Lake Hartwell Permitting

Local regulations that may impact your dock design

Master Docks closely monitors dock and lift regulation changes for the lakes we service.  Below are permitting details for Lake Hartwell, which includes materials and design information.

Additionally, we provide dock monitoring services for Lake Hartwell to ensure your dock is properly managed throughout the year. Click here to learn more.

Lake Hartwell is owned and managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. For general information concerning Shoreline Use Permits, or to apply for a permit, please contact the Hartwell Project Office, toll free at 888-893-0678. Members of the Hartwell staff are available to answer general questions, explain the permitting process, and/or arrange an on-site meeting to discuss permitting options.

Prospective buyers are encouraged to contact the Hartwell Dam and Lake Project Office prior to purchasing property adjacent to Hartwell Lake. Prior to calling, please have certain pertinent information readily available such as, the location and directions to the property in question (i.e. lot number, subdivision name, street address, etc.) and/or previously existing permit numbers or names of previous owners associated with the property in question. If an appointment with Hartwell staff is desired, please call approximately 2 weeks in advance of the time you wish to meet, as staff are generally “booked” for at least two weeks.

Here are some useful links:

How much water depth is needed for a dock on Hartwell?
If the proposed dock would have at least 4ft. of water depth at the point where the walkway and dock connect, a permit application will be accepted for review. If necessary, during periods of low water, individuals may “chase the water” in an effort to keep their docks afloat, provided such action does not prevent/block access to existing docks or coves. When lake levels return to normal, individuals are responsible for returning their docks to the permitted locations and removing all temporary anchor pins.

What are the standards for docks on Hartwell?
All plans for new docks and modifications to existing docks, including walkways, must be approved by a state licensed structural engineer to ensure a quality, safe design suitable for conditions on the Hartwell Project.

I want to purchase a used dock that is already permitted on Hartwell, what do I need to do?
You must provide the permit number by which the subject dock was last authorized so that plans for the dock can be reviewed. If dock plans for the subject used dock cannot be located, you must submit engineer approved plans for the dock. Docks relocated to new areas must comply with current color and size requirements.

What is the maximum size for a dock on Hartwell?
The maximum size a private individual dock can be is 1,120 square feet provided the associated lot shares a common boundary of at least 75 ft. Neither the length nor width of the structure can exceed 40ft. Square footage will be calculated excluding the gangwalk. If the structure has a roof or upper deck, overhangs of up to 24 inches will be allowed. The minimum size dock allowed is 200 square feet with no one side being less than 10 feet.

I would like to have a two story dock, is this allowed?
Slip docks are limited to no more than two levels and no portion of the second level can be covered; flat docks are limited to a single level.

Can I enclose my dock?
New enclosed structures are not allowed.

Are there any color restrictions for the roof or dock?
All new docks( with the exception of all aluminum or similar type construction docks) and roofs must be dark green, black, dark brown or dark gray.

What things should I consider when determining the length of the walkway needed?
Docks may be permitted a maximum 60-foot long walkway. The minimum length of walkway allowed will be 16 feet. Walkway width may vary from a minimum of 3 feet to a max of 6 feet. If the total of the dock and walkway combined will extend beyond 1/3 the width of the cove at normal pool elevation; the structure will be closer than 50 feet to a permitted floating facility for boat ramp; or the structure will extend into a marked navigational channel, cause a navigational hazard or block access to coves or other permitted docks then a 60 foot walkway will not be allowed.

I just received my new permit. How long do I have to put my dock in place?
Approved docks must be installed within 12 months of the permit issuance. You must inform your area ranger when the dock is installed.

Do I need to apply for a permit if I plan on installing a boat lift or PWC lift?
PWC lifts may be attached to a dock but will be counted as part of the square footage of the dock. Attachments to the landward side of the dock or within the slip of a dock will not be counted toward the square footage. All PWC lifts, regardless of placement on dock, must be approved.

If a dock is already in place, does that mean it is automatically permitted to me if I buy the property?
No. Although the vast majority of permitted facilities/activities on public land can be permitted to a new owner of the adjacent private property, there are cases where such facilities/activities cannot be permitted to a new owner. Some facilities/activities are issued to present owners as “grandfathered” facilities. These facilities may remain as long as the present permittee owns the adjacent private property, but must be removed upon sale or transfer of ownership.   

Are existing permits transferrable?
No. Shoreline Use Permits are issued for a five year term, however, if the adjacent private property is sold or transferred to a new owner, the existing permit becomes null and void at the time of sale/transfer. The new owner is responsible for contacting the Hartwell Project Office to obtain a new five year permit. If the location in question has an old permit tag displayed with an expiration date on it, please disregard the date shown. Expiration dates are no longer printed on the new permit tags. Expiration dates are tracked on computer and the “paper” copy of a permit (copy of which is provided to the permittee). If you have questions concerning the expiration date of a permit, please contact the Hartwell Project Office.


At Master Docks we provide high quality custom aluminum and steel docks and lifts at great competitive prices for the Lake Hartwell area. Hewitt, Floatair, Wave Port PWC & more! If you have any questions on what you can and cannot build on Lake Hartwell contact us today and we can help guide you through the options.