Marine Safety Unit


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Fax: 1-231-256-8611
Toll Free: 1-877-256-6911

Responsibilities of Marine Safety Deputies:

  • Enforce State of Michigan Boating Laws as well as Special Local Watercraft Controls.
  • Patrol the Lake Michigan shoreline from Empire to Traverse City, including both Manitou Islands and both Fox Islands. Offshore County waters: 2,154.74 sq. mi.
  • Patrol of the 5 inland lakes of Leelanau County.
  • Patrol Sanctioned Marine Events – numbering from 18 to 20 per year.
  • Investigate marine-related incidents.
  • Recover lost and/or abandoned watercraft.
  • Remove navigation obstructions.
  • Assist distressed boaters and tow when necessary.
  • Investigate boating accidents and complete reports for the Sheriff’s Office and the State of Michigan.
  • Perform Basic First Aid.
  • Conduct vessel safety checks.
  • Teach Boater Safety Classes and award Boater Safety Certificates.
  • Conduct boat livery Inspections of rental boats at a minimum of 24 boat livery locations.
  • Responsible for maintenance and storage of 5 vessels and 2 vehicles.
  • Assist the United States Coast Guard with Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue Operations.
  • Assist local Fire and Rescue Units with Search and Rescue Operations.
  • Assist the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Dive Team in Underwater Recovery operations.
  • Provide transportation for LCSO Maritime Security Team.
  • Assist the DNR and neighboring law enforcement agencies with Marine Law Enforcement Activities.
  • Support the National Park Service with offshore Search and Rescue Operations.
  • Member of both Sector Sault Ste. Marie and Sector Lake Michigan Area Maritime Security Committees.

Who May Operate a Boat?
Those born on or after July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally only if they have been issued a Boating Safety Certificate and have it on board the boat.

Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft?
Persons at least 16 years of age and those born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a Boating Safety Certificate and have it on board the PWC.

If you have misplaced your Boating Safety Certificate, you may request a duplicate by following this link:

Additional Resources: (both also have Facebook presence)

Official Online Michigan Boating Safety Course:


  • Leland Twp Harbor                           231-256-9132
  • Elmwood Twp Marina                        231-946-5463
  • G. Marsten Dame Marina, Northport    231-386-5411
  • Suttons Bay Village Marina                 231-271-6703


Tow BoatUS                    989-944-3483
Traverse Dockside Marine 231-357-7250

This page last updated on 2/23/2021.

Pic onePic twoPic threeEvents 2019

October 12

Lake Leelanau Rowing Club Regatta