Mooring Buoys
   

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO INSTALL/OWN A MOORING BUOY?

 
If you want to install a mooring buoy on state-owned aquatic lands, you will need authorization from Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). You will also need permits from other government agencies. 
 
Some mooring systems can damage underwater lands and vegetation. See our Mooring Buoy Brochure for information on DNR approved mooring buoy systems.
 
Follow the guide below to find out what steps you need to take.
 

I OWN SHORELINE PROPERTY

Residential landowners whose property abuts state-aquatic lands may use a recreational mooring buoy for free but must still register the buoy with DNR.
A mooring buoy qualifies for free use under RCW 79.105.430 if the conditions meet the following:
  • The applicant owns residential property next to state-owned shorelands, tidelands, or related beds of navigable waters (other than harbor areas)
  • The moored boat is used for private recreational purposes
  • The moored boat is not more than sixty (60) feet in length
  • The area being used for the buoy is not subject to prior rights
  • The mooring buoy will not obstruct use of previously authorized mooring buoys
  • The mooring buoy is located on state-owned aquatic lands, but as near to the shore of residence as practical
  • All applicable local, state, and federal rules and regulations have been met.​
 
How do I apply?
 
  1. Fill out the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) and Attachment E.  Use the Guides we have created as you complete your application.
  2.  Before applying for any other permits, send your completed application and any other documents to DNR.
 

I DON'T QUALIFY FOR A FREE BUOY

If you do not qualify for a free mooring buoy, you can apply for a Mooring Buoy License.
Mooring buoy licenses have a five-year term that can qualify for reauthorization at expiration. They also have an annual fee that depends on the length of your vessel.
You can get a discount if you pay for the entire license term up front. The 5th year free.
  • Vessels up to 30 feet: $175 per year
  • Vessels 31 feet – 60 feet: $275 per year plus leasehold tax.
  • Vessels greater than 60 feet in length: $500 per year plus leasehold tax.
How do I appy?
  1. Fill out the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) and Attachment E. Use the Guides we have created as you complete your application.
  2. Before applying for any other permits, send your completed application and any other documents to DNR.
  • Mail your completed application with a $25.00 Application Fee to:
DNR, Aquatic Resources Division
Attn: Mooring Buoy Program
1111 Washington ST SE; MS: 47021
Olympia, WA 98501
 
 

MY BUOY IS NOT AUTHORIZED

If you have an existing mooring buoy and you do not have DNR authorization, you will need to complete the steps listed above for a no-fee registration or a mooring buoy license.
 

I BOUGHT AN AUTHORIZED BUOY, AND I NEED TO PUT IT IN MY NAME

Congratulations on your new mooring buoy! To keep it in compliance, you will need to complete a change of ownership with DNR. You will need a bill of sale.
Please send an email to buoy@dnr.wa.gov with the following information:
  • DNR Authorization Number (example: 23-012345)
  • Your name and contact information
DNR staff will respond with instructions and provide you with an application form.
 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

DNR staff reviews all applications in the order received. After our initial review, we will contact you with any questions or provide you with your next steps to take.
 

I HAVE A COMPLAINT ABOUT A BUOY

Complete a complaint form for DNR staff to review and address. 
DNR has limited resources to remove individual unauthorized or abandoned structures from state-owned aquatic lands and prioritizes those areas of state-owned aquatic land that should be the focus of compliance efforts.