New law bans docking boats at road ends overnight

Boaters no longer will be able to tie up overnight at spots where public roads end on lakes and other waterways under a measure signed into law Thursday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
AP Wire
Mar 23, 2012


The new law makes it a misdemeanor to place boat hoists or anchoring systems or to install a dock or wharf at road ends. Similar penalties apply to boaters who moor or dock their boats at road ends between midnight and sunrise.

Only single-season docks authorized by local government officials and approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will be allowed under the new law. Violators face a fine of up to $500 per day.

Calley also signed into law a measure taking away law enforcement officers’ ability to stop boaters and make sure they have adequate floatation devices on board. A release from the governor’s office said “repeated stops without reasonable suspicion of violation are an unnecessary hindrance for boaters.”

Anyone being towed by a boat, such as water skiers and swimmers riding tubes, will have to wear life vests under another new law. But children under the age of 12 no longer will have to wear Type 1 or Type 2 life vests that offer higher buoyancy. They’ll now be required only to wear Type 3 personal floatation devices.

Another new law changes the charge for fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers while in a boat or on a personal watercraft from a misdemeanor to a felony. That makes the penalty level equal to the one motorists face if they flee on land.

Calley also signed into law a measure that requires moored barges to be lit so other boaters can see them and to have the owner’s name and contact information marked on the side so law enforcement officers know how to reach the owner.

The lieutenant governor has taken over bill-signing duties this week while Gov. Rick Snyder is in Italy and Germany on a weeklong trade mission.


Ponsonby Britt

Where does the DEQ get off interfering with docks on a lake? Is the DEQ now going to pose as an Environmental Gestapo, running all over the state demanding this and that regarding docks? And the $500 a day fine is nothing less than governmental extortion. This law needs immediate repeal. I was under the impression that Republicans are for liberty. This is no way freedom, but restriction.

explained by...

Response to Ponsonby Britt: As always, follow the money. Republications are supported primarily by wealthy citizens. Wealthy citizens own lakefront property. Wealthy persons who own lakefront property don't want the unwashed masses behaving disruptively on road-end easements; wealthy lakefront property owners therefore support restrictions on the use of road-end easements; republications lawmakers therefore support this law to ensure that campaign contributions keep coming from wealthy lakefront property owners, even though this is at odds with the "liberty" mantra they pull out whenever it conveniently fits their position of the day. With politicians (republican or democrat or otherwise), money trumps principle in almost every circumstance.


Regardless of the inescapable fact that it’s not ours much longer it's still ours and we ask simply to be respected in the most basic of ways. -FXDD


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