Dock Debate

Discussion in 'Wisconsin Flyway Forum' started by Deerhunter21716, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Deerhunter21716

    Deerhunter21716 New Member

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    Wisconsin
    Can someone legally go onto a dock that they don’t own if they access from the water? Or a swim raft in a lake?
     
  2. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Senior Refuge Member

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    If it's anchored to land I would think not. Then it would be private property for sure.
     
  3. Shirleyshusband

    Shirleyshusband Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Stitzer, WI
    Used to argue about this at Gonerings on Big Cedar. The launch was public but the pier was Gonerings (bar). Gonerings said they had the right to charge, public said it's feet if they get feet wet before getting on pier.
    I'm not sure it was ever resolved. This was back in the 80's. Locals used it and said kma. Others used it and paid.
     
  4. wishooter

    wishooter Senior Refuge Member

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    WI
    Not going to search for you but, search the state statutes below. Riparian rights is a sticky and money pit if you lawyer up...

    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes specifically 30.12-30.13

    My opinion with the raft is it similar to a duck blind on public lands, someone has put private property on a public way with no recourse to prohibit the use of the raft, this is assuming it is on a lake instead of a flowage where property rights are different. A similar situation would be if someone placed a bench within the public road right of way and didn't like people stopping to sit on the bench for a rest. Totally different situation if the bench is on private property vs on right of way.

    Best bet would be to call the county administrator or sheriff and explain the situation. Riparian right vs land owner rights are tricky....
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  5. Grand Passage

    Grand Passage Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Even if you can legally do it I don't think I would because you will almost certainly get into a huge argument/confrontation over it. With all of the lakes and rivers in our state that have great access I would find another place to go instead of paddling over to someone's dock and start fishing...
     
  6. Feathers

    Feathers Senior Refuge Member

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    Why exactly do you want to go on someone’s dock?
     
  7. luke18kaz

    luke18kaz New Member

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    Location:
    wisconsin
    I believe with almost 100% certainty that both a dock and a raft are deemed private property. You may get out of the water and cross a dock if legally wading to get to the other side, but may not use or occupy the dock without owners consent. This is similar to going around an obstruction in a navigable waterway on private land, you must exit and reenter the water at the closest point, but you can go onto private property to get around said obstacle.
     
  8. woodiefanatic

    woodiefanatic Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    SW WI
    Water access laws are always interesting. Couple years back I had a warden ask me at a Mississippi River boat ramp if I had jumped any beaver dams with my mud boat. I said no and he moved on to checking licensing and stuff but since it’s not legal to drive a motorized vehicle across refugee land I’m assuming he wanted to write me a ticket for skipping across a few feet of mud and sticks? Another thing that bugged me was there was a nice back water area along the Wisconsin and the land around it was owned by some duck club/rich guy and his friends. There was two entrances from the public river so you could boat right into “their” ponds. The first one had a small beaver dam across it so would you be trespassing if you scooter over it to get in? Second entrance had a tree across it that looked like it was intentionally dropped to block access but the water was too deep at the time to really tell. Either way I never pushed the envelope cause I would rather not deal with the bs. Kind of bothers me though when people act like they own water that is easily accessible by the public.
     
  9. SB2MAG

    SB2MAG Elite Refuge Member

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    Trapping regs say you can’t molest a beaver dam.

    46426C21-61E0-4888-B102-9389958D2773.png

    Maybe that’s why the warden was concerned.
     
  10. Deerhunter21716

    Deerhunter21716 New Member

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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I agree not worth it. My brother-in-law and I were having a debate about it. Personally I feel like it’s private property. Just like someone’s paddle board or non registered boat floating in the water. You can’t just hop on and take it for a ride.
     

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