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.
Now Accepting Applications for Marine Division:
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division will be accepting applications for the 2015 boating season. Applications will only be accepted from December 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. Must be post marked or hand delivered by December 31, 2014.
This is a temporary/seasonal position. New deputies will begin training on the weekends during March and April. Patrols will begin with the Memorial Day holiday and end with the Labor Day holiday.
Hours: Hours are based on a 40 hour work week, and is weather dependent. Deputies will be required to work weekends with holidays mandatory.
Requirements: Must be 18 years of age and out of high school at least one year prior to the start of the boating season. Must be able to pass a complete background check. Must also be able to pass a swim test. Able to work well with others. Prior boating knowledge and a mechanical aptitude is a plus.
Duties: Under the supervision of the Marine Lieutenant and/or Senior Deputy responsibilities include enforcement of the Marine Safety Act on Lake Michigan as well as the many inland lakes and rivers within Berrien County. Deputies will be responsible for proper maintenance on boats, engines, trailers and vehicles, and caring for all County issued gear and equipment.
Applications can be downloaded from the Berrien County web site at: www.berriencounty.org, or picked up from the County Administration Personnel Office located at 701 W. Main St., St. Joseph. All applications must be returned to Personnel.
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!
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.