Boating Under Michigan’s Stay Home Stay Safe Order

The warmer temps and sunshine are here but springtime in Michigan is much different this year due to the spread of COVID-19. To help flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a “Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives.” executive order until the end of April. The executive order urges families to remain at home and only venture out to markets, pharmacies and other essential businesses if it’s absolutely necessary.

However, that doesn’t mean that you and the kiddos can’t get some fresh air on a walk or bike ride. In fact, you can even launch a kayak or canoe on Lake St. Clair or the Clinton River. While there was initially some confusion about whether or not this pastime was permitted under the executive order, it turns out that certain forms of boating are still allowed under the extension of the executive order. However, as part of the extension, the use of motorboats, jet skis and similar watercraft (including gas and electric motors) is not permitted.

The Frequently Asked Questions section of the executive order notes that, “Any outdoor activity, including boating, must be done in a manner consistent with social distancing, and individuals should use only their own equipment to prevent the transmission of the virus through the touching of shared surfaces. Additionally, in accordance with section 2 of the order, persons not part of a single household may not boat together.”

Families must follow social distancing rules while out on their kayaks and canoes. This includes staying six feet away from people who you do not share a home with.

It’s imperative that families follow the executive order, and if you are opting to take your boat or kayak out on the water but are found to be non-compliant with the order, you can receive violations and fines up to $1,000.

According to the DNR’s Frequently Asked Questions page, DNR boating access sites are open, however restrooms and other amenities at these sites are closed. In addition, harbors and marinas, such as — Metro Beach Public Marina in Mount Clemens —are also closed. Those kayaking or canoeing do not need a Recreation Passport to access boating sites or other recreation areas at this time.

For information and updates on the coronavirus and to learn more about Macomb County, visit


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