LANSING, Mich. — With more than 250,000 watercraft registration renewal notices were ready to be mailed March 1, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is encouraging boater owners to take advantage of renewing online through

“Renewing online at is a great timesaver,” Johnson said. “Our online system can be accessed through your home computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone any time of the day or night.” offers two methods for renewal. Express Renewal is fast and easy, requiring only the boat’s registration number to renew. Online Renewal PLUS lists all vehicles and watercraft eligible for renewal and lets the customer complete other online transactions at the same time, such as changing an address or renewing a driver’s license.

Nicki Polan of the Michigan Boating Industries Association thanked Secretary Johnson for her efforts in improving registration procedures for boaters.

“MBIA appreciates what Secretary Johnson has done to make registering a boat as easy and convenient as possible,” Polan said. “Boating is a big part of Michigan’s heritage and future. With boat sales up 10 percent in 2012 and another 10 percent increase expected in 2013, more boaters will be taking advantage of this great service.”

Customers also may renew by mail or at any Secretary of State office. A change of address may be submitted whether renewing online, by mail or at an office. Renewals involving a change in name or watercraft must be completed at a branch.

Discover, Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards are accepted for online and mail renewals. Mail renewals may also be paid by check or money order. Branch offices accept cash, checks, money orders or Discover and MasterCard.

There are 907,182 watercraft registrations on file at the Secretary of State’s Office. Watercraft registrations are issued for three years and expire on March 31 of the third year.

All watercraft on Michigan waters, including privately owned lakes and waterways, must be registered except for:

● Watercraft 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles that are not used for rental or commercial purposes.

● Nonmotorized canoes and kayaks not used for rental or commercial purposes.

● Rafts, surfboards, sailboards and swim floats, regardless of length.

● Watercraft registered in another state and used only temporarily in Michigan.

A boating safety certificate is required to operate a personal watercraft for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1978. Personal watercraft operators must be at least age 16. Children ages 14-15 may operate one if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated adult age 21 or older, or if they are operating one within 100 feet of a parent, legal guardian or designated adult age 21 or older.