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Waterway Structure Registration
Private Dock photo                          
 Private Dock on Alsea River, photo by Chris Castelli                          
Does your dock or float need to be registered?
The State of Oregon owns the submerged and submersible land underlying many of the state’s waterways. The State Land Board, which consists of the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, is charged with managing this land on behalf of all Oregonians. The Department of State Lands (DSL), as the Land Board’s administrative arm, is responsible for the day-to-day management of this publicly-owned resource.
In many places throughout Oregon, people have constructed or placed structures on state-owned submerged and submersible land. These structures range from large commercial marinas to small, private use docks. In almost all cases, state law requires that the owner of a structure placed on publically-owned submerged and submersible land must obtain authorization from DSL to occupy that land.
Waterway Structure Registration
In 1998, the Land Board adopted administrative rules that allow certain, privately-owned, non-commercial structures such as docks, floats, boat houses and floating recreational cabins to obtain the appropriate authorization from DSL in the form of a simplified registration rather than a lease.
The following uses of state-owned submerged and submersible lands must be registered with DSL:
  • Non-commercial docks/floats and boat houses smaller than 2,500 square feet and associated gangways, dolphins, pilings and protective booms
  • Non-commercial floating recreational cabins smaller than 1,500 square feet and associated gangways, dolphins, pilings and protective booms
  • Water sport structures (unless authorized by the Oregon Marine Board with a Special Use Device Permit)
  • Any similar structure determined by DSL to be registerable                                              

The fee for a registration varies depending on the size of the structure and type of use. Registration fees are paid every five years.

Other Registrations, Agreements and Licenses


  • Public Facility License (15-year registration)
  • Revetments, Attenuators, Retaining Walls and Riprap (5-year registration or 30-year easement)
Prior to construction of a public facility or other erosion-preventative structure, an application must be submitted to and permission obtained from the Department. There is a $750 application fee for a Public Facility license; no application fee for Erosion Preventative structures; and $750 for a 30-year easement.
  • Wharf Structures
DSL requires a Wharf Structure Certification Application for structures actively and exclusively used in receipt and discharge of merchandise. The application also is required for structures performing an active government function. Wharf certifications are issued for a period of ten (10) years.  There is no charge for a certification.

  Waterway structure registration Q&A
Recreational cabin, Russian Island, Columbia River
Photo by Larry Potter
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