Docks, Piers & Boat Slips on Lake Norman Waterfront Homes Explained

Often the terms docks, piers and boat slips are used interchangeably when discussing waterfront structures on Lake Norman. This article provides a base definition of the terms and some of the guidelines that go along with them.

Any construction or existing of a pier, dock or boat slip below the 760 elevation level (considered full pond and sometimes listed as 100 ft) on Lake Norman comes under the regulation of Duke Energy Lake Services (DELS). The maximum square footage over the water (beyond the 760 line) for piers, docks or boat slips is 1000 sq.ft. If there is a roof over a boat slip then the total square footage of the uncovered area added to the square footage undercover cannot exceed 1000 sq.ft. Here is a detailed article about covered boat slips on Lake Norman.

Piers: A pier is a fixed structure that protrudes from the water’s edge into the 760 elevation line and into the water. Typical width is around 5 feet but they vary. The length is determined by many factors including the distance needed to get adequate water depth and specific design to stay within the maximum sq.ft. allowed. A dock/boat slip can be added to the end of the pier based on 1,000 sq.ft. regulations.
Lake Norman Waterfont Home Pier

Pier with Gazebo

Docks: A dock is wider than a pier and can be fixed or floating. Floating docks, like their name indicates, have flotation devices attached underneath that allow them to float in the water. On the other hand, fixed, docks are attached directly to the pilings and do not rise and fall with the lake level. With a fixed dock you access lake by stairs and/or a boat lift. If your property gets a lot of wake, a fixed dock can substantially reduce the wear and tear on your dock. In the past, fixed docks were more expensive than a floating dock. Today most dock builders say they have similar costs.
Covered Boat Slip with Lift on Waterfront Lot

Covered Boat Slip with Lift

Waterfront Fixed Dock with Stairs

Fixed Dock with Stairs

Floating Boat Slip

Floating Boat Slip

Boat Slips: If a dock is constructed with a space for a boat, it is called a boat slip. It’s like the lake version of a parking space. The slip will vary depending on size but most will accommodate the width of a pontoon boat.

Note: There have been significant changes over the past decade which has created more restrictive guidelines. If you see homes with permitted docks over 1,000 sq. ft., they are considered “grandfathered” (Non-compliant but permitted). The footprint of these docks can be maintained but no additions or modifications can be made unless you are to conform to current guidelines.

If a dock/boat slip exists but needs repairs a maintenance application is required for any updates or improvements including but not limited to: replacing dock boards, framing, or structural changes. When replacing pilings, floats, or boat lifts a permit is not required.

Additional Information

Catawba Basin Lakees

Catawba Basin Lakes

 

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