It’s Spring–Watercraft renewal notices are sent!

BoatingLANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said today that the 250,000 watercraft owners receiving renewal notices in March should take advantage of renewing online at


“Renewing online is fast and easy,” Johnson said. “You can renew wherever there’s an Internet connection. Use your computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone and go to ‘’ Click on ‘Renew Watercraft’ and you’ll be done in no time.”


Online renewal for watercraft began in 1998 when five online renewals were processed in June (during the middle of the boating season). In 2013, more than 44,000 watercraft renewals were submitted online.


With the development of, the online system was enhanced to offer two methods for renewal. Express Renewal is fast and easy, requiring only the boat’s registration number to renew. Online Renewal PLUS lists all vehicles and watercraft eligible for renewal and lets customers complete other online transactions at the same time, such as changing an address or renewing a driver’s license.


Nicki Polan, of the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA), said that online renewal is a real convenience for Michigan boaters, providing them with more time to enjoy the recreational opportunities provided by the abundance of lakes, waterways, marinas, parks and shoreline communities across the state.


“Secretary Johnson is a true supporter of Michigan’s Boating Industry and a regular attendee at MBIA produced boat shows,” Polan said. “Like the millions of boaters here in Michigan, Secretary Johnson understands, first-hand, the benefits of getting out on the water and connecting face-to-face with friends and family while making lifelong memories. We appreciate her efforts to make the boat registration process a quick and easy process.”


Watercraft renewals also may be completed by mail or at a Secretary of State office. A change of address may be submitted whether renewing online, by mail or at a branch office. Renewals involving a change in name or watercraft information must be completed at a branch.


Checks, money orders and Discover, MasterCard and Visa debit or credit cards are accepted as payment for watercraft renewals by mail or at a branch office. Offices also accept cash. Online renewals require Discover, MasterCard and Visa debit or credit cards.


There are nearly 903,000 watercraft registrations on file at the Secretary of State’s Office. Watercraft registrations are issued for three years and expire on March 31 of the third year.


All watercraft on Michigan waters, including privately owned lakes and waterways, must be registered except for:


Watercraft 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles that are not used for rental or commercial purposes.


Nonmotorized canoes and kayaks not used for rental or commercial purposes.


Rafts, surfboards, sailboards and swim floats, regardless of length.


Watercraft registered in another state and used only temporarily in Michigan.


A boating safety certificate is required to operate a personal watercraft for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1978. Personal watercraft operators must be at least age 16. Children ages 14-15 may operate one if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated adult age 21 or older, or if they are operating one within 100 feet of a parent, legal guardian or designated adult age 21 or older.


For media questions, please call


Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.