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DNR encourages boaters to renew and register watercraft ahead of summer season

Posted at 10:11 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 22:11:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's Memorial Day weekend and many boaters are itching to get back on the water. The Department of Natural Resources is reminding boaters to make sure their registration is up, despite difficulty at the Secretary of State's office to make an appointment.

During COVID, conservation officers say they were lenient to accommodate boaters who may have struggled to get an appointment.

"We even reached a point where we weren't necessarily pulling everybody over like we normally would just because there was a lot of that, but a lot of that has been ironed out, and people are starting to figure out how to get their boat registered," said Lt. Gerald Thayer, district supervisor with the DNR.

If you need to renew your registration for a boat, you can do it online. The process will also be streamlined if you purchased the watercraft new from a dealership, as the dealer takes care of the paperwork on the buyer's behalf.

If you purchase the boat secondhand or through a private seller, it's the buyer's responsibility to register it under their name. This can only be done in person.

Many Secretary of States' offices don't have any available appointments until three months out, leaving people to check availability on a day-by-day basis.

If you have recently purchased a boat and are having trouble making an appointment, make sure to carry proof of the recent purchase while on the water. The DNR says they will try to work with people on a case-by-case basis.

"So if we see anybody that is having any trouble at all, it's those that are buying from private owners, but you still should have some type of paperwork from that transaction that you can provide to our officers, and, you know, we're working with people, we really are," said Lieutenant Thayer.

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