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the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
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about the permit process that protects public waters.

Waterway protection Boat shelter

Boat Shelter

Boat shelter

A boat shelter is a shore station or a boat lift which may have a roof but may not have walls or sides, it can be a seasonal or permanent structure designed and constructed for the purpose of providing cover for a berth place for watercraft,. Such a structure may include a boat hoist or lift.

The following decision tool will assist you in determining of your new boat shelter needs authorization from the department.

Determine permit required

This is a text link version of our Boat shelter 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 shelter 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 :

Will your boat shelter be installed and removed on a seasonal basis or be permanently placed?

If your answer is “Seasonal,”:

You've answered Seasonal:

A boat shelter placed on your property on a seasonal basis may not need a permit at all! Please review this check-list to make sure your seasonal boat shelter meets all necessary standards. If it does great go ahead a place your boat shelter. Boat Shelter Exemption Check-list [PDF].

If your boat shelter does not meet the check-list and you cannot modify you design to meet the check-list, please apply for an Individual Permit to place a seasonal boat shelter. *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 be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the Permit Application Checklist [PDF] and also be sure to review the Sample Drawings [PDF] for this activity.

If your answer is "Permanent,” go to Question 2.

If your answer is “I don't know,”:

You've answered I don't know:

  • A seasonal boat shelter is a structure that is completely removed from the waterway between December 1 and April 1 annually.
  • A permanent boat shelter is a structure that is in the water all year long.

Question 2 :

Will your permanent boat shelter be located on either:

  • A lake or flowage less than 500 acres - ** Remember, when determining if your lake or flowage is less than 500 acres, keep in mind that a series of lakes or flowages is considered a single lake or flowage **
  • Any river or stream (EXCEPT for the Mississippi river, the Wolf river from Lake Butte des Morts to the upstream limits of the village of Fremont, and the Fox river from the DePere dam to Lake Winnebago) - ** Remember navigation channels and reaches of rivers where water levels are controlled by a dam are considered part of the flowage they are connected to **

You've answered Yes.

If your answer is “Yes,”:

Construction of permanent boat shelters is not allowed on small lakes or on rivers and streams (except for the Mississippi river, the Wolf river from Lake Butte des Morts to the upstream limits of the village of Fremont, and the Fox river from the DePere dam to Lake Winnebago). You can either place a seasonal boat shelter according to standards [PDF], or cover your watercraft in an alternative way.

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

You've answered I don't know.

If your answer is “I don't know,”:

To help you figure out if your property is located on a river, or a flowage, and to determine the size of your flowage, please use our web-based mapping tool - the surface water data viewer. Choose the link titled "Help Guide" located on the left side of this part of the page if you need assistance using this tool.

Question 3 :

Do you have a wet boathouse on your property or a dry boathouse located within 75 ft of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM)?

If your answer is “Yes,”:

You've answered Yes:

Currently under state law Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 326.055(4)(b) [PDF exit DNR] no permanent boat shelters are allowed to be permitted on properties that have existing wet boathouses, or dry boathouses located within 75 ft of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM).

You've answered No.

If your answer is “No”:

You will need to apply for an individual permit to place a permanent boat shelter. 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 be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the Permit application checklist [PDF] and also be sure to review the Sample Drawings [PDF] for this activity.

Exemptions

Laws

Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.12, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and Chapter Rule NR 326, 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].

Sample drawings and other materials

Last revised: Tuesday June 20 2017