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What's Up Dock?

You just purchased your Up North slice of heaven and cannot wait to get on the water, and while installing a pier may seem like an easy process, the last thing you want as a new homeowner is a dispute with a neighbor over pier rights. 

Most existing piers are exempt from needing a DNR permit but when installing a new pier certain DNR guidelines need to be followed. Always check with your local zoning office for any additional restrictions.


PLACEMENT: Only a waterfront property owner (the riparian) is allowed to place a pier. All Wisconsin waterways are public, but the pier, lift and other structures are private property of the riparian.  All piers must be placed in the "exclusive riparian zone" which is the space in the waterway adjacent to the property using the lot lines as points of reference. Piers may be as long as necessary to reach 3-foot water depth or an adequate depth for a boat lift/hoist. A pier may not obstruct waterway navigation.

DIMENSIONS: Six feet is the maximum width allowed for a pier, but a wider area is permitted as long as it is used as a loading platform. The surface area of the loading platform cannot exceed 200 square feet. A pier may be placed in a variety of configurations such as a T,L, straight, and catwalks/finger piers may used as long as they meet these size limits. A pier cannot enclose any part of the waterway. Wisconsin does not limit the number of piers allowed per property


BOAT SLIPS: Two boat slips (or total watercraft docked) are allowed per 50 feet of shoreline frontage. For every additional 50 feet of frontage only one boat slip or watercraft is allowed.

BOAT LIFTS & SHELTERS: For lakes under 1,000 acres, the maximum size for a boat lift and shelter is 12' wide by 24' long. For lakes over 1,000 acres the maximum size is 14' wide by 24' long. Shelters can have a roof or a canopy but cannot have sides/walls and must be removed seasonally. Lifts can remain in place year-round. 

SWIMMING RAFTS: A swimming raft or trampoline can be placed within 200' of shore as long as it is properly anchored, is not greater than 200 square feet and does not exceed 38 inches in height. It must be in the exclusive riparian zone and cannot interfere with public waterway rights. 

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