Sheriff Dan Bean and Under Sheriff Dean Pratt started working on a boat inspection/sticker program last fall. Earlier this month Scott Boni, the new Recreation Officer for Antrim County, announced that the Antrim County Marine Patrol will be offering a new Marine Vessel Safety Inspection program that is being facilitated in conjunction with the Michigan Sheriff Association.
In summary, the program will involve a voluntary boat inspection. This inspection can be at an inspection site at a time set up by the marine patrol or by asking one of the patrol boat crews to perform the inspection on a time permitting basis. The inspection will follow a checklist designed for both large and small vessels for use on both Lake Michigan and inland lakes. The inspected boat will only be inspected for those items required for its size and use. The inspecting officer will review any discrepancies and also review common reasons for marine patrol stops. Upon a successful completion of the inspection, the boat will be issued stickers, which will be recognized in many Michigan counties. The inspected boat will still be stopped if marine laws are being violated but not for a full inspection. Follow the rules and the marine patrol will just wave when they see you this summer.
The next scheduled inspection will be held at the Milton Township Fire Department (located just north of the Torch River Bridge on the road toward Elk Rapids) on June 20th. It will start at 10am and run until 2pm. Obviously the boat will need to be trailered to the site. If you already have your boat in the water, just flag down a patrol boat and ask for an inspection at your convenience or look for announcements of future inspection venues.
Remember that the purpose of this program is safety and education. When you get your sticker, you know not only that the boat is up to standards but you will also be better informed on the rules of the water. It is your choice as this is entirely voluntary.