What You Need to Know to Build a New Dock in BC

If you are looking to build a new dock on BC waters, there are some legal requirements and an approval process you must follow in order to proceed with construction.
Categories: Personal Insurance
Feb 7th, 2018 | By: Donna-Lea Billesberger

If you are looking to build a new dock on BC waters, there are some legal requirements and an approval process you must follow in order to proceed with construction. The Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations governs private moorage facilities including docks, boat ways/ramps and boat lifts. Below, we outline the ways you can obtain approval for building your dock. It is important to note, however, that your proposed dock must first be in compliance with local bylaws and zoning before authorization will be granted.

Applying for a Lease

You can submit an application for a lease, typically a term of 20 years. The annual leasing fee is $200 if the area is 2000 square metres or less. A higher fee will apply for areas larger than 2000 square metres. The applicant must be at least 19 years of age.

General Permissions

You may forego submitting an application for a lease if you meet the conditions and requirements as outlined by the General Permission. See the General Permission document and this checklist to see if you qualify. There is no fixed term and no annual fee.

Specific Permissions

Under certain situations, you will be required to seek Specific Permissions:

  • where general permissions prohibit building a dock on the proposed location
  • the facility to be built is a standalone boat lift or permanent boat way/ramp
  • the facility will be used for group moorage

If you are applying for Specific Permissions, a fee of $250 is applied. However, there is also no fixed term or annual fee. If you are not the waterfront property owner, you will require written consent from the owner. 

Requirements for Construction of All Docks

  • Docks cannot obstruct public access to the foreshore.
  • Docks must be in compliance with Canadian Coast Guard and building regulations.
  • Only one dock is permitted for each property.  
  • Proof of insurance is required by the waterfront property owner.

Additionally, you are prohibited from:

  • using the dock from any non-moorage purposes
  • filling below the natural boundary
  • dredging along the foreshore
  • building any solid core structures or cribs

For additional information and access to all application materials and guides, please see the Land Use - Private Moorage page on the Government of BC website.

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