Have you registered your boat mooring yet? Wait, what??

Have you registered your boat mooring yet? Wait, what??
Photo by Antonio Arcos / Unsplash

At its December 14th meeting, the Putnam Valley town board passed a resolution requiring anyone with a floating buoy in one of our special district lakes to register those buoys with the town clerk - or face a steep fine.

Here's a link to the resolution. This new town code applies to you if you have "a floating object anchored to the bottom of a water body that provides tie-up capabilities for boats." So, presumably, it applies to rafts as well as boats.

The process of registering your mooring, as laid out in the resolution, is quite onerous. First, you have to "furnish documentation of receipt of all approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)."

In response to our inquiry about how we could obtain the necessary DEC documentation, a program aide in the Division of Environmental Permits offered this guidance:  

"A Protection Of Waters Permit is required for constructing, reconstructing, or repairing docks or platforms and installing moorings on, in or above navigable waters to create docking facilities, mooring areas or to facilitate other activities. To apply for a permit, please email an electronic copy of the following documents to DEP.R3@dec.ny.gov:

  • Joint Application Form
  • Location Map
  • Project Plans
  • Photographs
  • Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)

You can find more information on Protection of Waters application procedures at https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6333.html."

Assuming you obtain all this documentation from the DEC, you would then take that, plus proof that you are a Putnam Valley resident, to the town clerk's office. You'll then get a registration tag that has to be fixed to the mooring. And you have to do this annually! The permit period runs from April 1st until March 31st the following year.

What's the penalty if you get caught not complying? The resolution states that, "Any person failing to comply with this law will be levied a $500 fine and may face confiscation of the offending boat. Subsequent offenses by the same individual or property owner will result in a doubling of the preceding fine. Each week' s continued violation shall constitute a separate violation."

A public hearing on this proposed change to the town code took place on November 30th. In her brief summary of the resolution, Supervisor Annabi did not describe the extensive DEC process that would be required or provide details of the proposed fines. Only one person was visible in the audience at the hearing and there were no comments about this proposed new law from council members. No residents submitted letters during the two-week public comment period. At the December board meeting, the full language of the resolution was not read aloud; the board passed the new law unanimously.

Town Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi said the new mooring code was created to prevent non-residents from mooring pontoons, jet skis, and other boats in town lakes. She said the state had always required permitting of mooring buoys, but without a town code in place, it could not be enforced.

If you have questions about any of this, the district clerk is holding meetings on March 4th at Town Hall. The times are 9am to 10:30am for Roaring Brook Lake, 10:30am to 11:15am for Wildwood Knolls and 11:15am to 12:30pm for Lake Peekskill.