The following set of terms are used throughout the Iowa DNR Boat Dock Permitting System. The terms below are not the full legal definitions, View the Legal Definitions.
Artificial Lake - Man-made lake or river impoundment to which the public has a right of access from land or from a navigable stream inlet.
Boat Hoist or Lift - A structure placed in the water or below the ordinary high-water mark for boat storage, including platforms for storage of personal watercraft. For the purposes of this chapter, a boat hoist that is designed to store multiple small vessels such as personal watercraft or one-person sailboats shall be treated as a single hoist.
Catwalk- A platform no more than four feet wide installed to provide access from a dock to a moored boat or boat hoist. Catwalks must be a minimum of 2 feet wide.
Common Dock - A single dock serving two or more adjoining shoreline properties. A maximum of 3 hoists or slips for each of the adjoining properties is allowed on a Class 1 common dock.
Dock - A platform-type structure extending from shoreline property over a public water body, including but not limited to platforms that provide access to boats moored on the water body.
Dock Management Area - An area designated by the department in the bed of a water body adjoining a state park, wildlife management area, or recreation area or adjoining a strip of land that was dedicated to the public and is subject to the jurisdiction of the department pursuant to Iowa Code section 461A.11, second unnumbered paragraph. A dock management area as designated by the department includes an area adjoining public land from which docks extend.
Electrical Requirements - To review the electrical requirements for docks, click here.
Exception Permit - Exemptions to the rule for length limit, hoist limit and platform size may be requested for Class 3 and Class 4 permits if the applicant justifies the need for an exception and proposes a configuration of dock(s) and hoists that minimizes adverse impacts on the water body and other users.
Mooring Buoy - A float (buoy) used to secure boats or other watercraft when not in use away from shore. Mooring buoys shall be white with a 2-inch blue reflective band clearly visible above the water; the buoy shall extend a minimum of 12 inches above the surface of the water and shall have at least 1 square foot of surface visible from any direction. IAC 571-41.9(1).
Natural Lake - A lake which at the time of the original government survey was transferred or retained by the public in accordance with the laws of Iowa upon admission into the union. The State of Iowa holds sovereign title in trust for the benefit of the public. IAC 571-13.3.
Offset - The distance between two points. In general, 10 foot offsets are required between structures. In order to comply with the 10 foot offset requirement, dock owners are expected to keep all docks, hoists or structures at least 5 feet inside the projection of their property line.
Rack - A frame placed over the dock, water or below the ordinary high-water mark used to store kayaks, canoes or other watercraft.
Riparian Owner - The owner of land adjacent to a body of water (shoreline property owner).
Shoreline Property - a parcel of property adjoining a lake or stream (waterfront property).
Slip - a mooring space to store a boat or other watercraft when not in use, usually adjacent to a dock, sometimes accessed by a catwalk.