The Massachusetts Waterways Regulations establish procedures, criteria, and standards for uniform and coordinated administration of the provisions of MGL c. 91, the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act - the oldest such program in the United States. Chapter 91 and 310 CMR 9.00 preserve and protect the rights of the public to have access to tidelands and waterways of the Commonwealth, and regulate activities on both coastal and inland waterways.

310 CMR 9.00: Waterways Regulations  pdf format of 310 CMR 9.00: Waterways Regulations
file size 1MB

These regulations were last amended in March 2017.

310 CMR 9.00 Email for questions: DEP.Waterways@state.ma.us

310 CMR 9.00: Proposed Amendments & Public Comment

  • Draft Small Dock and Pier General License

    Draft Small Dock and Pier General License for Coastal Structures  pdf format of Draft Small Dock and Pier General License

    Draft Small Dock and Pier General License for Inland Structures  pdf format of Draft General License for Inland Structures

    Notice of Appeal Rights - Small Dock and Pier General License  pdf format of Notice of Appeal Rights - General License

    M.G.L Chapter 91 S. 18C, enacted in 2011, authorized MassDEP to create a General License for non-commercial, water-dependent, small scale docks, piers and similar structures. The May 2014 revisions to the Waterways regulation created eligibility criteria, general performance standards, and procedures for certification and renewal. The new certification process streamlines state review and eliminates Governor signature of individual licenses. 

    The General License is divided into two separate licenses for Coastal and Inland Structures. These two licenses will be issued once the twenty-one (21) day appeal period ends and upon signature of the Governor. The licenses will then be recorded at all of the Registries in the Commonwealth, and the Department's Certification of an applicant's eligibility shall also be recorded against the title of the property on which the authorized structure is located.

310 CMR 9.00: Recently Promulgated Amendments

  • 310 CMR 9.00: Summary of Revisions Promulgated March 10, 2017

    Effective March 10, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management have promulgated revisions to the Waterways Regulations, the Designated Port Area (DPA) Regulations and the Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) Regulations at 310 CMR 9.00, 301 CMR 25.00 and 301 CMR 23.00 respectively.

    The changes to the Waterways Regulations are intended to promote and provide greater flexibility for creating public access options to the waterfront in addition to FPAs. MassDEP has created a new category called Facilities of Limited Accommodation (FLAs) that are described in the FLA Regulation Summary below.  Revisions to the Waterways Regulations can be found in 310 CMR 9.52, 9.53 and 9.56 and the definition section at 9.02. 

    The DPA regulations promote waterborne commerce and marine industrial use.  The changes to the DPA and MHP regulations are intended to reduce regulatory provisions and increase the flexibility provided to municipalities and businesses, by allowing for new and expanded economic development opportunities while ensuring the protection of current and future marine industrial opportunities in selected areas within DPAs.

    Revised Waterways Regulations

    FLA Regulation Summary pdf format of Facilities of Limited Accommodation - 310 CMR 9.00

    DPA Regulation Summary pdf format of Designated Port Area - 310 CMR 9

    Go the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management website to view the revised Designated Port Area (DPA) Regulations and the Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) Regulations.

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Chapter 91 Guides

Chapter 91 Forms

BRP WW 26: Combined Licenses/Permits for Waterways & Water Quality Certification  doc format of BRP WW 26: Combined Waterways-WQC Permit Application
pdf format of                             BRP WW 26: Combined Waterways-WQC Permit Application

This form reflects regulatory amendments to 310 CMR 9.00 and 314 CMR 9.00 for combined review and permitting of projects subject to certain dredging, excavation and fill activities under Chapter 91 and the 401 Water Quality Certification Regulations. This is an application for a combined permit from MassDEP only. For questions please contact Ken Chin (617-292-5893 or Ken.Chin@state.ma.us). Revised January 2016.

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