Dock and float regulations and guidelines
Several regulations may apply to your docks and floats. New York Protection of Waters Permits states that a dock may be installed without a Protection of Wetland Permit if it will hold no more than 5 boats, can fit into a perimeter of less than 4000 square feet in area, does not extend more than 100 feet out from shore, and does not interfere with navigation on the waters or other owners’ riparian rights. More information can be found at the NYS DEC Permit Site.
A Town Wetlands Permit may also be required for new or changed docks and floats. You can find out more about wetland permits and regulations from the Lewisboro Town Web Site and the Planning Board office at 914 763-5592.
NYS DEP also regulates some of the wetland areas around our lakes and their office may want to review any activities in or influencing their wetlands.
Floats have unique regulations, including a NYS Floating Object Permit with its associated restrictions. Briefly, upland owners may place one swimming float of not more than 100 square feet in the waters adjacent to and within the boundaries of their shoreline, provided that this float is not more than 100 feet from shore and provided it does not interfere with “free and safe” navigation or free access to any other person’s property. An owner may also place out one mooring buoy with the same distance and navigational restrictions. However, all vessels on a mooring buoy must display lights as prescribed by the State’s Navigation Law so that they do not interfere with free passage.
In general, the lake associations have discouraged boats on moorings in our lakes because many of the homes have limited shorelines.
When installing flotation under a dock or float, consider using a tub to contain the foam. It will limit the addition of plastic particles to our lakes and shorelines, and discourage animals from living within the flotation.
Great Reference Documents
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has published a Dock Primer that contains helpful information on building and maintaining docks. The companion document, The Shore Primer, is also a great publication for lakeshore management.