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Shoreline Master Programs photo

Shoreline Master Programs

Exemptions for docks

This exemption refers to "construction of a dock, including a community dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of single and multiple family residences."

This exception applies:

  1. in salt waters, if the fair market value of the dock does not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars($2,500); or
  2. in fresh waters, if the fair market value of the dock does not exceed: (I) Twenty thousand dollars for docks that are constructed to replace existing docks, are of equal or lesser square footage than the existing dock being replaced, and are located in a county, city, or town that has updated its master program consistent with the master program guidelines (173-26 WAC); or (II) ten thousand dollars for all other docks constructed in fresh waters.

However, if subsequent construction occurs within five years of completion of the prior construction, and the combined fair market value of the subsequent and prior construction exceeds the amount specified in either (A) or (B), the subsequent construction shall be considered a substantial development.

Docks, not decks!

Docks are defined in state law specifically as places to tie up a boat. The exemption from permit requirements does not extend to overwater recreation spaces such as a deck. Decks are considered a residential appurtenance and must be located landward of the OHWM or the perimeter of a marsh, bog or swamp in order to be exempt.

For more information

Contact Ecology's shoreline permit reviewer serving your town, city, or county.