About Us

A Brief History of the Marine Patrol
In the early 1960's, as the boating population on Michigan's inland and Great Lakes waterways began to increase, the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department saw a need to establish a marine law enforcement unit to deal with the problems associated with this increase in boating traffic. In 1964 the first county marine law enforcement unit began operations with officers patrolling predominantly the northern portion of the county, which included the southern tip of Lake Huron and the northern portion of the St. Clair River. The first patrol boat was donated by the business community and was staffed by two deputies who patrolled mostly on weekends and holidays. Since those early years, the Marine Patrol has met the demands of the explosion in the boating population and has expanded to its current level. The Marine Unit now patrols the entire county waterway system from the eastern portion of Lake St. Clair with its many busy bays - known as the St. Clair River delta region - to the southern tip of Lake Huron - an area of over 110 shoreline miles. This entire water area of southeastern Michigan is known worldwide as the busiest marine thoroughfare for pleasure boats. Most of Michigan's pleasure boats can be found in this area, which includes St. Clair County.

The Marine Patrol is funded jointly by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the County of St. Clair. Under the original Public Act #303 (1967) and amended by Public Act #451 (1994) all Michigan counties may apply for grants through the Michigan DNR. These grants permit the DNR to fund up to 75% of a county's marine operational and equipment costs. The remaining funds are provided by the individual county.

The Marine Patrol through its officers is affiliated with the:

  • Integrated Border Enforcement Team
  • Joint Operations Team
  • Joint Intelligence Group
  • International Association of Marine Investigators
  • Southeast Michigan Area Maritime Security Committee
  • National Safe Boating Council
  • Boat US

To find out more about who we are and what we do please check our other links.