Torch Lake, located in the northwestern part of Michigan, is celebrated for its picturesque scenery and crystal-clear waters. Extending over a length of 19 miles and reaching widths of up to 3 miles, the lake is surrounded by verdant forests and rolling hills. It is a favored destination for recreational pursuits such as boating, swimming, and camping. Moreover, Torch Lake is a highly sought-after spot for fishing enthusiasts, providing a habitat for a diverse range of fish species, including trout, salmon, perch, and walleye.

All operators affiliated with Getmyboat are obligated to operate in accordance with local guidelines, ensuring full compliance with legal requirements. This involves obtain the necessary registrations, passes, and permits, and meeting the necessary criteria for vessels and captains. Additionally, operators must adhere to the correct usage of docks and designated boating areas for commercial activities, as specified by local laws and facility regulations. To help Getmyboat operators comply with all applicable regulations, we have gathered the following essential details for boating in Torch Lake:

Watercraft Registration and Titling:

All vessels engaged in Michigan must undergo registration with the Michigan Department of State and prominently display a valid registration decal. Watercraft measuring 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles, and not utilized for rental or commercial purposes are exempt from registration. Additionally, non-motorized watercraft like canoes, kayaks, rafts, surfboards, sailboards, and swim floats are also exempt from registration, irrespective of their length.

Titles are mandatory for watercraft exceeding 20 feet in length or those equipped with a permanently affixed engine, regardless of their size. Upon owner request, titles can also be issued for watercraft not legally mandated to have one, enabling the inclusion of a lienholder in the record. More information can be found Here.

Boater Education Certificate:

In Michigan, those born after July 1, 1996, need an approved boater safety course to operate a motorized vessel, and those born after December 31, 1978, require boater education for personal watercraft. Boaters must carry their education certificate as proof.


Ensuring the security of your business, safeguarding assets, and compliance with regulations are crucial motives for obtaining thorough insurance coverage. Contact our reliable associate, Boat Charter Insurance , to explore your individual needs.

USCG Captain’s License:

Boat captains are required to possess a valid US Coast Guard license appropriate for the size and type of vessel they command. For vessels accommodating up to six passengers, a 6-pack license is necessary, whereas those with more than six passengers mandate a Master Captain's license. Captains bear the responsibility for the safety of their charter vessels and all individuals on board. For additional information on captain's licenses, visit Mariners Learning System. Use the code GETMYBOAT10 to receive a 10% discount.

Certificate of Inspection (COI):

To operate commercial passenger boats on Torch Lake with more than six passengers for hire, it is crucial to hold a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI). This certification ensures adherence to safety regulations, confirming the availability of necessary safety equipment like fire extinguishers and life jackets on the vessel. Moreover, the COI confirms the appropriate staffing of the boat, ensuring a sufficient number of qualified crew members capable of safely navigating the vessel. Further details can be accessed on the USCG website.

Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:

Numerous places allow for the drop-off and pickup of rental boats, and here are a couple with specified passenger zones. Before finalizing your plans, make sure to confirm the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.

  • Torch Lake Township Boat Ramp: Located at 12201 Public Dock Rd, Kewadin, MI 49648,

Boat Launch Permit:

The Torch Lake Township Boat Launch Permit is necessary for launching any watercraft into Torch Lake using the township-owned boat launch. This permit is mandatory for all watercraft, regardless of their size or type. You can buy permits either online or at the Torch Lake Township Community Services Building. Additionally, individuals with boats falling within or exceeding the ordinance size limits will be required to sign a seasonal baseline agreement with the township to utilize the boat launch at the Park. For more information please reach out to the Torch Lake Township at (231)559-2036.

Prevention of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS):

Protecting Torch Lake's waters and ecosystem hinges on shielding it from aquatic invasive species (AIS). Michigan has implemented various regulations that boaters, anglers, and shoreline residents must adhere to in order to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS. Upon departing any body of water, it is crucial to meticulously examine boats, trailers, and equipment for any visible AIS and meticulously remove any plants, animals, or debris. Thoroughly drain all water from boats, live wells, bilges, and ballast tanks, and ensure the complete drying of boats, trailers, and equipment before utilizing them in another body of water.

Additional Regulations:

  • A visible permit from the DNR is required for all commercial boats.
  • A valid Michigan Commercial Boating Operator License is mandatory for operators of commercial boats.
  • Commercial boats are restricted to a maximum length of 26 feet.
  • All boats must be equipped with essential safety gear, including life jackets for passengers, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights.
  • An annual inspection by the DNR is necessary for all passenger-for-hire vessels to ensure compliance with safety standards.
  • Operators of vessels used for passenger-for-hire must maintain records of passengers and their contact information.
  • Livery operators are obligated to provide renters with a safety briefing covering boat operation, proper use of safety equipment, and adherence to navigation rules.
  • The USCG mandates that all crew members on a passenger-for-hire vessel hold the appropriate license for the type of vessel they operate.

Helpful Resources:

It's important to acknowledge that the provided list offers a broad summary of boating regulations on Torch Lake and might not cover all relevant rules. Additional regulations could differ based on the specific activity you intend to pursue. For a more thorough understanding of the regulations, please consult the MI DNR (Michigan Department of Natural Resources) and Antrim County.