Michigan does not have a formal program to administer the designation or removal of abandoned or derelict vessels. They do have laws governing ADVs that make it unlawful to abandon a vessel. The provisions for abandoned vessels under Michigan law address jurisdiction, civil penalties, ownership and titling, removal and disposal, and established guidelines on determining who has the responsibility for covering the costs associated with vessel abandonment.
Public Act 549 established an Abandoned Vessel, ORV and Snowmobile Fund within the state treasury to fund, by appropriation, the administration of the provisions under this act that address abandoned vessels and abandoned scrap vessels.
In 2014, Michigan law makers passed Public Act 549 (effective April 16, 2015), which puts into place laws that specifically address abandoned vessels. Prior to the passage of this legislation, vessels that were abandoned were primarily dealt with through laws governing lost or unclaimed property and littering. Public Act 549 makes it unlawful to abandon a vessel and places the liability for the costs of removal on the owner.
Point of Contact
Michigan’s Secretary of State is responsible for matters relating to abandoned property.The Department of Environmental Quality (top) and the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (bottom) are the lead agencies regarding historical wrecks and abandoned property found on the state managed bottomlands of the Great lakes.