Rules & Regulations


     Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Dept,

     Marine Division

     ...... On Patrol for your safety!


    Violations, call 231-922-4550

    Get the MC number, make/model of boat,

     description of occupants.



Maintain a good relationship with neighbors, follow boating and lake rules!

Watercraft & Safety Rules

Silver Lake is patrolled by the Grand Traverse Sheriff Dept, Marine Div. and the Department of Natural Resources regarding watercraft rule compliance. Silver Lake Improvement Association has no policing  authority. We all must report violaters to the sheriff or DNR to get results. When reporting a violation include the watercraft "MC" number.  See telephone numbers below for reporting violations of boating law.

Sheriff of Grand Traverse Marine Division:

              For Emergencies call 911 -   (Do not call 911 except for emergencies)

              Boating or Launch Site Violations - Call Central Dispatch - 231 922-4550

              General Marine Questions (Leave Message) - 231-922-2112

DNR  - Traverse City Field Office - 231-922-5280         -Law Enforcement (boat launch site), Environmental Issues.

  - 24 Hour Wildlife Harrassment Dispatch Center Number - 800-292-7800


The following is a sampling of rules that apply to watercraft operating in Michigan waters: Speed Limit - 55 MPH :  On waters of this state..., a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hours is established. Speed - No-Wake within 100 feet of shoreline at 3 feet depth. Reckless operation: "If a person carelessly and heedlessly operates a vessel upon the waters of this state in disregard of the rights and safety of others, without due caution and circumspection, or at a rate of speed or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger a person or property;, that person is guilty of reckless operation of a vessel and is subject to the penalties described. Vessel Wake Responsibility: "The owner of any vessel operated upon waters of this state shall be personally responsible for any damage to life or property resulting from a wake or swell created by the negligent operation or propulsion of such vessel is being operated with his consent. Maximum noise - 90db at boat and 75 db at shoreline.

Please refer to the links below for more complete information:

Boaters safety handbook covers boating rules and regulations

Michigan DNR boater information site:

Boater safety Class (on line)

The following link takes you to the DNR site that tells which personal watercraft operators need a boating safety certificate and has a search tool to find boater safety classes.,1607,7-153-10369_46346-37311--,00.html 

Hand signals for water skiing

Boating in Michigan Web page,1607,7-153-10365_10884---,00.html  

The Michigan Marine Safety Act provides for Special Local Watercraft rules. Interested parties petition the Township Boards to request the DNR to hold a local hearing for consideration of the special watercraft rule.  After the hearing the DNR can deny the request, approve the request or approve a different rule.  If the DNR denies the request there will be no special rule.  If they approve the request it won't go into effect until the Township enacts the rule. Rules are enforced by local police or if none the sheriffs department and county Prosecutor.  Apparently the DNR will only consider rules limiting waterskiing hours, no wake lakes and no wake zones.  Questions about applying for a permit can be addressed to Dean Molnar at the DNR Cadillac Operations Center, 231-775-9727 extension 6100



Environmental Rules

Environmental issues such as dredging, adding sand to the lake bottom and controlling aquatic weeds below the normal high water mark, are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  Environmental issues above the normal high water mark (adding sand to the beach, building retaining walls, excavating and stormwater management) fall under the Grand Traverse County Drain Commission Office (the Drain Commission Office is also responsible for the lake high water drain).  Garfield Township has a supplemental shoreline ordinance that applies to Silver Lake property within Garfield Township.  The stated intent of the ordinance is "to protect water quality and land resources related to lake, river and stream shorlines within Garfield Township".

The DNR Web Site that deals with shorline modifications, dredging, sea walls, adding beach sand, etc. including rules and permit forms can be accessed at:,1607,7-135-3313_3681_28734---,00.html

Information regarding Soil Erosion and Stormwater Control Ordinances and other information can be found at the Grand Traverse County Drain Commission Web Site  

Blair Township Web Site Zoning page with access to zoning maps , zoning ordinance, permit forms, etc.  Article XIII deals with river frontage, contact township for detail regarding  lake shore property

Garfield Township Zoning Ordinance section dealing with shorelines property can be accessed at:

Lakefront Property Legal Matters

Many informative and easy to read articles written by attorney Cliff Bloom regarding riparian rights and other legal issues of interest to lake property owners can be accessed at:





Please be aware that on March 26, 2019, Garfield Township with the support of the DNR and Grand Traverse County Sheriff`s Department enacted an ordinance to establish a slow "No Wake Zone" near the DNR boat launch site on East Silver Lake Road. (No wake defined as "A very slow speed whereby the wake or wash created by a vessel would be minimal".) 

The approval is the result of concern for boaters and swimmers safety along with environmental shoreline erosion due to the large number of boats trafficking at the launch site. The area (zone) involved will extend out four hundred (400) feet from the launch.   The DNR has not yet determined the number and placement of buoys and signs for the "No Wake Zone" but are in process of making that decision.  Once the DNR has decided, buoys and signs will be put in place and should be clearly visible.  Be advised that  at point it will also be enforceable!                Oberve - Be Safe - Prevent - Enjoy!