This page contains important boating laws and links to related web sites. All boat owners, as well as ALL boat operators, must be familiar with the information provided by the DNR, especially the Boating Laws and Responsibilities. Failure to follow some of these laws can result in serious injury or death. Help keep our lake safe for all to enjoy!

The Official Boating Handbook of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Michigan Boat Registration

See the first link above for the official MI state rules and regulations.  The most common questions (and violations) we see on the lake include:

Q: Which direction should we go around the lake?
A: When traveling point-to-point, a direct path is allowable. For all other operation, the law requires operating in a counterclockwise direction around the lake.

Q: Can I ride on the front of a pontoon boat?
A: No. It is illegal to operate a vessel at greater than "slow, no wake speed" when a person is in the bow of a vessel without proper seating. Doing this may result in a violation and/or fine.

Q: Are lights required at night?
A: Yes. Boats up to 26 ft in length require red and green sidelights and an all-around white light higher than the sidelights when underway.  Unpowered vessels are required to have a flashlight or lantern shining as a white light when underway.  Boats not underway should display the all-around white light between sunset and sunrise. (If on a waterway connected to the Great Lakes, this is a requirement.)  So YES, you can go out on your rowboat or paddleboat after dark, but have a flashlight with you!

Q: What is the speed limit on the lake during the day?  At night?
A: The state-defined speed limit is 55mph during the day or at night.
A: However -- although illegal to so do, we find that many people on Christie Lake opt to run without lights at night.  This could be due to defective equipment, a desire to see the stars, or wanting to avoid attracting bugs. Further, the requirement to display a white light when NOT underway is optional, so a boat at anchor may be dark and difficult to see.  For these reasons, we do recommend using reduced speed at night or when visibility is limited (fog, rain, etc.) on our lake, as a crash and/or death investigation is sure to ruin your summer vacation.

Q: Can my child drive my boat?
A: Under 12: 6 horsepower motor or smaller, or up to 35hp if directly supervised by a person at least 16 years of age AND having a boating safety certificate on the boat.
A: Anyone born on or after 1996 may not operate a boat of more than 6hp without a boating safety certificate.
A: Anyone born before July 1, 1996 may operate a boat without restriction.

Q: Who can operate a personal watercraft (PWC)?
A: Under 14 years of age cannot legally operate a PWC.
A: 14/15 Years: May operate a PWC if they have obtained a boating safety certificate AND a parent or guardian is on board or otherwise within 100 feet.
A: At least 16-years of age and born in 1979 or later: Only after obtaining a boating safety certificate.
A: Anyone born in 1978 or earlier may operate a PWC without restriction.

Q: What Personal floatation devices (PFDs) are required?
A: All vessels must have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD for each person on board or being towed, including one throwable device.
A: A vessel under 16 feet (including a canoe or kayak) may elect to use a throwable device for each person instead of a PFD.
A: Children under 6 years MUST wear a type I or II PFD when riding on the open deck of any vessel. (These are the ones with neck rings that will turn a child face-up in the water, and does NOT include the "vest" style.)

Q: Are there any "time limits" for using the lake?
A: It is illegal to operate a PWC between sunset (as defined by the National Weather Service) and 8:00am.
A: It is illegal to tow (tube, ski, etc.) between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.


Christie Lake Association

Connect with us: Facebook