Private Aids to Navigation

(PATON) (Non-Bridge Projects)
What is the purpose of this permit?
Private Aids to Navigation (PATON) refers to all marine aids to navigation operated in the federally recognized navigable waters of the United States other than those operated by the Federal Government or those operated in State waters for private aids to navigation. This includes lighted structures and daybeacons, lighted and unlighted buoys, RACONs and fog signals. For a list of federally recognized waterways within Washington State contact the 13th Coast Guard District Waterways Management Branch. To ensure the safety of the boating public the Coast Guard is required to review all work performed within the navigable waters of the United States and determine whether or not such work (i.e. installation of a fixed structure or floating object) will require to be marked with PATON. Non-commercial, single-boat, mooring buoys do not require a Coast Guard permit, provided they do not cause more than a minimal adverse effect on navigation and display the standard markings. The same is true of most information and regulatory marks, such as swim buoys, no-wake buoys, and race course buoys. For these the Coast Guard issues a letter of no objection. Owners contemplating establishing such buoys need to contact the Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance for additional permit requirements.
Who issues this permit?
United States Coast Guard
What activities require this permit?
Installation of a fixed structure or floating object within the waters of the United States.
How much will this permit cost?
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'US Coast Guard Private Aids to Navigation Application Form CG-2554' is online and can be accessed at
Do I need to include anything with my application?
If able provide photos, drawings, copy of the waterway chart all showing/indicating the location of the project.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
A document from the Army Corps of Engineers showing the project has been approved should be submitted with the permit questionnaire.
How long will it take to review my application?
Permitting time frame can vary depending on workload, though average wait for a permit is three months.
Where do I submit my application?
CG-2554 PATON Application Questionnaires should be submitted via email
How long is my permit valid?
A permit only needs to be renewed if there are changes made to the structure that affect the condition of the permit. For example changes in ownership, dock relocation, removal of a buoy, etc.
What is the appeal process for the permit?
Appeals must be made in writing to the 13th Coast Guard District Commander via the application approving official.
Notes / Comments:
When the PATON questionnaire is completed and sent to the PATON Manager it will be used to produce a DRAFT PATON application for the project. The DRAFT application is then returned to the project owner for review and signature. Once the signed DRAFT application is returned to the PATON Manager it is signed by the approving official and returned to the project owner with a cover letter.
Legal Authority:
Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Helpdesk phone: 206-220-7285
Subject matter expert email:
United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
Private Aids to Navigation
Commander (dpw)
13th Coast Guard District
915 Second Ave, Room 3510
Seattle, WA 98174-1067
Telephone: (206) 220-7285
Fax: (206) 220-7265
Triggering Questions:
  • Does your project involve the installation of a fixed structure or floating object within waters of the United States?
* Permit information last updated 4/9/2024