Money saving tips for your spring boating checklist

Adding two important things to your spring boating check list can save you time, money and headaches.

By, Nicki Polan, Executive Director Michigan Boating Industries Association 

Even though I am grateful for this year’s snow and ice because they are going to further improve our water levels, I’m still very happy to see it all go.  Clearing the deck of snow was number one on my spring check list to start preparing for warmer weather.  It is done!  Choosing our boat launch day is usually number two.  With water level predictions up and warmer weather on the way, I hope to get through our check list quickly.  Despite my rush to start the summer fun, I’ve added two new items because we have a 13 year old son who is anxious to drive a PWC when he turns 14, because we can save some money on our boat insurance, and because I don’t want to worry about random safety inspections.  Every boater should consider these as well, as the benefits are well worth the time invested:

Fun on Lake St. Clair

Summer fun on Lake St. Clair is right around the corner!

Get a free safety inspection and become free from random boat stops for safety inspection.

On February 23, 2012, Michigan’s Public Act 62 became law and clarifies conditions under which a peace officer may stop and inspect a vessel.  The new law states that boaters who have a “Safety Check Decal” displayed on their boat are free from random stops by marine patrol boats.  Decals are available to those who voluntarily participate in a U.S. Coast Guard Safety Check.  Lake associations and marinas can arrange for free inspection days with the Coast Guard or a boater can arrange for a free inspection directly with the Coast Guard on their website:  http://www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC/.  Under the new law, a peace officer may only stop and inspect a vessel which bears a “Safety Decal” upon a reasonable suspicion that the vessel or its operator is in violation of a marine law, or is otherwise engaged in criminal activity.  This new law helps law enforcement and boaters.  

Take a Boating Safety Class to save money and better enjoy your time on the water.

The more you know, the more you will enjoy your chosen recreation.  Even though in many cases it is not required, it is a good idea for everyone to take a boating safety class.  Plus, some insurance companies offer a discount to boaters who have a certificate.  Classes are usually held at convenient locations and can be as short as six hours for the basics or several days for those who really want to take it all in.  Depending on your age and what type of watercraft you are operating, you may be required by law.  To understand who must take a boating safety class by law, and to find a class near you – go to http://michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10365_10884-37311–,00.html 

Hopefully your list is short enough to add these two steps, if they don’t already have checkmarks in your family.  Additionally, if buying a boat is on your spring check list, don’t forget to ask for a tax credit for your trade-in boat with Michigan’s new Sales Tax on the Difference Law, and if discovering boating is on your spring check list, everything you need to know can be found on at www.discoverboating.com.

See you on the water!

About the author: Nicki Polan is the Executive Director of the Michigan Boating Industries Association and a Michigan State Waterways Commissioner.  Nicki is a working mother and lifelong boater, whose family enjoys boating in both Oakland and Branch counties.  Nicki enjoys sharing information about the benefits of the boating lifestyle, legislative issues affecting the boating industry, and the incredible and diverse boating and fishing opportunities available in our Great Lakes state.

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