Boating Facilities Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What do I need to know about placing a mooring on an inland lake or pond in Maine?

A. With a couple exceptions, the State of Maine does not control the placement of moorings on inland waterways. The placement of moorings, where controlled, are controlled by the local municipality in which a body of water lies. Although some municipalities have adopted a mooring ordinance limiting their placement, most towns have not although many are currently considering it. If you are considering the placement of a mooring, please check with the local municipality in which the body of water you are interested in lies about a mooring ordinance.

In the interest of boating safety, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Boating Facilities has two basic rules when it comes to the placement of moorings. These rules work hand in hand with the Water Safety Zone (the first 200' from any shore.) Objects placed beyond the Water Safety Zone may be considered a hazard to navigation.

1. No mooring will be placed so that it or the object moored thereto extends beyond the Water Safety Zone or 1/3 the distance to the opposite shore whichever is less. In addition, no mooring may be placed in State waters in a marked channel or a Fairway or in a manner that would impede access to a public boat launch facility or deny the right of free navigation.

2. The proper mooring ball used to float the chain is a white ball with a blue stripe.

In the interest of public safety, it has been determined that objects placed beyond the Water Safety Zone may be considered a hazard to navigation and may be removed by the Department without notification.

Q. What is the Boating Facilities Program?

A. It is a program to provide public facilities for boats in the waters of the State, including but not limited to launching ramps, parking sites and access roads. The Program also administers the Navigational Aids Program for marking hazards to navigations on a limited number of lakes. The State Bureau of Parks and Lands is authorized to provide Grants-in-Aid to municipalities and private organizations such as fish and game clubs, to assist in the acquisition, development or improvement of public boat facilities as well as to acquire and develop State-owned sites.

Q. Who conducts it?

A. The Boating Facilities Program, State Bureau of Parks and Lands, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, #22 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0022. Telephone 287-4952.

Q. How is it funded?

A. About 1.5% of the State tax on gasoline is credited to the Boating Facilities Fund. Monies from this fund may be used in combination with local monies to acquire land, develop public facilities for boats, and mark hazards to navigation on inland waterways.

Q. Where are the public boat ramps in my area?

A. You can call the Boating Facility Program at (207) 287-4952 for a printed list, or click here.

Q. How do I register my boat?

A. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is responsible for boat registration.

Q. There isn't a suitable boat ramp on my lake. How do I go about getting one built?

A. The Boating Facility Program has a program for the construction of public boating facilities. The facilities may be built, owned and operated by the State, if the facility is deemed to have state-wide significance or they may be built, owned and operated by a municipality or other public or private entity with a funding grant and technical assistance from the Bureau.

Towns and organizations interested in providing public boat facilities should contact the Boating Facilities Program at 287-4952. Upon receipt of a request, Bureau personnel will conduct an evaluation to determine the nature and significance of the proposed site including an on-site inspection with the appropriate local contact person. The Bureau's evaluation will include:

  • Potential use, both regional and local;
  • Suitability of shorefront terrain;
  • Water depth in relation to facility type;
  • Access;
  • Effect on abutters;
  • Environmental considerations.

The amount of State funding recommended for a project is generally higher for a site which serves a regional area. The Bureau emphasizes assistance to municipalities and others willing to acquire, improve, and develop locally-owned, operated and maintained facilities.

Q. How long does it take to develop a facility?

A. Projects generally require two years to complete.

Q. How are the sites maintained?

A. Most sites are maintained by the municipalities in which they are located.