Dock Permit

Engineer Corps Permits Required for Docks, Moorings on Lake Charlevoix

USACELCA Board members have recently come to know two important facts regarding dock permits on Lake Charlevoix. One is that seasonal structures (i.e. docks, boat & Jet Ski hoists, swim rafts, trampolines, moorings, etc.) on Lake Charlevoix require a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The second is that relatively few riparians have a permit in place for their seasonal structures.

Lake Charlevoix is a navigable water of the United States. Under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, the Corps’ authorization is required for any construction or work in navigable waters. Most riparians seem to know that a permit is required for all permanent docks and permanent moorings, but we are finding that many waterfront property owners do not know that even seasonal moorings and docks also require a permit.

Why should you obtain a permit for your dock? Well first it is the law, but perhaps of more interest to you is that you may be more open to liability issues in the case of an accident if you do not have the required permit. Not having a permit might give an insurance company an out.

What does it cost and what is the procedure? Importantly, the Corps has: no application fees; no permit fees for minor permits (most seasonal structures); and only a 10-dollar permit fee for more-than-minor, non-commercial permits. There is an application to fill out with your address etc. and a description of your dock that seems straightforward. Click here to open the application form. On the application, you will need to fill in Sections 1-9 and then 10-E for a seasonal dock, and 10-K for a mooring. A permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is not needed for a dock or a mooring.

Barbara Scott, our contact person with the Corps (906) 635-3461, is more than willing to work with LCA, and all of us to help Lake Charlevoix riparians get their permits. Of course, choosing to apply for a permit is an individual decision, but the LCA Board feels it is important that we make an effort to help everyone know and understand the rules.


Photo Credit: cparadis