Do I Need a Permit to Build a Dock?

As a waterfront property owner, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations around dock permits. In some cases, constructing or installing a dock for your property may not require a permit as long as you comply with a handful of dock planning regulations. For others, a general dock permit may be required by your state. Knowing where and when dock permits are needed will help you plan for and build the dock you want. 

Who Needs a Dock Permit?

Dock permit policies, regulations, and laws vary from state to state and may also be based on homeowner association (HOA) rules. The best way to find out if you need a permit for a dock is to consult your state’s regulations first, then move to your county, city, or HOA. A quick online search can be a helpful first step in determining specific dock planning regulations in your state.

Dock permit requirements differ based on several factors. These can include the number of permits required, whether or not public notice is needed and if regular maintenance on your dock will require a permit. For example, consider the permit policies in North Carolina versus Georgia. While one joint permit process is required in North Carolina, three permits are needed in Georgia.

Common Requirements When Building a Dock on a Lake

When applying for a dock permit, you should follow a number of standard regulations in your plans. If you own a waterfront home and are considering building a private dock, your HOA may require you to submit an application as well as pay a fee to obtain a permit. This will give you the go-ahead to build a private pier on your property.

Once you receive a dock permit, there are typically some rules and restrictions you must follow. While these regulations vary by state and HOA, here are a few of the most common requirements when building a dock on a lake:

  • No area of the dock is wider than 8 feet.
  • The dock is not be used as a marina.
  • The dock enables the free flow of water beneath it.
  • The dock is not a hazard to safety, health, or navigation.
  • The dock complies with local government guidelines.
  • The dock is no longer than necessary to achieve its intended use.
  • The dock is not combined with other similar structures to create a more massive system.
  • Docks on rock-filled cribs are located on waters where the bed is mostly bedrock. 

In some states, permits require your dock display a dock ID and be built from a specific material. There may also be a requirement your dock must not be enclosed using roofs or sides.

The Importance of Dock Planning and Regulations

Why are policies and regulations for dock building necessary? Dock permits are essential because they:

  • Ensure public access to the rest of the lake or waterway.
  • Protect the surrounding ecosystem against damage and erosion.
  • Maximize the offsets of any neighboring properties.

Contact Us to Learn About Our Docks and Installation Processes 

For over 26 years, EZ Dock has manufactured maintenance-free, durable, and slip-resistant polyethylene docks. EZ Dock floating docks do not require land penetration underwater and are engineered to be conscious of local waterways and ecosystems. Whether you need convenient access to the water or are looking for a low-maintenance dock, EZ Dock has the solutions for you. 

Contact EZ Dock today for a quote or to learn more about our docks and installation processes.