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

Wisconsin's Water Recreation Enthusiasts Should Honor Laws Of Appropriate State

Michigan's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order prohibits the use of a motorboat, jet ski or similar watercraft in Michigan waters, including Wisconsin boundary waters.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Capt. Dave Zebro, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement David.Zebro@wisconsin.gov or 715-645-0055 Joanne Haas, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement joanne.haas@wisconsin.gov or 608-209-8147

April 17, 2020 at 2:13:01 pm

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Michigan updated its Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order on April 24 to now allow the use of motor boats on waters of the state. https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-526896--,00.html]

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."

Last Revised: Friday, April 17, 2020

Contact information

Need an expert? Contact the Office of Communications.

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email DNRPress@Wisconsin.gov and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.