Boater Permit Request

Boats at dock.
Boats at dock.

Day Boaters

Boaters who are in the park for one day, and who do not overnight, do not need a permit. However, as Lake Superior is an unpredictable lake, we do recommend a day permit just in case.

Day boaters must pay entrance fees and receive an orientation at Houghton, Windigo, or Rock Harbor upon arrival.

Overnight Boaters

Isle Royale National Park requires a permit for all boaters who overnight in campgrounds, at dock, or at anchor. Boaters who are not entering Isle Royale National Park through Houghton, Rock Harbor, or Windigo have the option of requesting a permit prior to arrival in the park.

Please return your permit upon conclusion of your trip to any visitor center in person or through the mail (address is listed on the permit). Update any changes from your planned itinerary. Tracking use in this manner helps the park prioritize dock and campground maintenance.

Fees & Passes

Private boaters must pay entrance fees the same as all other visitors. The Isle Royale Season Pass is typically the most cost effective method of payment.

Useful Boater Resources


How to Permit Your Boat in Advance

There are two ways to request a boater permit:

  1. Contact the park by phone
  2. Fill out the online permit request form below (allow 24 hours for processing, Houghton Visitor Center is closed on Sundays)

Do all the sections below need to be filled out? Here are the specific sections Isle Royale needs: 

  1. Applicant Information: Fill it all out.

  2. Additional Contact Information: Fill it all out.
  3. Pass Information: If you have an Interagency Pass, fill out the appropriate section. If you have an Isle Royale Season Pass, you may enter the pass number in the America the Beautiful Pass section.
  4. Emergency Contact Information: Fill it all out.
  5. Mode of Transport: Fill out watercraft section. Ignore all other sections.
  6. Equipment: Fill out tent/shelter section. Ignore all other sections.
  7. Itinerary Details:
    • Fill out your dates.
    • Fill our your location: campground, docks, or anchorage zones.
    • Ignore alternate date and information section.
    • Contact the park if you need more than the 7 available itinerary sections. 

If there are any complications, the park will contact you at the phone or email listed. Click "submit form" to send your request to the park.

NPS Form 10-404 (Rev. 08/2017)
National Park Service
OMB Control No. 1024-0022
Expiration Date 08/31/2020

For the purposes of improving your visit, the National Park Service may seek to understand more about your visitor experience on this Wilderness/Backcountry trip. Are you willing to allow your contact information be used to follow up on social science information needs by the NPS in the future?

 Yes  No
 Yes  No
 Family  Friend









Off-Road Vehicle (ORV)

 Approved Bear Resistant Food Storage Container
 Avalanche Probe Poles
 Avalanche Tranceiver
 Avalanche Shovel
 Camp Stove
 Climbing Rope
 Fire Starter
 GPS Unit
 Human Waste Disposal/Pack Out System
 Ice Axe
 Supplemental Oxygen
 Water Purification Device/System
 Other Equipment
 Climbing Hardware
 Cellular Telephone
 Satellite Telephone
 Personal Locator Beacon or Device
 Emergency Signaling Device(s)
 Tent or Shelter (including hammock)
 Snow Sled/Sledge
 Watercraft or Vessel (includes kayak and canoe)
 Pack and Saddle Stock
 First Aid Kits
 Minor First Aid Kits
 Major First Aid Kits
 U.S. Coast Guard Approved Life Jackets
 Dog Team/Sled
 Flexible Itinerary
 Similar/Nearby Campsites
 Reversed Itinerary
 Alternate Dates

Privacy Act Statement

General: This information is provided pursuant to Public Law 93-579 (Privacy Act of 1974), December 21, 1984, for individuals completing this form.

Authority: 54 U.S.C. §100101, NPS Organic Act; 16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, Wilderness Act; 43 U.S.C. §1701 et seq., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act; 54 U.S.C. §200301-200310, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, as amended; 16 U.S.C. §6801-6814, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act; 36 CFR Part 71, Recreation Fees; and, 36 CFR 1.6, Permits.

Purpose and Uses: To establish and verify an applicant's eligibility for a permit to conduct certain activities within the National Park System and to process permits for individual members of the public and organizations interested in obtaining a permit authorizing an activity. Information collected will be used to provide the public and permittees with permit-related information, to monitor activities conducted under a permit, to analyze data and produce reports to monitor the use park resources, to assess the impact of permitted activities on the conservation and management of protected species and their habitats, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the permit programs. The DOI and NPS may use the information to meet reporting requirements, to generate budget estimates and track performance, and to assist park staff with visitors’ education, fee collection, resource management and protection, recreational use planning, law enforcement and public safety personnel for such purposes as emergency contact and search and rescue efforts; to provide permit holders and participants with information about parks and their partners; and to provide reports of activities conducted under an issued permit.

Based on the disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, the National Park Service may share information with first responders and Federal, state, and local governments to provide information needed to locate an individual or render aid in an emergency; to recover debts owed to the United States; to respond to a violation or potential violation of the law; in response to a court order and/or discovery purposes related to litigation; or other authorized routine use when the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

Effects of Nondisclosure: It is in your best interest to answer all of the questions. The U.S. Criminal Code, Title 18 U.S.C. 1001, provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony that may result in fines of up to $10,000 or 5 years in prison, or both. Deliberately and materially making false or fraudulent statements on this form will be grounds for not granting you a Backcountry/Wilderness Use Permit.

Information Regarding Disclosure of Your Social Security Number Under Public Law 93-579 Section 7(b): Your Social Security Number is not needed to complete this form.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

We are collecting this information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501) and 36 CFR 1-7, 12 and 13 which authorize the National Park Service to require applicants to fill out this form to monitor resources and to protect visitors. This information is being collected to allow the park management to make value judgements necessary to enhance the safety and enjoyment of both the visitors and wildlife. All applicable parts of the form must be completed in order for your request to be considered. You are not required to respond to this or any other Federal agency-sponsored information collection unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Estimated Burden Statement

Public Reporting burden for this form is estimated to average 8 minutes per response, including the time it takes for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining data, and completing and reviewing the form. Comments regarding this burden estimate or any aspect of this form should be sent to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, National Park Service, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr. (MS-242), Reston, VA 20192.

Last updated: January 3, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

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