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how Wisconsin protects waterways by holding them in trust for everyone to enjoy.
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the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
Learn
about the permit process that protects public waters.

Waterway protection Boat ramps (landings)

Boat Ramp (landings)

Boat Ramp (landings)

A boat ramp or boat landing can provide access to public water where limited access already exists. A permit is required to place concrete planks, gravel, rock or other materials on public lake or streambed for the purpose of providing access to public waters.

Different permitting options are available depending on the type of boat ramp or landing you want to install. General permits are available for boat ramps open to the public (like city owned ramps), or boat ramps on larger lakes that have limited existing boat ramps. Individual permits are available for private boat ramps, like those for a campground, or resort, etc.

Determine Permit Required

This is a text link version of our Boat Ramp (landings) interactive question and answer module. If you are seeing this message, you currently have JavaScript disabled or are in compatibility mode while using Internet Explorer. This text version is here to help you understand if you need a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for your Boat Ramp (landings) project, and if so, which one. Please go through and answer each question. This will help you determine which permit you will need.

Question 1 :

Are you a riparian?

If your answer is "Yes” go to Question 2.

You've answered No.

If your answer is “No,”:

You are not eligible for a Section 30.12 structure permit.

Question 2 :

Is the project located in an area determined to be an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 4.

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 3.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is located in a water body that is designated as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)

Question 3 :

Will the project be located in an area determined to be a Public Rights Feature (PRF)?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

There are no general permits to place a boat ramp in a Public Rights Feature. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has a sample drawing to help you submit a complete application.

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 5.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is a Public Rights Feature (PRF).

Question 4 :

Will the boat landing/launch be constructed AND maintained by a local, state or federal agency?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 5.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Only boat landings built and maintained by a governmental agency can be placed in an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) under a General Permit. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has a sample drawing to help you submit a complete application.

Question 5 :

Will your boat landing/launch be open to the general public?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 6.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

General permits are only available for boat landings/launches that will be open to the general public. Please fill out and apply for an individual permit to place a boat landing that will not be open to the general public. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has a sample drawing to help you submit a complete application.

Question 6 :

Will your boat landing/launch be located in or across a wetland?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

General permits are not available for boat landings/launches located in or across wetlands. Please fill out and apply for an individual permit to place a boat landing in or across wetlands. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has a sample drawing to help you submit a complete application

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

You may qualify for a general permit. To apply for a General Permit. Please visit the General permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the general permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has a sample drawing to help you submit a complete application.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the locating wetlands page to determine this. Once complete, please go back to and answer appropriately.

Exemptions

  • There are no exemptions for boat ramps.

Protect your waterway

Federal law requires land owners with project sites that are 1 acre in size or more to obtain stormwater management permits. Visit Water Permits and choose the "stormwater" tab to apply for stormwater permits.

Laws

Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.12, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and Chapter NR 329, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR].

Local permits and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations may also apply. We advise you to contact your local zoning office and your regional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday August 26 2014