Boating Safety

Water Quality & Safety

Lake wide weed control would require approval of 51% of riparians. Neighbor riparians can group together to treat locally. Companies involved in weed treatment have made presentations to home owners in the past. Most of these contracts are made before the season starts. Watch OHLA meeting minutes in the News section of this page for future announcements.


Spring and summer is the time of year to enjoy our pontoons, ski boats, wake boats, fishing boats, sail boats, etc.  A few basics: follow a counterclockwise course around the lake; keep at least 100 feet from the shoreline or any anchored object (no wake if within these limits); keep at least 200 feet from a vessel displaying a "diver down" flag (red background with white diagonal stripe);  you must give way to any vessel not under command, sail boats, boats involved in fishing, or any boat which is hampered in its maneuverability; a vessel overtaking another vessel or a vessel to the port side of another vessel must give way.  It is always your responsibility to avoid a collision even if you have the right of way.  Although there are no specific distances for vessels under way, you should avoid coming close enough to a vessel where your wake will significantly disturb that vessel.  Your vessel must be registered with clearly visible registration numbers on both sides of the boat with a current validation decal displayed and the registration available on board the vessel (except for row boats and non-powered canoes under 16 feet).  You need an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) for each passenger and every child under 6 must be wearing an approved floatation device.  In addition, you need a throwable flotation device.  You must also have a fire extinguisher appropriate for your vessel.  Finally, you must have navigation lights appropriate to your boat and use them between sunset and sunrise.  Even non-powered vessels require an all around white light. See the Michigan Boating Handbook for further information.

According to Michigan law, you must have a Boater's Safety Certificate to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) if you were born after 1978.  You cannot operate a PWC if you are under age 14.  Persons age 14-15 must have a certificate as well as a parent or guardian either on the PWC or within 100 feet of the PWC.  It is illegal to operate a PWC from the hours of sunset (determined by the National Weather Service) and 8am.  You must wear a PFD at all times on a PWC. PWCs must not cross within 150 feet behind another vessel other than another PWC.  For more information see Michigan Boater's Handbook.

Every person being towed must have a type I, II, or III PFD.  The vessel towing must have a spotter in addition to the vessel operator at all time.  Hours of legal operation are between one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset if using a boat or between sunset and 8am if using a PWC.  If towing anyone, you must stay at least 100 feet from shore, any moored or anchored vessel, any dock or raft, any marked swimming area or person in the water.