reference!

Commonly Referenced Sections:

Alcohol and Drugs: Michigan law prohibits anyone from boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also unlawful for the owner of a vessel to allow anyone else to operate their vessel if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Counterclockwise Direction: Improper direction is defined as the failure to operate in a counterclockwise direction except in areas marked by well-defined channels or rivers.

Improper Distance: Improper distance is not maintaining a proper distance while operating a vessel or towing a person. To maintain a proper distance when you are operating at greater than "slow, no wake speed", the vessel or persons being towed must not be within 100 feet of:

  • A shoreline
  • Any moored or anchored vessel
  • A dock or raft
  • Any marked swimming area or person(s) in the water

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs): All vessels must be equipped with a personal flotation device for each person on board or being towed. Michigan law requires all children under 6 years of age to wear PFD when riding on the open deck of any vessel while underway.

Riding on the Bow, Gunales, or Transom: While operating at greater than "slow, no wake speed", persons on a vessel may not sit, stand, or walk on any portion of a vessel not designed for that purpose.

Speed Limit: It is illegal to operate a vessel in excess of 55 mph or faster than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions (weather, vessel traffic, etc.).

Who May Operate a Boat

Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Requirements Specific to PWCs

Requirements for Towing Skiers

Mufflers and Noise Level Limits

Boating Safety Certificate


Boaters born after June 30, 1996 and PWC operators born after December 31, 1978 must have a boater education card (boating safety certificate) to operate on state waters.

The boating safety class is offered online ($29.50) or through the Oakland County Sheriff (free - 7 hours of classroom training).