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Lake Saint Clair

Macomb County
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Lake Type: Great Lake
Area: 275200 acres
Lake Orient.: Round
Max. Depth: 27 ft

Lake Saint Clair is a large (approximately 430 sq miles) but relatively shallow lake, with an average depth of ~11 feet. Although not technically a "Great Lake", through the connecting Saint Clair and Detroit rivers, the lake connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie. Sailing Lake Saint Clair should be considered the same as Great Lakes sailing, with all the associated joys and hazards. Additional ramps (not on the map below)  are cataloged under Saint Clair and Wayne Counties. Please see our specific Lake Saint Clair page for more information on sailing associations and resources for this lake.


General Lake Saint Clair "No Wake" Zones

  • No wake is permitted within 100 feet of shore, swimming areas, swimmers, anchored boats and rafts
  • No wake within 600 feet of shore in Saint Clair Shores (11 mile and Grosse Point Shores)
  • Maximum speed limit within 1 mile of shore is 55 mph


Ramp "A" - Brandenburg Park Boat Launch. This 17 acre park is located at 50050 Jefferson Avenue and has several amenities for the family (basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, picnic areas, and playground). The park also has a 500 foot pier extending into Lake Saint Clair (Anchor Bay). In addition to being a popular site for summer sailors, Brandenburg Park is also a popular site for Iceboating. The International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association offers the following advice for Iceboaters: "When sailing out of Brandenburg, avoid the ice to the right of the launch, particularly the point of land visible from the launch area. This area to the right is known for gas holes, and the ice off the point of land is usually cracked and dangerous. Also keep in mind that this is a large body of water, and Anchor Bay is open to Lake St. Clair to the South. Keep a weather eye open, and avoid sailing in strong offshore winds (it's a 25 miles to the Canadian shore)."


Ramp "B" - Clinton River Cut Off (DNR) Launch. This large, multi-ramp, DNR launch is located at 36110 Jefferson Ave., Harrison Township (adjacent to Hideaway Yacht Sales). Located just north of the Clinton River Spillway, this launch directly accesses the L'anse Creuse Bay portion of Lake Saint Clair.

Ramp "C" - Harley-Ensign Boat Launch. This is a large launch facility located at the end of a peninsula (on South River Road) in Harrison Twp. The ramps launch near the mouth of the Clinton River on Lake Saint Clair (at Anchor Bay) and are located about a mile from the North Star Sail Club. The facility contains 7 short launching piers, 14 ramps, and restrooms. The launch has no discernable beaching area or docking (tie down) piers. In season, its hours of operation are 4 am to 11 pm and the ramps are likely to be very busy, on weekends in particular. Because of its size (over 300 parking spaces), watch for very specific traffic patterns.

Ramp "D" - Lake Saint Clair Metropark. The metropark technically has two launch facilities and a marina. A large launch, with 8 ramps and intervening piers, is located at the north end of the park on Black Creek (indicated by the "D" marker on the map). These ramps are suitable for larger craft and feed into the park's North and South marinas. The marinas are connected to Lake Saint Clair (Campau Bay) by a long channel (approx. 4000 ft). The park's marinas provides transient dockage for up to 265 vessels. Services at the South marina include: 30/50A Electrical service, Pump out, Restrooms, Showers, and Park facilities. In addition to the marina launch, the park is reported to have separate day-sail launch (2 ramps), located on the park's southern shore. The ramps (located on Sail Rd.) discharge directly into Lake Saint Clair (L'anse Creuse Bay). Visual inspection of this launch (Sept. 2013) revealed it to be extremely shallow and  labeled as a "Jet Ski" only launch. Although there were signs indicating a separate "day sail" launch, none was found to exist. Due to the depth (and posted restrictions), this ramp will not be usable for daysailing purposes.


In addition to being a popular Summer sailing venue, Metro Beach is also popular is Iceboaters as well. The IDNIYRA recommends the following: "When sailing out of Metro Beach, sailors are advised to sail to the South and West (right) of the launch, and avoid the ice to the East of the launch site. Also keep in mind that this is a large body of water, Lake St. Clair is 25 miles across, and ice breakers keep a channel open to the East all winter. Keep a weather eye open, and avoid sailing in strong offshore (North or West) winds."


Ramp "E" - St. Clair Shores Harbor of Refuge. Located off of William P Rosso Highway, this harbor is reported to offer no slips or service, but can be reached at (810) 445-5270 (Mid Apr-Mid Oct). Launch facilities at the harbor include 10 ramps which access (beyond the harbor wall) Lake Saint Clair directly.

Ramp "F" - St. Clair Shores (9 mile) Municipal Ramp. On a trial basis, this ramp has been newly opened to non-residents for the 2012 boating season. Located behind the Chapaton Pumping Station (23001 East 9 Mile Road), this launch has two ramps which discharge into a channel which accesses Lake Saint Clair. Sailboats using this launch will have to motor approximately 1000 ft along the channel to the lake. Ramp fees are $10 a day for everyone, with season passes costing $65 for residents and $100 for non-residents.

To obtain a NOAA Booklet navigational chart for Lake Saint Clair, click on the Download Michigan DNR Map button below. The chart is available as a PDF file.

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