Current bill to restrict boating practices likely to change

On March 13, House Bill 4362 was introduced by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) of the 56th district. The bill was referred to the House Government Operations Committee (which he chairs), and it has not had a hearing as of yet. As introduced, this bill would limit the operation of a vessel on public inland waters between the hours of sunset and 8 a.m.

We would like to thank everyone who has engaged and been involved with this bill, your voices have been heard by MUCC and the sponsor’s office.

MUCC has been, and will remain, in contact with Rep.Sheppard’s office. His staff has indicated that his intent is not to impact hunters and anglers.

See below for his written statement:

I recently introduced legislation that has caused some concern among the boating and fishing communities. I would like to clarify my intent for House Bill 4362.

I have observed over the years that many inland lakes have set their own hours, through DNR rules, for activities such as high-speed boating and water skiing. These activities are prohibited in many lakes from the hours of 6:30pm until 10am the following day. Many of these rules were adopted in the mid-1960s. Clearly, these hours do not represent today’s families and their schedules.

I introduced HB 4362 to allow for more time to enjoy on Michigan’s inland lakes—unfortunately, the way the bill was written does the opposite. Please know that I am in the process of drafting alternative language to more clearly attain my goal of making our state’s waters more accessible to all.”

MUCC is supportive of Representative Sheppard’s intent to preserve and even expand boating access for hunters and anglers, as put forth in his statement, and we look forward to working with him to insure that the words on the paper match the intended purpose of the bill.

In its current form, however, MUCC opposes the bill because of the impact it would have on bowfishers, walleye and catfish anglers, duck hunters and many others whose pursuits involve boating from sunset until 8 a.m.


  1. Lois Robords on March 20, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I’m glad that you are following this. Please continue to do so. Bird watchers also go out in boats in the early light time to see many of the birds on the inland lakes. I sent an email to Julie Calley who is my representative but I have not yet received a response.

  2. Ashley Smith on March 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Why does someone who represents Monroe County a place with nearly no inland lakes want to put restrictions on individuals who live on inland lakes? I think your time is better spent working on the cleanliness of Lake Erie. Your focus should be on what matters to your constituents. Let the voters who are fisherman of inland lakes who are not near large Great Lakes decide what is best for them.

  3. Richard Coors on March 23, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Terrible bill as written….good luck on the next election cycle….

  4. John Walbridge on March 23, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Our politicians have lost they’re collective minds!
    This and the gas tax are absolutely obscene. This is America and you politicians are putting more weight on our backs and more restrictions on our lives and liberties than socialist or comministd do.
    Do you really want to improve our lives? Pass a bill making it law that all doctors and dentists have to accept Medicaid and Medicair instead of picking our pockets.

  5. John Stegmeier on March 24, 2019 at 12:52 am

    I appreciate your intent to work with Representative Shepphard, but I am deeply concerned. While he suggest his intent is only to increase access, the bill he originally proposed was written to do exactly that. Furthermore, his expressed intent is to increase the hours of operation of recreational activities that are in conflict with hunting and fishing and which are destructive to fish and wildlife populations and habitats.

  6. Don Clark on March 24, 2019 at 5:49 am

    This is another way for the government to try to control everything we do. It sounds like we will have a lot of fishing folks in jail to gain revenue for money Michigan.

  7. James Ginotti on March 24, 2019 at 11:53 am

    This is just another way of taking our rights away from the American people. I have been a boater all my life. My dad had a boat over 70 years ago. I like to get out at dawn to fish. I understand about high speed boaters and water sling making noise. My boat is very quiet even at high speeds. It is a 4 stroke. Maybe band sking these hours but not fishing.

  8. Roger Whitley on March 24, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    I was thinking this was a hoax. But reading this opened my eyes to the problem. Please reword it so it looks in the best interest of everyone. Myself i enjoy late night catfishing. Hopefully this get fixed. I’m definitely going to follow this .

  9. Carl Pearson on March 24, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    I just read about the bill to restrict boating to the hours of 8:00 AM and Sunset. Should I sell my fishing boat now before there are thousands for sale in Michigan? And what do you think will happen to the hundreds of bait and tackle shops in Michigan if no one can fish when it’s the best time to fish? And how about the fishing boat manufacturers? How will they sell a new fishing boat if you can’t fish when the fish bite? And of course, they will have to compete with the thousands of used boats being dumped on the market. Those are just the obvious results of government infringement of our personal freedoms. I’m sure there are many more unintended consequences, unfortunately I’m to mad think clearly. I think a better bill would be to restrict congressmen from writing anything between the hours of 4:00 AM and 3:00 AM. Maybe if you had only one hour in the early morning to write a bill, you would use that time constructively.

    • Mike Jolly on March 29, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      I love what Carl Pearson states. Keep the government out of our lives as much as possible. It seems to me that IF there are restrictions on certain lakes, they were arrived at either by the property owners whose property owners surround that lake or smaller, local governments (township) whose boards must answer to its constituents.

      Jason Shepherd should focus on Temperance issues OR issues that will better the lives of citizens statewide.

      Thanks to MUCC and other organizations (Detroit Sportsmen’s Congress) for bringing this to our attention. We must stay vigilant in protecting our rights.

  10. Preston S Wertheimer on March 25, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Lots of waterskiers (including me) out on our lake from 6:30am during the summer. It’s a great way to wake up before work. You get power-washed from the ski. Don’t even have to shower!

  11. Roger Rhodes on March 25, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    From this reading it seems the original intent of the bill would prevent local people from governing their local lakes especially in regards to “high-speed boating and water skiing.”

  12. Ralph Logerwell on March 26, 2019 at 6:50 am

    I believe that the boating rules have covered these situations for many years. As stated, we should not have people engaged in high speed boating after sunset. The rules that apply here include boat lighting. After sunset any boat underway should have red and green lights on the bow and a white light at the stern. And when stopped should not have the red and green lights illuminated, but the white stern light should be on.
    We are members of the Horse head Lake Association (HLA). Every year we have a fireworks display for the 5th of July. There are probably 100 boats anchored out on the lake until after the display. Then we all find our way home, obviously way after Sunset. You don’t go fast. You make sure your running light are on so everyone can see every other boat.
    Please be careful how they word this Bill so it doesn’t have unintended consequences.

  13. Tom Stack on March 26, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for supporting outdoor persons. The bill as originally written would have been unacceptable. Please continue to monitor this until finalized so that it meets the needs of those who rely on the quiet times at the lake (e.g. 8:00 pm to 11:00 am) to enjoy their sports.

  14. Tim G on March 28, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Vote them out. You can’t fix stupid

    • Phil Mohr on March 30, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      Now that’s the correct answer. These guys spend more time trying to screw up Fishing & Hunting than just doing what they were elected to do, let the DNR & MUCC address hunting & fishing. If this state does away with hunting & fishing it would stand to lose billions in our state’s economy & take away our Great AMERICAN Heritage that we have always enjoyed. God Bless us.

  15. Martha Langham. Crooked lake, Lake, Mi.... on March 30, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Ya, thank the green lovers. There goes boats etc. Also my lake house wont be worth selling. Thanks to the above people, you stole my thunder. Hot, mad, dissapionted at these Reps. Who dont have a lick of COMMON Sense.

  16. Bill Colombo on April 4, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Representative Sheppard wrote:

    “I have observed over the years that many inland lakes have set their own hours, through DNR rules, for activities such as high-speed boating and water skiing…”.

    That is how it should be. Let local communities decide what regulations work best for them. Places that have several large lakes with many residents on them, would be affected differently than communities with smaller lakes that have few residents. The lake I live on for example has several privately owned islands, and according to the types of regulations you want to impose, it would mean that you would forbid those people from accessing their own property between certain hours. It would also mean that lake residents who might want to take a quiet late night cruise, would be forbidden from being able to do that.

    If you and your committee were to enact any law forbidding Lake Residents from boating on their own lake, at any time they choose, regardless of DNR presence you would face court challenges as to the constitutionality of said law.

  17. James Henry on April 12, 2019 at 8:12 am

    MUCC Please review any new bill that Sheppard submits, because I can’t believe that he didn’t know what was in
    HB 4263. The bill is only two pages and clearly states no boating between sunset and 8 am. Sheppard is not concerned about the hunters and fishermen of the state of michigan.

    Thank you
    Jim Henry

  18. Tess Mickelsen on August 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Does anyone know the current status of this situation? We live on a lake in the UP, and are recently seeing tons of boats being pulled over after dark.

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