Michigan Boat Rentals - FAQ’s

1. Do I need a boating license to rent a boat?

No, but it is strongly recommended. The State of Michigan requires a license to operate a boat if you were born after June 30, 1996. The rental age requirements at Michigan Boat Rentals is 25 years of age or older. For more information on how to obtain a boating license visit www.nasbla.org/education/approved-boating-courses or www.boat-ed.com/michigan/

2. Where can I take the boat?

Michigan Boat Rental motorized boats are allowed in the Black River, St. Clair River, Pine River, Northern Lake St. Clair and Southern Lake Huron. You are required to stay within 5 miles of the Great Lakes shoreline for safety. The boats are never permitted to leave the water or trailered by anyone except Michigan Boat Rental employees. Going to the north part of Lake St. Clair will take 2X longer to get home than it did to arrive because of the strong current in the St. Clair River, plan accordingly. Michigan Boat Rentals charges a $250 late fee to the card on file for any late returns.

3. What if the boat breaks down or I have an emergency onboard?

All Michigan Boat Rental boats have coverage with Tow Boat U.S. and the information is located in several locations within the boat for reference. Each boat is also equipped with a ship to shore radio to contact the tow service, Marine Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, rental office for dock assistance and harbor fueling stations.

4. How much fuel will I use?

The fuel tanks on our boats are 38 gallons with 115 HP, 4 stroke engines. A full tank of gas in the boat running at peak horsepower or wide open throttle nonstop will go for about 4 hours. Some variables are: how many people are on board or how loaded the boat, conditions of the water & wind, if the Bimini (sun top) is up creating drag and various other things. The slower you go with less people onboard will lower fuel consumption. If you plan to head south fuel consumption will be higher or more used when you return going against the current of the St. Clair River.

5. Do I fill the fuel tank?

The boat will start with a full tank of gasoline and you will be responsible to return it with a full tank of gasoline, just like a car rental. Fuel can be purchased at the home marina (Desmond) near the mouth of the river using regular fuel or non-ethanol fuel. Tanks are not to be filled using cans of gas from other source besides noted marine fueling stations in the paperwork. The distance and locations of fueling stations will be provided in your welcome package dockside. All passengers must be out of the boat while being fueled by a dock attendant; tips are not required but appreciated.

6. How do I calculate length of time to a location?

Distance / Speed (mph converted to knots) = Time
23 nautical miles / 18 mph (18 x 0.869) = 1.47 hours

Example: Leaving from the Michigan Boat Rentals dock going to Lexington, MI is about 23 miles or about 1 ½ scenic hours doing an average speed of 18 mph.

7. Can I drive the boat in Canadian Waters?

Yes. Please see question #8 for rules regarding alcohol in Canada. You can drive the boat in Canadian waters but you are not permitted to drop anchor or step foot in Canada without first contacting Canadian Border Services Agency and have proper documentation. Visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca for more information on requirements. Upon entering back into the United States you must contact the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, visit www.cbp.gov for more information.

8. Can I consume alcohol on the boat?

A boat operator(s) is not allowed to consume alcohol or be under the influence of drugs at any time while operating a boat in the United States. Violation of this is a federal crime. Passengers on the vessel are allowed to consume alcohol in the United States only. If the boat crosses into Canadian waters it is illegal for the operator or the passengers to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in this type of watercraft. Canadian waters are defined as halfway across a shared waterway or if you imagine a line right down the middle of the St. Clair River or Lake Huron.

9. Do I need a license to fish in the U.S. or Canada?

Yes, you will be required to have a fishing license from the U.S. If you plan to fish in Canadian waters you will be required to obtain a Canadian fishing license as well. U.S. fishing information visit www.fws.gov/fishing/FishingLicense for Canadian fishing license info visit www.ontario.ca/page/fishing-licence-non-residents-canada

10. What is included & required to rent a kayak or paddle board?

Each rental includes a life jacket, paddle and leash for SUP rentals. Life jackets are required to be worn at all times and a safety checklist will be required to go over pre-voyage. You must be 18 years or older to rent a kayak or paddle board. If you are under the age of 18 you must have a parent or legal guardian present with you. A valid driver’s license, credit card for incidentals and a signed lease/waiver will be required at the office dockside. Reservations are required & based on availability.

11. Liability & Damage

You will be required to do a pre-check of the boat for damages prior to departure and upon arrival just like a car rental. You will be responsible for any damages incurred while you rented as well as any items that were given such as safety equipment that are not returned or are damaged. Additional insurance, besides what is included with the rental, is sometimes covered with your homeowner’s insurance. Check with your carrier if you would like to know what is included or what can be added prior to departure.

12. Cancellations or Reschedules

If you cancel 14 days or more prior to the reservation you have the option to find a new date in the current season for your boating adventure or request a full refund. Cancellations made 7-13 days prior have the option to find a new date in the current season. There are no cancellations or changes to a reservation 0-6 days prior to your reservation.

13. Storms or Bad Weather

If a bad storm occurs during your reservation, or if a small craft advisory was issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan Boat Rentals will work with you to find you a new date to come back based on availability in the current season. Determination of weather will be made by Michigan Boat Rentals the night prior to the reservation since it changes often. MBR reserves the right to cancel a reservation. Cooler daytime temperatures will sometime occur especially if you book in the early or late months of the season so plan accordingly since this is considered normal and okay for boating.