The State of Michigan has approximately eight hundred thousand registered boaters. This figure does not include kayaks, canoes, or other non-motorized vessels which are not required to be registered in the state. The Macomb County portion of Lake St Clair, which the marine division is responsible for, is eighty five square miles. This includes over thirty miles of shoreline, fifty seven miles of rivers and streams, and a one mile international border with Canada. Currently within Macomb County there are twenty six marinas and ten public access sites on the lake.
The marine division enforces and investigates all violations of marine, environmental, and criminal law on Lake St Clair. The marine division is also responsible for inspecting all boat rental operations, or liveries, in Macomb County. Currently we inspect over one hundred vessels annually. The marine division also supports the sheriff’s office dive team in their recovery efforts on Lake St Clair.
The marine division is the only agency on Lake St Clair that is equipped for fire suppression. Our patrol boats have 500 gallon per minute Darley fire pumps. The pump system can supply water to two hand lines and a master stream off the bow. All patrol vessels have the ability to use foam during firefighting activities.
Our patrol boats are also equipped with medical first responder equipment such as backboards, collars, oxygen, AED, and Narcan. Many of our marine safety officers are licensed medical first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and medical doctor. The marine division transports injured boaters to various shore sites to transfer care to advanced life support units such as Harrison Township Fire Department or Medstar ambulance.
The sheriff’s marine division works in partnership with our federal, state, and local maritime law enforcement partners. During the summer patrol season US Customs and Border Protection provides an agent to co-crew with our deputies on patrol. We also provide assistance to St. Clair and Wayne Counties for marine events on the lake.
The marine division also teaches the state approved boater’s safety class during the winter ice season. Our deputies are in seventh grade classes, both public and parochial schools, throughout Macomb County. Our marine safety officers also teach the adult learners in the evenings in many city and township parks and recreation programs within Macomb County. Every year we teach over 7,000 students in our programs. Current statistics show that 75% of all boating accidents are the result of operator error. Our education efforts are aimed at reducing this statistic through education. The marine division encourages all boaters to have a basic boater’s safety class prior to operating on the water. We also remind everyone that anyone born after July 1, 1996 MUST have a boater’s safety class to legally operate a vessel.