Sheriff Department

Recreational Safety Programs

Michigan now offers two online boating safety classes and Exam without taking a proctored exam. There is a fee for these classes and they are available at the following links:

Minimum Age for Motorboat Operators

Boaters under 16 years of age must meet certain requirements before they can legally operate a boat with a motor larger than 6 horsepower:

These requirements are:

  • Under 12 years of age - must be directly supervised by someone 16 years old or older. The Boat must not have a power motor totaling more than 35 horse power.
  • 12-16 years of age - must possess a boating safety course certificate or be directly supervised by someone at least 16 years of age.
  • The boating safety certificate must be carried and presented upon the demand of the peace officer.

Personal Watercraft Regulations

  • A person under the age of 16 shall not operate a personal watercraft (Wave Runner and Jet Ski) in the state of Michigan.
  • A person who is 12 or more and less than 16 years of age may use a personal watercraft on the waters of the state of Michigan if all of the following circumstances exist:
    • The person is accompanied solely by the person's parent or legal guardian.

    • Both the person and the parent or legal guardian have obtained a boating safety certificate.

    • The personal watercraft is equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch and the parent of legal guardian has the lanyard attached to his or her person, clothing, or personal flotation device.

    • The personal watercraft is designed to carry not less than 2 persons.

  • Those 16 years of age or older:
    • A person born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC only if he or she has obtained a boating safety certificate.

    • Those born December 31, 1978, or earlier may operate a PWC without restrictions.

Boaters Safety Class

This is a one day class.
When: Saturday June 24, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Where: Kent County Sheriff Department - 701 Ball Ave NE Grand Rapids
This is a free class and you must be 12 years old to attend.
To Register please call 632-6237

ORV Class

This is a one day class.
When: Saturday May 6, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Where: Kent County Sheriff Department - 701 Ball Ave NE Grand Rapids
This is a free class anyone under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

Snowmobile Safety Classes

No classes are scheduled at this time.