Recreational docks

Recreational docks in the Port of Vancouver

Fraser River

From Burrard Inlet to the Fraser River, recreational docks are a common sight in our waterfront communities. Many of those docks are along the hundreds of kilometres of shoreline within the federally-controlled Port of Vancouver, and therefore require the approval of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. When an upland property owner wants to build a new recreational dock within our jurisdiction—be it a single-owner or shared—we work with them to assess their proposal and any potential impacts to the environment.

By our definition, a recreational dock is a structure for mooring boats located immediately in front of an existing residential property. Recreational docks are for non-commercial, private use. Before a recreational dock is built within the port authority’s jurisdiction, the upland owner is required to go through our Project and Environment Review (PER) process for approval, and have a license issued for non-exclusive use.

The purpose of our recreational dock permitting process is to:

  • Reduce impacts on habitat, seabed, and the marine environment
  • Prevent or minimize negative affects to Indigenous groups, the public, or the legal rights of others
  • Prevent negative affects to navigational and public safety
  • Facilitate public access along the foreshore
  • Support an efficient and effective review of proposed recreational dock projects

Moratorium on recreational dock applications

The port authority has had a moratorium on recreational dock applications for over a decade. We are reviewing our approach to recreational docks with a goal of consistency and alignment with our land use plan and our Project and Environmental Review process. The end result of this work will be new guidelines and a consistent review process for future recreational dock applications. We’re working toward providing recreational dock owners and the public more information in 2020, and lifting the existing moratorium.

Repairs to existing docks

Though a moratorium on new docks is in place, owners of existing docks can apply for permits to make repairs or maintenance to their structures. If your existing dock requires repairs or maintenance, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.