Crown Lands

Apply for a domestic waterfront licence

We manage more than 7,300 domestic waterfront licences in 14 tidal waterways along the eastern seaboard.

You must hold a domestic waterfront licence for the use and occupation of Crown land below the mean high water mark for recreational infrastructure such as jetties, pontoons and boat ramps.

We work closely with other agencies to ensure planning requirements and environmental sustainability measures are considered when granting licences.

Our purpose is to ensure that all domestic waterfront licences across NSW are managed strategically, so that our precious waterways can be enjoyed by all, now and into the future.

Before you purchase a waterfront property, it is important to ask your conveyancing agent to:

  • undertake a conveyancing search to determine the purpose of the licence, the structures that are authorised under the licence and if any debts are outstanding. All debts need to be cleared at settlement otherwise the debt will transfer to the purchaser.
  • assess the land and all waterfront structures adjoining the property to confirm they are covered in the current licence agreement. If all structures are not covered in the licence agreement, you will need to raise this with the current licence holders (vendor) and resolve this issue prior to purchasing. Otherwise you may be responsible for the removal of any unauthorised or unsafe structures, or you may be required to gain approval from the department to lodge a development application with your local council, at your expense
  • it is recommended that any unauthorised structure issues are resolved prior to settlement.

Development on foreshore Crown land and waterways

If you want to build any new structures or alter any existing structures on Crown foreshore lands or waterways, you first need to get consent from the department - as the landowner.

Councils are the local planning authorities. So, once you have consent from the department you will need to get any necessary planning approvals from your local council. If council grants planning consent, you can then commence your licence application from the department to begin work.

What you need to apply for a domestic waterfront licence

You need consent to build new structures or alter structures on Crown land below the mean high water mark, and you must have a licence in place before construction begins.

  • You are not permitted to berth a vessel for more than 6 hours, unless authorised by your licence.
  • As licence holder, it is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the terms and conditions of your licence agreement, including any requirement to remove or seek authorisation for unapproved structures.
  • You must provide public access to waterfront and submerged Crown land.
  • Air and dry docks, along with modular and storage pontoons are unacceptable structures.

If it’s a new licence application, you will need:

  • completed licence application form
  • copy of the approved development application or building information certificate and stamped plans.

If the licence will automatically transfer, you will need: 

  • A set of recent photographs showing the current structure/s and area below the mean high water mark.
  • The photos must show the whole frontage and all structures presumed to be on public land, taken at high tide and at low tide, from offshore (if practicable) facing the property and from onshore facing the water.
  • If a boatshed forms part of the occupation, several photographs of the interior are also required.

If the licence will be revoked and a new licence issued, you will need:

  • A set of recent photographs showing the current structure/s and area below the mean high water mark.
  • The photos must show the whole frontage and all structures presumed to be on public land, taken at high tide and at low tide, from offshore (if practicable) facing the property and from onshore facing the water
  • If a boatshed forms part of the occupation, several photographs of the interior are also required.
  • A copy of a recent identification survey, no older than 2 years, prepared by a registered surveyor. 
    • The plan must plot to scale and detail the dimensions and the type of all existing structures, including any reclaimed area and any free-standing mooring piles below the mean high water mark. 
    • The survey must show the position of the deed mean high water mark in relation to the registered deposited plan boundaries and must include the calculated areas for each structure and area below the mean high water mark.

Deceased estates need only provide: 

  • copy of will, death certificate and probate if applicable.

Companies or incorporated associations must be a registered company with ACN and provide:

  • a current company search or extract
  • details of directors.

The department has an on-going compliance and enforcement program to help protect Crown land against illegal activity that threatens environmental values or the enjoyment of Crown land users.

 

Payment methods

Licences that will automatically transfer:

  • an invoice for the application fee of $94 will be sent to you when the application starts to be processed.

If the licence will be revoked and a new licence issued:

  • an invoice for the application fee of $660 will be sent to you when the application starts to be processed.

If you are a pensioner you may be eligible for a rebate if you have a domestic waterfront facility adjoining your sole place of residence.

Apply for an eligible pensioner rebate (PDF, 168 KB).

 

Apply for a domestic waterfront licence

The domestic waterfront tenures program receives high volumes of applications. Processing times can be lengthy, depending on the complexity of the application. 

You can continue to use your waterfront facilities while we assess your application. 

As the licence starting date is the transfer date shown on title, you may incur back-dated rent while your application is being processed.

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