DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES  
LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION  
VESSELS CARRYING PASSENGERS FOR HIRE  
(By authority conferred on the department of natural resources by section 44504 of  
1994 PA 451, MCL 324.44504)  
PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS  
R 281.3101 Definitions.  
Rule 101. As used in these rules:  
(a) "Act" means 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.44501 to 324.44526.  
(b) "Auxiliary engine" means any other engine or motor carried or used onboard a  
vessel, other than the main propulsion engines.  
(c) "Class A vessel" means a vessel, except for a sailboat carrying 6 or fewer  
passengers for hire, on navigable waters.  
(d) "Class B vessel" means a vessel, except for a sailboat carrying 6 or fewer  
passengers for hire, on inland waters.  
(e) "Class C vessel" means a vessel, except for a sailboat carrying more than 6  
passengers for hire, on inland waters.  
(f) "Class D vessel" means a vessel which is propelled primarily by sails and which  
carries 6 or fewer passengers for hire on navigable waters or carries passengers for hire  
on inland waters.  
(g) "Daytime" means 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset, where the actual  
times of sunrise and sunset are determined by the United States weather bureau. Times  
shall be local prevailing time.  
(h) "Deck rails" means a guard structure at the outer edge of a vessel deck  
consisting of vertical solid or tubular posts and horizontal courses made of metal tubing,  
wood, cable, rope, or other suitable material.  
(i) "Department" means the department of natural resources.  
(j) "Dockside inspection" means an examination of a vessel when the vessel is  
moored alongside a dock and afloat in the water so that all of the exterior above the  
waterline and the interior of the vessel may be examined.  
(k) "Drydock inspection" means an examination of a vessel when the vessel is out  
of the water and supported so that all of the exterior and interior of the vessel may be  
examined.  
(l) "Flexible vibration hose" means nonrigid tubing which is noncombustible or  
self-extinguishing and which is not affected by the motion of the vessel or the machinery  
to which it is connected or attached.  
Page 1  
(m) "General maintenance" means drydocking or hauling out of a vessel for  
painting or cleaning the hull and rudder, or the changing of a propeller, propeller shaft,  
and associated bearings.  
(n) "Good marine practice and standards" means those methods and ways of  
maintaining, operating, equipping, repairing, and restructuring vessels as determined by  
the marine inspector. The marine inspector shall use commonly accepted standards,  
including 46 C.F.R. SS1.01 to 552.5, the standards of the American boat and yacht  
council, and the standards of the boating industry association as sources of reference in  
making such determinations.  
(o) "Inland waters" means all waters of the state, except navigable waters.  
(p) "Marine inspector" means a department marine safety officer, conservation  
officer, or other person employed by the department and trained in vessel inspection and  
operator testing procedures.  
(q) "Navigable waters" means those waters of the state over which the state of  
Michigan and the United States coast guard exercise joint jurisdiction, including the  
Great Lakes and waters connected thereto, to the upstream limit of navigation as  
determined by the United States department of the army, corps of engineers.  
(r) "Nighttime" means 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise where actual  
times of sunrise and sunset are determined by the United States weather bureau. Time  
shall be local prevailing time.  
(s) "Open boat" means a vessel, either with or without engines or motors, which has  
its engine, fuel tank compartments, and other spaces, except weather enclosures, open to  
the atmosphere and arranged to prevent or preclude the entrapment of explosive or  
flammable gases and vapors within the vessel.  
(t) "Owner" means a person who claims lawful possession of a vessel by virtue of  
legal title or equitable interest therein which entitles him or her to possession. "Owner"  
also means a person acting on the behalf of the owner in all matters concerning the  
vessel.  
(u) "Personal flotation device" means a United States coast guard-approved  
lifesaving device.  
(v) "Ring life buoy" means a United States coast guard-approved round or horse  
collar type IV throwable personal flotation device.  
(w) "Suitable" means that the marine inspector has determined that an item is in  
keeping with good marine practice and standards.  
(x) "Weather deck" means those portions of the foredeck and afterdeck which are  
open and exposed to the weather.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3102 Applicability.  
Rule 102. (1) These rules do not apply to vessels required to be inspected by  
the United States coast guard, under 46 C.F.R. SS175.01 to 187.30, for the purposes  
of carrying passengers for hire.  
(2) These rules shall apply to all other vessels, as defined in the act, carrying  
passengers for hire on waters of the state.  
Page 2  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3103 Drydock inspection.  
Rule 103. (1) All vessels carrying passengers for hire shall pass an initial  
drydock inspection conducted by a marine inspector. Thereafter, a vessel shall pass a  
drydock inspection when the department has reasonable cause to believe it necessary  
or at intervals not to exceed 60 months.  
(2) Before an inspection, the owner of a vessel shall remove or effectively  
store all associated equipment, including fishing gear, coolers, and personal  
belongings onboard the vessel, which will impede the inspection process.  
(3) The owner of a vessel shall open or remove all hatches and inspection  
ports before or during an inspection and shall have the vessel in a reasonably clean and  
orderly condition.  
(4) To determine that a vessel is seaworthy and in good and serviceable condition,  
the owner of a vessel shall permit the marine inspector to inspect the entire interior  
and exterior of the vessel, including all of the following:  
(a) The hull and appendages.  
(b) Propellers.  
(c) Shafting.  
(d) Stern bearings.  
(e) Rudders.  
(f) Through-hull fittings.  
(g) Sea valves.  
(h) Strainers.  
(i) Outdrive units.  
(j) Outboard lower units.  
(5) When the marine inspector has reasonable cause to believe  
that  
the  
seaworthiness or the sound structure of the vessel may be impaired, the owner of the  
vessel may be required to remove sections or portions of the lining, decking, ceiling, or  
other obstructions that may obscure any part of the vessel so that the seaworthiness or  
sound structure may be determined.  
(6) When through-hull fittings are present below the waterline they shall be  
fitted with a readily accessible shutoff valve. The shutoff valve shall be located as close  
to the through-hull fitting as possible and be in good and serviceable condition. This  
subrule shall not be construed to conflict with Act No. 167 of the Public Acts of 1970,  
as amended, being S323.331 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and known  
as the watercraft pollution control act of 1970.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3104 Main engines.  
Rule 104. (1) Each vessel designed for inboard or inboard/outboard (stern  
drive) main engines shall be fitted with the appropriate number of engines.  
(2) All main engines shall be of the appropriate type and design for the propulsion  
requirements of the hull in which they are installed, shall be capable of operating at a  
Page 3  
constant marine load without exceeding their design limitations, and shall be in good  
and serviceable condition.  
(3) The head, block, and exhaust manifold of any main engine shall be  
waterjacketed and cooled by water from a pump which operates when the engine  
operates, except for drystack exhaust systems.  
(4) When a main engine is fitted with an updraft or sidedraft carburetor, the  
carburetors shall have integral or properly connected drip collectors of adequate  
capacity which will return all drip and overflow to the engine intake manifold.  
(5) The exhaust pipe system of the main engines shall comply with all of the  
following provisions:  
(a) Be gastight to the hull interior.  
(b) Be designed and installed to prevent cooling water or seawater from returning  
to the engines.  
(c) Be so accessible that it can be inspected and repaired throughout its length.  
(d) Be supported so as to prevent undue stress which may cause fractures.  
Hangers, brackets, and other supporting components shall be made of fireproof  
materials and shall be installed so as to prevent the transmission of heat to adjacent  
combustible materials.  
(e) Where personnel or combustibles might come in contact with hot  
surfaces, effective protection shall be provided by water jacketing,  
lagging, shielding, or suitable guards.  
(6) Outboard engines on vessels designed for utilizing outboard engines as main  
engines shall be in good and serviceable condition.  
(7) Vessels utilizing unique or unusual machinery as main engines shall be given  
separate consideration and shall be subject to requirements as determined by the  
marine inspector after consultation with the state boating law administrator. The  
requirements shall be in keeping with good marine practice and standards. These  
unique or unusual types of machinery shall include those utilizing steam, electricity,  
gas turbines, air screws, and hydraulic jets.  
(8) When auxiliary engines are installed on a vessel, they shall be installed in  
accordance with good marine practice and standards and shall be in good and serviceable  
condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3105 Rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3106 Rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3107 Fixed fuel tank systems.  
Page 4  
Rule 107. (1) A fixed fuel tank on a vessel shall be installed as follows:  
(a) To permit examination with minimum disturbance to the hull structure.  
(b) With adequate support and bracing to prevent movement. The supports and  
braces shall be insulated from contact with the tank surfaces with a nonabrasive and  
nonabsorbant material.  
(c) With openings for fill and vent pipes and for fuel level gauges, where used,  
on the topmost surfaces of the tank. The tank shall not have openings in the bottom,  
sides, or ends, except that an opening fitted with a threaded plug or cap may be used for  
cleaning the tank.  
(d) On fuel tanks for diesel fuel, the opening for the fuel supply piping is not  
restricted to the top of the tank.  
(2) Fixed fuel tank piping shall be installed as follows:  
(a) Fuel supply lines to the engines shall be tubing of copper, nickel-copper,  
steel, or United States coast guard-approved type A flexible fuel line. Fuel supply  
lines shall run as direct as practicable, shall be accessible, and shall be supported in a  
suitable manner. They shall have a readily accessible, manually operated, in-line  
shutoff valve installed as close to the fuel tank as practicable. They shall be  
protected in a suitable manner from mechanical injury at all supports and where they  
pass through bulkheads and structural members.  
(b) Metal fuel supply lines shall be fitted with flexible vibration hose as close to the  
engine as practicable.  
(c) A filling pipe shall be fitted to the highest point of the fuel tank and shall have  
an inside diameter of not less than 1 1/4 inches.  
(d) A fuel tank shall be fitted with a marine-type fuel gauge or a sounding pipe  
if sounding cannot be accomplished through the filling pipe.  
(e) A filling or sounding pipe shall be arranged so that overflow of liquid or  
vapor cannot escape to the inside of the vessel.  
(f) A fuel tank shall be fitted with a vent pipe connected at the highest point of  
the tank, shall have an inside diameter of not less than 7/16 of an inch, and shall  
terminate on the hull exterior as far as practicable from any hull openings and  
below deck spaces.  
The  
vent  
pipe shall be installed to prevent accidental  
contamination of the fuel by water and shall be fitted with a removable flame screen  
at its point of termination.  
(g) Devices in fuel lines for drawing fuel below decks for any purpose are  
prohibited.  
(h) All accessories installed in the fuel line shall be supported in a suitable  
manner.  
(3) The owner or operator of a vessel shall maintain the entire fuel system and  
accessories in good and serviceable condition.  
(4) The owner or operator of a vessel with a fixed fuel system shall not carry fuel  
onboard the vessel outside of the fixed fuel system, unless the fuel is carried in  
conjunction with an auxiliary outboard engine. When fuel is carried, it shall be in  
portable fuel tanks as provided by manufacturers of outboard engines and shall be  
safely secured outside of the engine or living compartment.  
(5) During fueling operations, smoking aboard the vessel by any person is  
prohibited.  
Page 5  
(6) The operator of a vessel shall not allow passengers onboard the vessel while  
taking on fuel.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3108 Fixed fuel system grounding.  
Rule 108. (1) A fixed fuel system shall be grounded by 1 or more of the following  
methods:  
(a) By electrical connection to a common ground.  
(b) By welding or bolting to a metal bulkhead of a metal hull vessel.  
(c) By electrical connection to the rudder, struts, or metal grounding plate.  
(2) Where flexible vibration hose is installed, metal grounding straps or wires shall  
be used to maintain ground continuity.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3109 Portable fuel systems.  
Rule 109. (1) The operator of a vessel with a portable fuel system shall carry fuel  
onboard in approved portable fuel tanks.  
(2) Portable fuel tanks shall be secured in a suitable manner to prevent shifting  
while underway. Sufficient lengths of approved flexible fuel lines shall be provided  
so that the farthest fuel tank from the engine can be reached without removing the tank  
from its secured location.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3110 Electrical systems.  
Rule 110. (1) All electrical systems on a vessel shall be safe and fit for the  
service intended, shall be in proper operating condition, and shall have a suitable  
electrical grounding system.  
(2) Electrical wiring shall be routed as high as possible above the bilges, shall  
be supported in a suitable manner with nonabrasive fasteners to structural members of  
the vessel, and shall be protected against chafing where passing through  
bulkheads or other structural members.Fasteners and protective devices shall not be  
capable of causing damage to the wiring.  
(3) Any electrical storage battery or batteries shall be compatible with its attendant  
electrical system.  
(4) A battery shall be located so that gas generated in charging is dissipated by  
natural or mechanical ventilation.  
(5) A battery shall be accessibly located, provided with suitable supports, and  
secured against shifting with the motion of the vessel.  
(6) A battery shall be located in a liquid-tight tray or box of adequate capacity to  
retain normal spillage or boilover of the electrolyte. The tray or box shall be  
Page 6  
constructed of, or lined with, suitable materials resistant to deterioration by the  
electrolyte.  
(7) A nonconductive, perforated cover or other suitable means shall be provided  
to prevent accidental shorting of the battery terminals.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3111 Electrical equipment.  
Rule 111. (1) Permanently installed electrical appliances, equipment, and  
fixtures used on a vessel shall be designed so that the current-carrying parts of  
the device are effectively insulated from exposed metal parts by an electrical  
insulating material suitable for use in damp or wet locations.  
(2) All permanently installed electrical appliances, equipment, and fixtures  
shall be properly connected to the vessel's electrical grounding system.  
(3) All electrical appliances, equipment, and fixtures installed or used in machinery  
spaces or other areas where flammable vapors may be present shall be designed,  
enclosed, or protected to prevent ignition of flammable vapors.  
(4) Switches, circuit breakers, and fuse boxes or blocks used on a vessel shall  
be approved by underwriters laboratories for marine use, where available, or shall be  
a type commonly manufactured for use on vessels. These devices shall have  
suitable protection to prevent accidental shorting.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3112 Bilge pumps and bailing devices.  
Rule 112. (1) A vessel constructed with bilges or enclosed spaces below decks  
shall be fitted with not less than 2 electrically operated bilge pumps located in a  
manner that will assure that all bilge areas can be pumped. The bilge pumps shall be  
in good and serviceable condition.  
(2) Each bilge pump shall be equipped with either an indicator light which  
activates when the bilge pump is operating or with an  
alarm  
system that is  
automatically activated when an excessive amount of water accumulates in the  
bilges.  
(3) Bilge pump indicator lights shall be located at the helm position used most  
often and as close to the bilge pump switch as practicable. Bilge pump indicator lights  
and bilge water alarm systems shall be in good and serviceable condition.  
(4) All vessels shall be equipped with a manually operated bailing device.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3113 Vessel passenger capacity; determination.  
Rule 113. (1) On vessels that do not have or are not required to have a vessel  
capacity plate, the maximum passenger capacity shall be determined by applying any 1 of  
the following criteria which results in the allowance of the greatest number of passengers.  
Page 7  
(a) One passenger per 30 inches of rail space available to passengers at the vessel's  
sides and across the transom.  
(b) One passenger per 10 square feet of deck area available for passenger use. In  
computing the deck area, the areas occupied by concession stands, toilets and  
washrooms, companionways, and stairways shall be excluded.  
(c) One passenger per 18 inches of width of fixed seating provided.  
(2) On vessels that have or are required to have vessel capacity plates, the passenger  
capacity shall be determined by applying either of the following criteria which results in  
the allowance of the greatest number of persons without exceeding the capacity plate  
maximums:  
(a) Weight capacity minus maximum motor and gear weight: 185= number of  
passengers.  
(b) Boat length times boat beam : 15 = number of passengers.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3114  
Vessel damage, repairs, and alterations; reports; repair and  
alteration standards; modification of corrections and repairs; determination  
of unsafe vessel; modification and inspection exception.  
Rule 114. (1) When a vessel has an accident causing physical damage, has a  
grounding causing physical damage, or is to be hauled out and dry docked to carry out  
major repairs or alterations affecting the vessel's seaworthiness, the owner of the  
vessel shall immediately report to the marine inspector or the marine safety section of  
the department the nature of the damage repairs, or alterations. Physical damage does  
not include breakage of glass, lights, or decorative items.  
(2) All repairs and alterations shall be done in accordance with good marine  
practice and standards and approved by the marine inspector before the work is started.  
Drawings, sketches, or written specifications may be required by the marine inspector  
depending on the nature and extent of the repairs or alterations.  
(3) The owner of a vessel shall not allow the vessel to be returned to service or  
returned to the water until all repairs or alterations have been completed and the  
vessel has been reinspected and approved by the marine inspector. The marine  
inspector shall reinspect the vessel as soon as possible after notification by the owner  
that the repairs and alterations have been completed.  
(4) When corrections or repairs to the vessel or associated equipment are  
required as a result of an inspection by the marine inspector, the owner of the vessel  
shall notify the marine inspector when the corrections or repairs have been made.  
(5) When, during the course of an inspection, the marine inspector finds  
equipment or conditions which are not addressed in these rules and which are unsafe  
or jeopardize the safety of the passengers carried onboard, the marine inspector shall  
require that the condition be corrected or the equipment removed from the vessel.  
(6) When it is determined by the marine inspector and the state boating law  
administrator that a vessel, because of its construction or design, or both, is not safe to  
carry passengers for hire, a certificate of inspection shall not be issued. The owner,  
if not satisfied with the decision of the department, may seek relief in accordance  
with Act No. 306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being S24.201 et seq. of  
Page 8  
the Michigan Compiled Laws, and known as the  
procedures act.  
Michigan  
administrative  
(7) Notification and inspection shall not be required for general maintenance  
drydocking or hauling out.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3115 Dockside inspection.  
Rule 115. The owner of a vessel shall, at the dockside inspection, submit all  
required safety apparatus for inspection and shall operate or cause to be operated all  
machinery, steerage, and bilge pumps to the extent necessary to determine that their  
condition is satisfactory and fit for safe, constant operation.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3116 Main engine gauges.  
Rule 116. (1) On vessels designed for inboard or inboard/outboard (stern-  
drive) main engines, both of the following gauges shall be present:  
(a) A gauge to indicate main engine cooling water temperature for each main  
engine. The gauge shall be readable, by the marine inspector, from each helm  
position.  
(b) A gauge to indicate main engine lubrication oil pressure for each main  
engine. The gauge shall be readable, by the marine inspector, from each helm  
position.  
(2) All gauges installed on a vessel shall be in good and serviceable condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3117 Personal flotation devices.  
Rule 117. (1) When the marine inspector determines that any personal flotation  
device required to be carried onboard a vessel is not in good and serviceable  
condition, the owner of the vessel shall permit the marine inspector to note, in writing,  
on the personal flotation device, that the device is no longer serviceable. The owner of  
the vessel shall replace the non-serviceable devices immediately or the number of  
passengers allowed to be carried aboard the vessel shall be revised to equal the  
number of serviceable personal flotation devices carried. The certificate  
of  
inspection may be revised, at any time, for the number of these devices carried, upon  
request of the owner to the marine inspector.  
(2) Personal flotation devices shall be carried in suitable places which are readily  
accessible to the passengers onboard. The places shall be designed to allow the  
devices to float free when practical.  
(3) When personal flotation devices are carried so that they are readily accessible,  
but not readily visible to the passengers, the container shall be marked "LIFE  
PRESERVERS" and the number of devices contained therein shall be listed. The letters  
Page 9  
and numbers shall be at least 1 inch high and shall be a color contrasting to the color of  
the container. The container shall also indicate the size of the devices contained therein.  
Differing sizes shall not be mixed within a container.  
(4) On documented vessels, all required personal flotation devices shall be marked  
with the vessel's name in characters at least 1 inch high and shall be a color contrasting  
to the color of the device.  
(5) On undocumented vessels, all required personal flotation devices shall be  
marked with either the vessel's name or the vessel's registration number in characters at  
least 1 inch high and shall be a color contrasting to the color of the device. After May  
31, 1982, all personal flotation devices acquired shall be marked with the vessel's  
registration number in characters at least 1 inch high and shall be a color contrasting  
to the color of the device.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3118 Fire fighting equipment.  
Rule 118. (1) A vessel, except for an open boat, shall be equipped with a minimum  
number of coast guard-approved portable fire extinguishers which shall be located as  
shown in the following table:  
Minimum Number Compartmented Vessels  
Class of Extinguishers and Locations  
Less than 26 feet  
B1  
2
Helmsman's position and cabin.  
26 feet to less than 40 feet B1  
3
Accessible to the engine compartment, helmsman's position, and galley.  
40 feet and over  
Accessible to the engine compartment, helmsman's position, crew quarters, and  
galley.  
B1  
4
(2) Where 3 or more B1 units are required, the extinguishing capacity may be  
made up of a smaller number of B2 units, if each location is protected with a  
readily accessible extinguisher.  
(3) The owner of a vessel shall examine, at regular intervals, all fire extinguishers  
to make certain that they have not been tampered with and have not suffered  
corrosion or damage.  
(4) A foam extinguisher shall be discharged, cleaned, inspected for mechanical  
defects or serious corrosion, and recharged annually.  
(5) A dry chemical extinguisher shall be kept full with the specified weight of  
chemical at all times. The cartridge shall be reweighed annually. If the cartridge is found  
to weigh less than the minimum weight stamped thereon, it shall be replaced with a  
full cartridge or recharged. An extinguisher with a gauge shall be recharged when the  
pressure is below prescribed operating limits.  
Page 10  
(6) A carbon dioxide extinguisher shall be reweighed annually, and a cylinder  
found lighter than the weight indicated on the nameplate shall be recharged.  
(7) Maintenance required in subrules (3), (4), and (5) of this rule shall be  
performed by a qualified fire-fighting equipment repair service.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3119 First aid kit and emergency procedures list.  
Rule 119. (1) The owner of a vessel shall provide, and have onboard the vessel, at  
least 1 standard 16unit first aid kit.  
(2) The owner of a vessel shall post an emergency procedures list aboard the  
vessel in a conspicuous location. The list shall set forth, at a minimum, all of the  
following information alitems:  
(a) Radiotelephone distress:  
(i) Switch to channel 16 - coast guard.  
(ii) Give distress signal "MAYDAY" 3 times.  
(iii) Give boat name, type, and color.  
(iv) Give position.  
(v) Describe emergency.  
(b) Man overboard:  
(i) Post a lookout.  
(ii) Throw over a flotation device or the water light.  
(iii) Don't jump into the water unless the person overboard is a small child,  
elderly, or a handicapped person.  
(iv) Maneuver to return for pickup.  
(v) Use additional markers.  
(vi) Get victim aboard.  
(vii) Call for help if necessary.  
(c) Explosion:  
(i) Be ready to go overboard with personal flotation device (life jacket).  
(ii) When clear of danger, account for all passengers and assist.  
(iii) Stay together.  
(d) Fires:  
(i) If possible, use fire extinguisher.  
(ii) If practical, jettison burning materials.  
(iii) Reduce the air supply.  
(iv) Assemble at opposite end of boat.  
(v) Make preparation to abandon ship:  
(A) Put on life jacket.  
(B) Signal for help by radio or any means available.  
(e) Leaks or damage control:  
Leaks or damage control:  
(i) Put on life jackets.  
(ii) Check bilge pump operation.  
(iii) Pull up all decks and floor boards in search of leaks.  
Page 11  
(iv) Slow or stop boat as needed. You may need to stay on plane to keep hole  
above water.  
(v) Stop engine, close sea cock for engine cooling, disconnect hose and place end  
in bilge. Start engine to act as bilge pump.  
(vi) Cover large hole from outside of boat with mattress, or similar device.  
(vii) Use radio to call for help. Channel 16 - coast guard.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3120 Cooking and heating appliances.  
Rule 120. (1) Galley stoves aboard a vessel shall be operated only by the owner,  
the operator, or a crew member while carrying passengers. The owner, the operator, or  
the crew member shall be present in the galley at all times while the galley stove is  
being operated.  
(2) Heating appliances, when present on a vessel, shall be of a type commonly  
manufactured for use aboard vessels.  
(3) Heating appliances, when present on a vessel, shall be installed in  
adequately ventilated areas and shall be securely fastened to the vessel.  
(4) Woodwork and other combustible material immediately surrounding  
heating appliances installed on  
noncombustible material.  
a
vessel shall be effectively insulated with  
(5) All fuel tanks for heating appliances installed on a vessel shall have an in-line  
shutoff valve as close to the fuel tank as practical. The fuel line shall have as few  
other fittings as practicable between the shutoff valve and the heating appliance.  
All remotely installed fuel tanks shall be securely fastened to the vessel in an  
accessible location.  
(6) Heating appliances, when present on a vessel, using liquefied petroleum  
gas, liquefied natural gas, or compressed natural gas shall be installed in accordance  
with good marine practice and standards, except for class A and class D vessels on  
which these type appliances are prohibited by federal law.  
(7) A person shall not ignite or start a gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas,  
compressed natural gas, or liquefied natural gas heating or cooking appliance onboard  
a vessel while passengers are onboard the vessel.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3121 Visual distress signals.  
Rule 121. (1) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake  
St. Clair shall have aboard the vessel at least 1 option, from the following list, of  
coast guard-approved visual distress signals:  
Number Options Required  
Type Accepted  
(a)  
3
Hand-held red flare with manufacture  
Day and night, date of October  
1, 1980, or later.  
Page 12  
(b)  
(c)  
3
1
1
3
1
3
Hand-held, rocket-propelled parachute  
Orange flag distress signal for boats  
and electric distress light for boats.  
Floating or hand-held orange smoke and Day only  
electric distress light for boats Night only  
Floating or hand-held orange smoke and Day only  
option (a) or option (b).  
Orange distress flag for boats and  
Option (a) or option (b)  
Day and night, red flare.  
Day only  
Night only  
(d)  
(e)  
(f)  
Day and night  
Day only  
Day and night  
1
(2) Non-approved hand-held pyrotechnic aerial red flares and pyrotechnic hand-  
held or floating orange smoke is acceptable for meeting the requirements of this  
rule until July 1, 1982, if the devices remain in good and serviceable condition.  
(3) A person shall not display a visual distress signal on the waters of the state,  
except in an emergency.  
(4) A person shall not possess any pistol-type visual distress signal launching  
device commonly known as a flare gun.  
(5) Any coast guard-approved electric distress light for boats that activates  
automatically upon contact with the water and flashes S.O.S.is acceptable for  
meeting the nighttime requirements of this rule and the requirements of R  
281.3202(4), R 281.3302(3), R 281.3404(3), and R 281.3503(4).  
(6) The owner of a vessel shall have aboard the vessel at least l portable battery-  
operated light (flashlight), powered by D-cells or larger-size batteries, which is in  
good and serviceable condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3122 State pilot's license; requirements.  
Rule 122. (1) An applicant for a state pilot's license shall be not less than 18 years  
of age.  
(2) When an applicant for a state pilot's license has been convicted by a court of  
record for a felony violation of the laws of the United States or the state of Michigan  
within 5 years of the date of application, the marine inspector shall investigate the  
circumstances of the conviction. When the investigation shows continued illegal or  
questionable activity on the part of the applicant, the application shall be denied by  
the state boating law administrator.  
(3) When an applicant for a state pilot's license has been convicted by a court of  
record for a serious violation of the marine laws of the United States or the state of  
Michigan within 3 years of the date of application, the marine inspector shall  
investigate the circumstances of the conviction. When the investigation shows  
continued illegal or questionable activity on the part of the applicant, the application  
shall be denied by the state boating law administrator. A serious violation includes all  
of the following:  
(a) Careless operation.  
(b) Reckless operation.  
(c) Operation under the influence of alcoholic beverage or controlled substance.  
Page 13  
(d) Negligent operation.  
(e) Operation causing death or injury.  
(4) An applicant for a state pilot's license shall have not less than 90 days'  
experience, within the preceding 24 months, operating a noncommercial vessel of  
a type similar to the vessel for which the pilot's license is sought or 90 days'  
experience, within the preceding 24 months, as a full-time crew member on a  
commercial vessel of a type similar to the vessel for which the pilot's license is sought  
and shall have received instruction from a licensed pilot in the operation of the vessel.  
(5) An applicant for an original state pilot's license shall pass a physical  
examination given by a licensed physician of this state and shall present a certificate  
signed by the physician attesting to the applicant's general physical condition.  
Epilepsy, insanity, senility, acute general disease or neurosyphilis, badly  
impaired hearing, or other defect that would render the applicant incompetent to perform  
the ordinary duties of  
application.  
a
licensed operator may be cause for denial of the  
(6) The department, when it has reason to doubt the operator's physical or visual  
abilities, may require him or her, at any time, to obtain a new physical examination.  
Notwithstanding, a physical examination shall be required once every 36 months.  
(7) An applicant for a state pilot's license shall not be color-blind and, in the  
opinion of a qualified physician, shall have adequate vision, in at least 1 eye, to  
safely operate a vessel.  
(8) A qualified applicant for a state pilot's license shall successfully  
complete examinations, both written and practical, administered by a marine  
inspector.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3123 Certification.  
Rule 123. (1) Upon satisfactory completion of the required drydock and annual  
dockside inspections, the department shall issue a certificate of inspection which shall  
expire on May 31 of the following year, except that the department may extend the  
expiration date for a period not to exceed 30 days when extreme weather conditions  
exist.  
(2) The certificate of inspection shall indicate that the vessel may operate during  
both the daytime and nighttime hours, unless otherwise requested by the owner of  
the vessel.  
(3) A certificate of inspection shall be framed under transparent material and  
posted in a conspicuous place on the vessel. Where posting is impractical, the  
certificate shall be kept onboard to be shown on demand.  
(4) There shall be a sticker issued with each certificate, and such stickers, when  
issued, shall be affixed to the port and starboard sides of the vessel in a conspicuous  
manner.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
Page 14  
R 281.3124 Suspension and revocation of certificates.  
Rule 124. (1) If, at any time subsequent to an inspection of a vessel and the  
issuance of a certificate, changes to the hull or any portion of the vessel, including  
equipment required to be carried onboard, are found to have occurred so that the vessel  
no longer meets the minimum standards prescribed, the certificate shall be  
revoked by the department and immediately surrendered to a marine inspector.  
(2) Violation of the act or any other act or falsification of information on an  
application for inspection may also be cause for suspension or revocation of the  
certificate.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3125 Pilot's license; display.  
Rule 125. A licensed operator, when operating a vessel for hire, shall place his  
or her pilot's license, framed under transparent material, in a conspicuous place on  
the vessel where it can be seen by passengers and other persons at all times. Where  
such display is impracticable, the pilot's license shall be carried onboard and shown on  
demand.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3126 Pilot's license; duration; renewal.  
Rule 126. (1) A state pilot's license is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.  
(2) A state pilot's license shall be renewed by application to the department.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3127 Pilot's license; suspension or revocation.  
Rule 127. The following conduct is cause for suspension or revocation of the  
state pilot's license:  
(a) The negligent or improper operation of a vessel.  
(b) Physical impairment of the operator.  
(c) Falsification of information given on a license application.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3128 Pilot's license; ownership; surrender.  
Rule 128. An issued state pilot's license shall remain the property of the  
department and shall be surrendered to a marine inspector upon revocation.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
Page 15  
R 281.3129 Public liability insurance required.  
Rule 129. The owner of a vessel shall carry marine liability insurance for bodily  
injury. The insurance coverage shall be for 1 year and shall be renewed annually. The  
amount of the coverage, per accident, shall be not less than $50,000.00 multiplied by the  
number of passengers authorized to be carried by the certificate of inspection.  
However, each vessels carrying more than 10 passengers shall carry not less than  
$1,000,000.00 coverage per accident.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3130 Rescission.  
Rule 130. R 281.2001 to R 281.2130 of the Michigan Administrative  
Code, appearing on pages 1005 to 1022 of the 1979 Michigan Administrative Code,  
are rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
PART 2. CLASS A VESSELS  
R 281.3201 Rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3202 Personal flotation devices and water light.  
Rule 202. (1) The owner of  
a
vessel shall provide  
1
coast guard-  
approved, type I personal flotation device, of a proper size, for each person, including  
the crew, to be carried onboard.Each device shall be inspected at the dockside inspection.  
(2) The owner of a vessel shall affix, in a suitable manner, to all type I personal  
flotation devices carried aboard the vessel, 200 square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.) of  
coast guard-approved retroreflective material to the outside of each device and 200  
square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.) to the inside of each device.  
(3) The owner of a vessel shall have aboard the vessel a ring life buoy not less 20  
inches in diameter. The ring life buoy shall comply with all of the following  
requirements:  
(a) Be readily accessible in a suitable location.  
(b) Have attached, in a suitable manner, not less than 50 feet of line.  
(c) Be marked as required by R 281.3117.  
(4) The owner of a vessel shall provide a water light which is self-activating  
upon contact with the water and which is approved by the marine inspector. The light  
shall be stored in a readily accessible location near the ring life buoy and shall be  
in good and serviceable condition. When, at the owner's discretion, the light is  
attached to the ring life buoy, it shall be attached by a line at least 1 foot in length.  
Page 16  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3203 Marine radio and compass.  
Rule 203. (1) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake  
St. Clair shall have aboard the vessel a marine radio-telephone which is in good  
working condition and a current federal communication commission operator's license.  
(2) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake St.Clair  
shall have aboard the vessel a suitable marine-type compass which is in good and  
serviceable condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3204 Toilet and sanitary facilities.  
Rule 204. A vessel, except for an open boat and a vessel where suitable privacy  
enclosures are not practical, shall be equipped with 1 toilet which complies with Act No.  
167 of the Public Acts of 1970, as amended,  
being S323.331 et seq. of the  
Michigan Compiled Laws, and which shall be maintained in a serviceable and  
sanitary condition by the owner of the vessel.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3205 Anchor and anchor line.  
Rule 205. (1) A vessel shall be equipped with 1 anchor of a suitable size and  
type.  
(2) A vessel operating on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair shall be equipped  
with 1 sea anchor.  
(3) A vessel operating on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair shall be equipped  
with not less than 150 feet of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard  
the vessel.  
(4) A vessel operating exclusively on rivers shall be equipped with not less 30 feet  
of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(5) Any line, when attached to the required anchor, shall be attached by eyesplice,  
thimble, and shackle.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
PART 3. CLASS B VESSELS  
R 281.3301 Rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
Page 17  
R 281.3302 Personal flotation devices and water light.  
Rule 302. (1) The owner of a vessel, except for an open boat, shall provide 1  
coast guard-approved type  
I
personal flotation device of a proper size, for each  
person, including the crew, to be carried onboard. Each device shall be inspected at  
the dockside inspection.  
(2) The owner of a vessel, except for an open boat, which operates on inland  
lakes shall have aboard the vessel a ring life buoy not less than 20 inches in diameter.  
The ring life buoy shall comply with all of the following requirements:  
(a) Be readily accessible in a suitable location.  
(b) Have attached, in a suitable manner, not less than 50 feet of line.  
(c) Be marked as required by R 281.3117.  
(3) The owner of a vessel, except for an open boat, shall provide a water light  
which is self-activating upon contact with the water and which is approved by the  
marine inspector. The light shall be stored in a readily accessible location near the  
ring life buoy and shall be in good and serviceable condition. When, at the owner's  
discretion, the light is attached to the ring life buoy, it shall be attached by a line at  
least 1 foot in length.  
(4) The owner of an open boat shall provide  
1
coast guard-approved  
type I, type II, or type III personal flotation device, of a proper size, for each person to  
be carried onboard, including the crew. In addition, 1 unicellular plastic foam coast  
guard-approved type IV throwable device shall also be carried. Each device shall be  
inspected at the dockside inspection.  
(5) The owner of a vessel shall affix, in a suitable manner, to all personal  
flotation devices carried aboard the vessel, 200 square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.)  
of coast guard-approved retroreflective material to the outside of each device and  
200 square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.) to the inside of each device that is reversible.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3303 Anchor and anchor line.  
Rule 303. (1) A vessel shall be equipped with 1 anchor of a suitable size and  
type.  
(2) A vessel operating on inland lakes shall be equipped with not less than 75 feet  
of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(3) A vessel operating exclusively on rivers shall be equipped with not less than  
30 feet of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(4) Any line attached to the required anchor shall be attached by eyesplice,  
thimble, and shackle.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
PART 4. CLASS C VESSELS  
R 281.3401 Rescinded.  
Page 18  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3402 Fixed seats.  
Rule 402. Fixed seats, when used, shall be installed as follows:  
(a) Aisles not more than 15 feet long shall be not less than 124 inches wide.  
(b) Aisles more than 15 feet long shall be not less than 30 inches wide.  
(c) Where seats are in rows, the distance from seat front to seat front shall be not  
less than 30 inches.  
(d) Seat spacing shall provide for ready escape in case of fire or other emergency.  
Portable or temporary seats shall be arranged as required for fixed seating.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3403 Vessels carrying vehicles.  
Rule 403. A vessel carrying vehicles shall have suitable chains, cable, or  
other barriers installed at the end of the vehicle runways. Suitable gates, rails, or  
other devices shall also be installed as a continuation of the regularly required  
rails.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3404 Personal flotation devices and water light.  
Rule 404. (1) The owner of a vessel shall provide 1 coast guard-approved  
type I, type II, or type III personal flotation device, of a proper size, for each person,  
including the crew, to be carried onboard. Each device shall be inspected at the  
dockside inspection.  
(2) The owner of a vessel shall have aboard the vessel a ring life buoy not less  
than 20 inches in diameter. The ring life buoy shall comply with all of the following  
requirements:  
(a) Be readily accessible in a suitable location.  
(b) Have attached, in a suitable manner, not less than 50 feet of line.  
(c) Be marked as required by R 281.3117.  
(3) The owner of a vessel, except those vessels operating exclusively on rivers,  
shall provide a water light which is self-activating upon contact with the water and  
which is approved by the marine inspector. The light shall be stored in a readily  
accessible location near the ring life buoy and shall be in good and serviceable  
condition. When, at the owner's discretion, the light is attached to the ring life buoy,  
it shall be attached by a line at least 1 foot in length.  
(4) Beginning January 1, 1982, any personal flotation device acquired as a  
replacement for an existing required device shall have affixed, in a suitable manner,  
200 square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.) of coast guard-approved retroreflective  
material to the outside of each device and 200 square centimeters (31.5 sq. in.) to the  
inside of each device that is reversible.  
Page 19  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3405 Toilet and sanitary facilities.  
Rule 405. (1) The owner of a vessel shall provide toilets which comply with Act No.  
167 of the Public Acts of 1970, as amended, being  
S323.331  
et seq. of the  
Michigan Compiled Laws, and washbasins in accordance with the following table,  
except that a vessel operating on short runs of approximately 30 minutes or less  
need not be fitted with toilets or washbasins.  
Number of Passengers  
Toilets  
Washbasins  
49 and less  
Over 49  
1
1
0
1
(2) Toilet and washbasin facilities shall be maintained in a serviceable and sanitary  
condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3406 Fire fighting equipment.  
Rule 406. (1) In addition to the number of portable fire extinguishers  
required by R 281.3118, a power-driven fire pump system shall be carried on a  
mechanically propelled vessel which is permitted to carry more than 49 passengers.  
The power-driven fire pump system shall be self-priming and of such size as to  
discharge an effective stream from a hose connected to the highest outlet of the  
pump. The power fire pump system may be driven by a propulsion engine or other  
source of power. The pump may also be connected to the bilge system so that it can  
serve as either a fire pump or a bilge pump.  
(2) The power-driven fire pump system shall be of a type that allows any part of  
the vessel to be reached with an effective stream of water from 1 length of fire hose.  
(3) At least 1 length of fire hose shall be attached to each power-driven fire  
pump or hydrant in the system at all times. Fire hose may be commercial fire hose or  
equivalent which is not more than  
1-1/2 inches in diameter or garden hose which is not less than 5/8 inch nominal  
inside diameter. The fire hose shall be in 1 piece which is not less than 25, nor more  
than 50, feet in length. Garden hose, when used, shall be of a good commercial grade  
constructed of an inner tube, plies of braided cotton reinforcement, and an outer  
rubber cover or equivalent material and shall be fitted with a commercial garden hose  
nozzle of good grade bronze or equivalent metal.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3407 Anchors and anchor line.  
Page 20  
Rule 407. (1) A vessel shall be equipped with 1 anchor of a suitable size and  
(2) A vessel operating on inland lakes shall be equipped with not less than 75 feet  
type.  
of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(3) A vessel operating exclusively on rivers shall be equipped with not less than  
30 feet of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(4) Any line attached to the required anchor shall be attached by eyesplice,  
thimble, and shackle.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
PART 5. CLASS D VESSELS  
R 281.3501 Sailing apparatus; inspection.  
Rule 501. The owner of a vessel shall permit the marine inspector to examine  
all masts, spars, standing rigging, running rigging, blocks, fittings, sails, lines, and  
other sailing apparatus to determine if they are fit for safe constant operation.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3502 Rescinded.  
History: 1982 AACS; 2014 AACS  
R 281.3503 Personal flotation devices and water light.  
Rule 503. (1) The owner of a vessel shall provide 1 coast guard-approved  
type I personal flotation device, of a proper size, for each person, including the crew,  
to be carried onboard. Each device shall be inspected at the dockside inspection.  
(2) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair  
shall affix, in a suitable manner, to all type I personal flotation devices carried aboard  
the vessel, 200 square centimeters (31.5  
sq. in.)  
of  
coast  
guard-approved  
retroreflective material to the outside of each device and 200 square centimeters (31.5  
sq. in.) to the inside of each device.  
(3) The owner of a vessel shall have a ring life buoy not less than 20 inches in  
diameter aboard the vessel. The ring life buoy shall comply with all of the following  
requirements:  
(a) Be readily accessible in a suitable location.  
(b) Have attached, in a suitable manner, not less than 50 feet of line.  
(c) Be marked as required by R 281.3117.  
(4) The owner of a vessel shall provide a water light which is self-activating  
upon contact with the water and which is approved by the marine inspector. The light  
shall be stored in a readily accessible location near the ring life buoy and shall be in  
Page 21  
good and serviceable condition. When, at the owner's discretion, the light is attached  
to the ring life buoy, it shall be attached by a line at least 1 foot in length.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3504 Marine radio and compass.  
Rule 504. (1) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake  
St. Clair shall have aboard the vessel a marine radio-telephone which is in good  
working condition and a current federal communication commission radio-  
telephone operator's license.  
(2) The owner of a vessel which operates on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair  
shall have aboard the vessel a suitable marine-type compass which is in good and  
serviceable condition.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3505 Toilet facilities.  
Rule 505. A vessel, except for an open boat and a vessel where suitable privacy  
enclosures are not practical, shall be equipped with 1 toilet which complies with Act No.  
167 of the Public Acts of 1970, as amended,  
being S323.331 et seq. of the  
Michigan Compiled Laws, and shall be maintained in a serviceable and sanitary  
condition by the owner.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
R 281.3506 Anchors and anchor line.  
Rule 506. (1) A vessel shall be equipped with 1 anchor of a suitable size and  
type.  
(2) A vessel operating on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair shall be equipped  
with 1 sea anchor.  
(3) A vessel operating on the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair shall be equipped  
with not less than 150 feet of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard  
the vessel.  
(4) A vessel operating on inland lakes shall be equipped with not less than 75 feet  
of suitable anchor line which is readily available onboard the vessel.  
(5) Any line, when attached to the required anchor, shall be attached by eyesplice,  
thimble, and shackle.  
History: 1982 AACS.  
Page 22