Mooring Buoys

TP 13585 E
Marine Safety Directorate

PDF Version

1. Process Flowchart

Process Flowchart

2 Purpose

2.1 As determined by MSMS Tier I Policy concerning the management of the Private Buoy Regulations, mooring buoys are a work under the provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).

2.2 The purpose of this procedure is to provide guidance to proponents in determining when applications for approval of the placement of a single mooring buoy under the provisions of the NWPA are not required to be submitted to the Navigable Waters Protection Program (NWPP).

3 Authority

3.1 This policy results from the exercise of ministerial discretion in the administration of the NWPA.

4 Background

4.1 Many mooring buoys, under reasonable circumstances, pose no impediment to vessel passage, or are not considered to be a hazard or obstruction to navigation.

4.2 Mooring buoys serve the purpose to ‘park’ a vessel similar to a dock, pier or wharf. A mooring buoy does not aid or inform the mariner, as is the purpose with an aid to navigation.

4.3 The development of a national procedure addressing the placement of mooring buoys under ideal conditions shall provide a greater consistency in the application of the NWPA and shall provide clients with a more certain working environment.

4.4 The establishment of criteria whereby single mooring buoys may be placed without the need for a review under the NWPA, will promote National consistency and manage workloads by reviewing only those mooring buoys not placed under predetermined criteria as set out in Annex “A”.

5 Scope

5.1 This policy applies to the placement of all mooring buoys in navigable waterways.

6 Responsibility

6.1 The Director, Operations & Environmental Programs is responsible for the development, approval and maintenance of this procedure.

6.2 The Regional Directors, Marine are responsible for implementation of this procedure.

6.3 The Manager, Navigable Waters Protection Program is the OPI for this procedure.

6.4 The Regional NWPP is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this procedure.

7 Procedure

7.1 The placement of a single point mooring buoy by a proponent will not require the submission of an application for approval under the provisions of the NWPA subject to meeting the criteria specified in Annex “A”.

7.2 The placement of any mooring buoy(s) as identified in Annex “B” will require submission of an application for review under the provisions of the NWPA.

8 Related Documents

8.1 Navigable Waters Protection Act

8.2 MSMS Tier 1 Policy – Management of Private Buoy Regulations (RDIMS 4216665)

8.3 MSMS Tier I Policy – Minor Works (RDIMS 1581789)

8.4 An Owners’ Guide to Private Buoys (TP14799)

8.5 Collision Regulations

9 Definitions

9.1 Mooring Buoy – a buoy for securing a vessel or other similar thing

9.2 Swing - the limits of the diameter of a circle created by the swinging of a vessel

9.3 Navigable Waterway – any body of water, which is capable, in its natural state, of being navigated by floating vessels of any description for the purpose of transportation, recreation or commerce, and includes a canal or any other body of water created or altered for pubic use as a result of the construction of any work.

10 Date of Application

10.1 These procedures shall apply to all mooring buoys coming under the scope of the procedure that is published by Marine Safety after October 3, 2008.

11 Date for Review

11.1 This Policy subject to review twelve (12) months after initial issue, and at a frequency of not less than every three (3) years thereafter.

12 RDIMS Reference

12.1 The English version of this document is saved in RDIMS under reference number 4291778.

12.2 La version française du présent document est dans le SGDDI et porte le numéro de référence 4227508.

13 Keywords

  • Navigable Waters Protection Act
  • Private Buoy Regulations
  • Navigable Waterway
  • Mooring Buoy
  • Radius


The placement of a single mooring buoy meeting the following criteria will not require further review by the Navigable Waters Protection Program and the project may proceed.

The mooring buoy must be:

  1. Secured by a single anchor line,
  2. Marked as per An Owners’ Guide to Private Buoys 8.4

    The mooring buoy including swing area must be:

  3. Placed no less than 20 meters from any existing docks, boathouses, swim platforms, other mooring buoy or other structure located within limits of waterway,
  4. Placed at least 50 meters from any public launch ramp, marina, known navigation channel


  5. Where free swinging moorings are utilized, they shall require a circular area having a radius equal to three (3) times the length of the vessel
  6. Moored vessels must comply with the Collision Regulations.

Mooring Buoys that do no adhere to all of the above criteria shall not be placed without further review by the Navigable Waters Protection Program.


Any mooring buoys meeting the following criteria MUST be submitted for review under the provisions of the NWPA:

  • The placement of more than two (2) mooring buoys by one proponent
  • A mooring buoy intend for a vessel exceeding 20 meters in length
  • The placement of a mooring buoy in a waterway that is less than 100 meters wide