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Construction, Reconstruction or Expansion of Docking and Mooring Facilities

Regulated Activities

A Protection Of Waters Permit is required for constructing, reconstructing, or repairing docks or platforms and installing moorings on, in or above navigable waters to create docking facilities, mooring areas or to facilitate other activities.

A docking facility is any marina, boat basin, marine terminal and any other areas on navigable waters containing a single structure or a collection of related structures such as docks, piers, bulkheads, breakwaters and pilings used for the reception, securing and protection of boats, ships, barges or other watercraft. A mooring facility is defined as any device that is fixed in navigable waters to which a vessel can be made fast including buoys, chains, ropes, piles, spars and dolphins. A platform is generally a flat surface located in, on or over a water body, on which structures can be constructed or activities can be conducted. Some examples of activities requiring a permit are:

  • installation of a floating dock or dock constructed on piles;
  • establishment of a marina consisting of multiple docks and ramps, breakwaters and other in-water structures;
  • installation of a platform to accommodate a use or activity on or above the water (i.e., deck, boathouse);
  • restoring or rebuilding an existing dock, pier, or wharf;
  • substantially changing the use of an existing dock or platform;
  • the installation of mooring devices.

Exempt Activities

The most common activities which are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Protection of Waters Permit for a Dock and Mooring Facility are:

  1. Constructing, reconstructing or repairing docks or platforms, and installing moorings in, on or above navigable waters lying above underwater lands owned by the State of New York for which a lease or other approval authorizing use or occupancy of such lands has been obtained from the New York State Office of General Services. See Jurisdictions of Other Agencies.
  2. Constructing, reconstructing or repairing a docking facility for five or fewer boats and encompassing within its perimeter an area less than 4,000 square feet. Perimeter means a boundary encompassing all structures and related water surface area utilized at a docking facility including docks, piers, platforms, bulkheads, breakwaters, pilings, travel lanes and berthing areas. See a sample docking/mooring facility perimeter drawing.
  3. Establishing a mooring area for fewer than ten boats.
  4. Temporary anchoring where a boat is not attached to an in-place or fixed mooring device.
  5. The seasonal replacement or reinstallation of floating docks and other structures, exceeding the thresholds for regulated activities, which legally existed prior to May 4, 1993 or for which a permit was previously obtained.
  6. The relocation, replacement, or rearrangement of floating structures such as docks, ramps, walkways and anchoring devices within an approved perimeter.
  7. The ordinary maintenance and repair of structures such as repainting, re-driving piles or replacing boards in docks. Ordinary maintenance and repair does not include substantial reconstruction or restoration involving 50 percent or more of an existing structure.

Note: The exempt activities listed only represent exemptions for this section of the Protection of Waters Permit Program. Other DEC permits under other sections of the Protection of Waters Permit Program or under other Articles of the Environmental Conservation Law may be required.

Is Your Project Minor or Major?

Review time frames, procedures and requirements for public notice for applications are different for Minor and Major projects under the Uniform Procedures Act requirements (6NYCRR Part 621). Generally, Minor projects have shorter review time frames and require less public review. Minor Dock and Mooring Facility projects include:

  1. Construction or installation of docks, piers, wharves or other structures used solely as a landing place, providing dockage for 6 to 10 boats and encompassing an area of 4,000 to 8,000 square feet within the facility perimeter.
  2. The in-kind replacement of a structure on open supports.
  3. The establishment of a mooring facility for 10 to 20 boats.

All other activities are considered Major Dock, Platform or Mooring projects for purposes of review and public notice as required by the Uniform Procedures Act. For additional information, see our web page Getting an Environmental Permit.

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