Mooring Buoys
   

HOW DO I GET PERMISSION TO INSTALL A MOORING BUOY OR BOAT LIFT?

 
As steward of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR is responsible for ensuring the protection of the marine environment and for protecting navigational and public safety. Those looking to install a mooring buoy or boat lift on state-owned aquatic lands need authorization from DNR as well as permits from other agencies, depending on the location. 
 
Residential landowners whose property abuts state aquatic lands may use a recreational mooring buoy for free, but must still register the buoy with DNR and make sure the installation meets local zoning requirements. A mooring buoy qualifies for free use if the conditions meet all of these criteria:
  • 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.​
 
Some mooring system designs have the potential to damage underwater lands and marine vegetation around the buoy. See our Mooring Buoy Brochure for help selecting a system that best suits your area or contact a DNR Land Manager near you.