Crossing Lake Michigan on the USS badger from Wisconsin to Ludington Michigan

We will be Crossing Lake Michigan on the USS badger from Wisconsin to Ludington Michigan. I was told these are international waters. What are the rules and regulations as far as caring a firearm in our luggage or carry concealed?

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Welcome to the Community, @Eric5! That’s a great question!!

Looking at Google Maps, Lake Michigan is not international waters:

I’ve indicated the international boundary (solid line) with red arrows and the state boundaries (dotted line) with green arrows.

Lake Michigan is bound by three US states and does not border Canada.

That being said, I might call and ask if you’re allowed to have firearms on the Badger. They have this disclaimer on their brochure:

SECURITY: Lake Michigan Carferry reserves the right to inspect all vehicles, luggage and carry-on items with explosive detection dogs. Water bottles and non-alcoholic beverages may be brought on board. Outside food and coolers of any size are not permitted. Coolers must be left on the luggage cart or in a vehicle. Ticket offices, parking lots, staging areas, and the S.S. Badger are monitored 24 hours a day by surveillance cameras or security personnel. (LMC is not responsible for damage to vehicles left in parking lot.)

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Please check with the Port Authority to see if things have changed.
I took this boat trip when my wife and I did a motorcycle tour around Michigan a few years ago. I had a CC on my body and two other handguns locked in gun safes in a locked container on the bike.

At that time I checked with the Port Authority at Ludington to find out what if any special provisions I had to do (declare or give to boat Captain) during the crossing. I was told I did NOT have to declare them and as long as I did not draw my CC without cause I would be fine.

I was also told if boarding crew asked to inspect my vehicle I should tell them at that time there were weapons.

For my own piece of mind I had three copies of what I was transporting with weapon make, model, caliber and serial numbers along with an exact count of rounds for each. I put one in the locked compartment where the weapons were secured, one in my wallet and one I had to give to a crew member if asked.

I had no issues at all and was never asked for nor declared the weapons to anyone other than the Port Authority office the day before.

Again, check with the Port Authority as maritime law on the water is different than dealing with LEO on dry land.


Thanks for the great info, @DBrogue!

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I have been around the block a time or three and try to share the wealth of useless (or so I thought at the time) information rattling around in my head. :crazy_face:


Ya know… the more I look at this, the less I think I’m going to do it. I had NO idea this was such an issue.

I rode the ferry last week. When you check-in, the people at the entrance to the dock parking area ask your name and if you have any firearms and what type (pistol, long gun, etc.). Although mine was stowed, they did not asked to see it. All they do is put a special marker under your windshield wiper and that’s that. They also have a canine present and he will detect your firearm (he detected mine by laying down next to my truck and the security officer asked if I had a firearm)


@Robert35 thank you for the update! that’s useful information :slight_smile:

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