Boat Docks and Austin Boat Dock Permits


Construction on, under, or next to the water in Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, or Lake Walter E. Long may require specific reviews and permits (§25-2-1171). Examples of typical construction projects include:

boat docks
boat slips
boat lifts

floating docks


stationary platforms
shoreline access
other similar structures


What you will find on this page:


What can I do...

Without a Permit

  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Limited Landscaping
  • Place Furniture
  • Limited Lighting


With an Approved Site Plan Exemption

  • Simple dock re-decking
  • Repair of the existing structure with a building permit
  • Maintenance of existing structure with a building permit
  • Work that does not require a variance or approval from a city board or commission.
  • Repair an existing legally constructed bulkhead if the repair does not exceed 25% of the bulkhead or portion of a bulkhead, and if no repair to the bulkhead was done without a site plan in the previous three (3) years.

Exemption Resources


With an Approved Site Plan Permit

  • Any changes to a structure
  • Any new construction
  • Replacing parts of a structure, including load-bearing beams, walls, piers, or pilings
  • Adding new walls
  • Any demolition of the existing structure
  • Adding or expanding of the existing footprint of the dock or shoreline access
  • Place anything underwater elevation

Site Plan Permit Resources


iconHow to Apply

step 1  Determine what you need

Review the What can I do chart to determine if you need a permit, site plan exemption, or a site plan permit.


step 2  Apply for Site Plan Exemption or Site Plan Permit

Site Plan Exemptions
  1. Complete the Site Plan Exemption Application and
  2. Submit through the Land Development Information Services Site Plan Exemption Intake Form
Site Plan Permits
  1. Complete the Residential New Construction and Addition Permit Application and
  2. Submit through Land Use Review Intake


step 3  Apply for a Building Permit

Residential Boat Docks - Requires an approved site plan
  1. Complete the General Permit Application and
  2. Submit through the Service Center
Commercial Boat Docks - Requires an approved site plan
  1. Complete the Commercial Building Application and
  2. Submit through Commercial Plan Review
iconRegistering a Boat Dock

The City of Austin's Boat Dock Registration Program aims to improve boat dock visibility for public safety personnel on the lake when responding to emergency calls for service. This program was established in response to Austin City Council Resolution No. 20130829-078, adopted on August 29, 2013. 

iconAddressing a Boat Dock

City Ordinance No. 20140626-113 requires proper addressing of boat dock structures on Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, and Lake Walter E. Long (§ 25-2-1180). 

iconBoat Dock Site Plan Exemption Resources
iconBoat Dock Site Plan Permit Resources

For questions about boat dock & bulkhead environmental regulations, please contact

For complaints and inspections, contact