Dock Permits & Boating

Dock Permits

Martins Pond is a “Great Pond” and subject to the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act. All docks in Martins Pond are required to have a dock permit. The information provided below is offered as a place to start, but is not official. There is a wealth of info on this and other topics on the Waterways page on the MA.GOV website.
If you have a dock and are not sure if a permit was ever issued for it, you can contact the South Middlesex County Registry of Deeds, (617) 679-6300, or the DEP in Boston, Waterways Division, 617-292-5929.
Dock permits are good for 15 years, are transferable to new property owners, and are renewable. For residential docks under 600 square feet you can use the Simplified License application. Print out the application and the instructions. You do not need to hire an engineer. You will be asked to draw the mean annual high water, which we have used as 75.8 ft above sea level. Mean annual low water level we use 74.1. If flood elevations are needed the FEMA maps use 80ft above sea level, although we have only reached 79.25.
Please email Janet Nicosia if you need help with the form. Don’t be afraid to apply. There is no “grandfathered” period, although the form asks whether the dock was pre or post 1984. Most of the docks in Martins Pond are pre-1984.

The Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee will not support new unpermitted docks.

Simplified Dock License and Chapter 91 Simplified License instructions

Permitting Small Pile-Supported Docks and Piers: Guidance


Enjoy motor boating, canoeing, or kayaking on Martins Pond.  Personal motorized watercraft (such as Jet Skis, etc.) are not allowed–see Chapter 110 of the General Bylaws of North Reading for more information. Please be sure to thoroughly clean your hulls and propellers to prevent the spread of fanwort, milfoil, water chestnut, and other invasive species.

Massachusetts Boating Law Summary