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New bill will ban anchors in the Straits of Mackinac

"Mackinac Bridge (Mackinaw City, Michigan)" by cmh2315fl is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Two bills introduced this week in Lansing would increase the legal penalties for large boat operators who don’t pass cautiously through the Straits of Mackinac.

Democratic representative Yousef Rahbi is a co-sponsor on both bills. He calls them “absolutely critical.”

“We cannot allow for our water, our way of life, to be threatened by negligence on the part the shipping industry,” said Rahbi.

If passed, large boat operators who knowingly drop anchor or drag a chain in the Straits of Mackinac would be held criminally liable. They could face felony charges, serve up to four years in prison, pay fines of up to ten-thousand dollars and cover environmental cleanup costs.

An anchor strike in 2018 damaged electrical lines and Enbridge's Line 5. Last spring a dragging chain dented Line 5.