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Marine Patrol

The Berrien County Sheriff's Department maintains a Marine Division with a statutory responsibility to investigate water related deaths and the enforcement of the Marine Laws.  At its disposal, the Marine Division has a fleet of various sized vessels and watercraft. 

Berrien County has 86 inland lakes and three major rivers as primary patrol responsibilities for the Sheriff's Department.  The Marine Division shares responsibilities with the U.S. Coast Guard patrolling 42 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline within our county.

For more information regarding boating in Michigan Safety visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Replacement Boater Safety Certificates can be ordered by calling:  (517) 373-3292.


BOATER SAFETY CLASS INFORMATION

The Boater Safety Class introduces its students to the structure and opeartion of watercraft. The class will cover the basic legal requirements of owning and operating watercraft, waterway safety and navigation rules.  Students who successfully pass the exam at the end of class will receive a Boating Safety Certificate. 

Who Needs to Take a Boater Safety Course?

Michigan conservation officers and Michigan county sheriffs encourage all persons operating boats in Michigan to enroll in a boating safety course.

Who May Operate a Boat

Those less than 12 years of age:

May operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 horsepower (hp) legally without restrictions.

  • May operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp but no more than 35 hp legally only if they:
    • Have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat and...
    • Are directly supervised on board by a person at least 16 years of age.
  • May not operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 35 hp legally under any conditions.

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.

Those born before July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally without restrictions.

Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Those less than 14 years of age may not legally operate a PWC.

Those 14 and 15 years of age may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate and...

  • He or she is accompanied on board by his or her parent or legal guardian or by a person as least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian or...
  • He or she is operating or riding the PWC at a distance of not more than 100 feet from his or her parent or legal guardian or from a person at least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian.

Those at least 16 years of age and born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.

Those born on or before December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions

Michigan DNR now offers two online boating safety classes and exam through BoatEd.com and BoaterExam.com.  Can be taken at your leisure. Students log on and take the Michigan course, pass it, then print a certificate. No need to contact the Sheriff's Department to take the proctored exam!

2014 Boater Safety Class Schedule

June 29th - BCSD Stover Training Facility, Coloma (cancelled due to lack of enrollment)

July 19th - Buchanan Twp. Fire Dept. (cancelled due to lack of enrollment)

August 10th - location pending

Pre-registration required. Email legal name, date of birth, contact phone # to:  marinediv@berriencounty.org. Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation with detailed information. Class times are 9:30am - 3:00pm.  Open to students 12 years and up. You will be asked to bring a sack lunch and a #2 pencil.

Duplicate Boating Safety Certificate

If you have previously completed a Michigan Boater Safety Class and your original certificate has been lost or misplaced, you can request a duplicate by filling out a form at https://secure1.state.mi.us/dupcertrequest. You may also apply for a duplicate certificate by mail or phone (517) 373-3292. There is no charge for this service.

 

 

BCSD
919 Port Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 983-7141
BCSD Niles Substation
1205 N. Front Street
Niles, MI 49120
(269) 684-5274
BCSD Watervliet Twp Substation
4959 M 140
Watervliet, MI 49098
(269) 463-5495
Deputies may be on patrol
Four Winds Substation
19279 Kinst Road
New Buffalo, MI 49117
(269) 756-9571 ext. 7603
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