Chapter 15.16


15.16.010  Purpose.

15.16.020  Scope.

15.16.030  Definitions.

15.16.040  General code and fire compliance.

15.16.050  Floating structures.

15.16.060  Walkways and ramps.

15.16.070  Moorage exits.

15.16.080  Moorage identification.

15.16.090  Fire protection standpipe.

15.16.100  Portable fire protection equipment.

15.16.110  Fire apparatus access road.

15.16.120  Additional fire code requirements.

15.16.130  Distance between floating structures.

15.16.140  Occupancy separation.

15.16.150  Flotation.

15.16.160  Construction.

15.16.170  Additional provisions.

15.16.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, limb, property, and public welfare regulating the design, construction, location, relocation, quality and use of materials, and use and occupancy of all floating structures, including but not limited to walks, ramps, buildings, and the moorage used in conjunction therewith. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 1, 2006)

15.16.020 Scope.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to construction, location, relocation, use and occupancy of all floating structures. This moorages and floating structures code shall not apply to vessels and unoccupied floating structures that are not in conflict with the purpose of this code as determined by the building official. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 2, 2006)

15.16.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms are defined as follows:

(1) “Addition” means an increase in the floor area or height of a structure or building.

(2) “Alteration” means any change or modification of an existing structure.

(3) “Berth” means the mooring of a boat alongside a bulkhead, pier, or between piles. See also “Slip.”

(4) “Boathouse (covered mooring site)” means a floating structure used to house or shelter a vessel or vessels.

(5) “Chapter” as used in this moorage and floating structures code means the current edition of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code adopted and enforced in the city of St. Helens by operation of city ordinance or state law.

(6) “Combo” means a boathouse-floating home combination.

(7) “Dry hydrant” means a permanently installed suction pipe that extends from the water supply to a point above ground to make static suction water supply more accessible to fire district pumpers.

(8) “Fire apparatus access roads” means roads providing the driving surface for fire district vehicles responding to an emergency, extending from a public right-of-way to a point nearest a moorage or marine gangway or pier.

(9) “Floating structure” means any structure, supported wholly or partially by flotation, including but not limited to house boats, boathouses, floats, walkways, gangways, and ramps, but not including vessels.

(10) “Gangway” means a variable slope structure intended to provide pedestrian access between a fixed pier or shore and a floating structure.

(11) “House boat” means a floating structure used wholly or partially as a dwelling unit.

(12) “Marina” means floating structure(s) used primarily for the service, and/or repair, sale or moorage of vessels in berths, but may include other occupancies.

(13) “Moorage (marina)” means a site used for the mooring of one or more floating structures or vessels and includes the land used in conjunction therewith.

(14) “Moorage site” means a site within a moorage which is designed to be used, or which is used for the mooring of a vessel, boathouse, house boat, or any occupiable floating structure.

(15) “Mooring” means the fixing of a vessel or floating structure in one location temporarily or permanently by anchoring, grounding or any other means.

(16) “New construction” means a new building or structure or an addition to an existing building or structure.

(17) “NFPA” as used in this chapter means the adopted rules and regulations of the National Fire Protection Association, including specifically without limitation NFPA 13 for sprinkler systems.

(18) “Pier” means a nonfloating fixed platform extending out over the water from shore to which gangways are usually attached.

(19) “Ramp” means a fixed sloped structure providing pedestrian access between portions of a moorage which are at different elevations.

(20) “Repair” means the reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing structure for the purpose of its maintenance.

(21) “Sewage” means all water carrying waste discharged for sanitary facilities.

(22) “Slip” is an area at a boatyard or marina that is used to moor a boat and is directly accessible from land and arranged to permit access to each boat from a fixed or floating pier. See also “Berth.”

(23) “Specialty codes” means a code of regulations adopted by Ordinance No. 3011 commonly referred to as the Structural Specialty Code, Mechanical Specialty Code, Plumbing Specialty Code and the Electrical Specialty Code.

(24) “Standard operating procedure” means basic operating principles routinely used by the building department in a particular situation.

(25) “Tender house” means a nonhabitable, floating accessory building.

(26) “Transient tie-up” means a floating structure used exclusively for the open moorage of pleasure boats on a short-term, maximum 72-hour stay.

(27) “Vessel” means a water craft, barge, boat, or ship of any size used primarily for transportation means or conveyance.

(28) “Walk” means a fixed portion of a floating home structure providing access to and around a floating home.

(29) “Walkway” means a floating structure either covered or open and used as a means of access to a mooring site. There are three specific types referenced in this code:

(a) “Fingerfloat” means a finger-like floating structure, usually attached perpendicular to a main walkway, which physically defines a berth and provides direct pedestrian access to and from a berthed boat or floating home.

(b) “Main walkway” means a floating structure to which several fingerfloats are attached, thereby providing direct pedestrian access between the berths and marginal walkways or shore.

(c) “Marginal walkway” means a floating structure which provides pedestrian access between two or more main walkways and shore.

(30) “Waterway” means an open unobstructed water available for vessel access to a mooring site. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 3, 2006)

15.16.040 General code and fire compliance.

(1) Floating structures and moorages shall comply with these specific regulations as well as all applicable specialty codes and all regulations of the city, county, state, and federal governments regarding floating structures.

(2) Fire Marshal Inspections. Plans for marina fire-protection facilities shall be approved by the fire marshal prior to installation. The completed work shall be subject to final inspection and approval after installation. Existing floating structures moved to the fire district shall comply with the OFC as though they were new construction. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 4, 2006)

15.16.050 Floating structures.

(1) General. Every floating structure constructed, erected, enlarged, altered, conveyed, or moved into this jurisdiction after the effective date of this code shall be in compliance with this chapter and other pertinent laws and ordinances. Repair of an existing structure is an exception to this chapter.

(2) Permits Required. Prior to placement of a floating structure, the owner shall apply for a temporary permit from the building official. The owner shall furnish the building official with a location drawing, showing the general dimensions of the structure and its proposed place of location. If the proposed dimensions for siting are within the code, the building official shall issue a temporary permit to the owner. No owner of a floating structure shall place a floating structure in a moorage without having first obtained a temporary permit from the building department. No owner or person in control of a moorage shall permit or allow the placement of a floating structure in any moorage owned or controlled by them without a permit issued by the building department having been presented to them, and a copy thereof retained for their records.

Within 30 days of placement of the floating structure, the owner shall apply for final inspection and approval with the building official. The final inspection shall be based on the following:

(a) Safety Inspection. The structure shall be determined to be in good repair, safe and sanitary condition, and constructed in accordance to sound engineering practices and in conformance with applicable building codes.

(b) Mechanical Inspection. All permits must have been granted and all hookups must have been performed in a satisfactory manner to receive the building official's approval.

(c) Electrical Inspection. All electrical work shall be designed and installed in accordance with the State of Oregon Electrical Specialty Safety Code and this section. The appropriate permits and inspections are required for all work.

(i) Transformer pads shall not be located closer than eight feet to combustible surfaces and two feet to noncombustible surfaces.

(ii) Overhead power drops shall be installed and maintained not less than 12 feet above walking surfaces and/or the ordinary high water line.

(d) Fire Safety Inspection. All fire safety requirements shall be in accordance with the Uniform Fire Code Appendix II-C, NFPA 303, and as required by this code.

(3) Occupancy Classification. The building official shall classify the occupancy of each floating structure.

(4) Construction Classification. The building official shall classify the construction type of each structure.

(5) Repair. All buildings and structures, both existing and new, and all parts thereof, shall be kept in good repair, constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices, and in a safe and sanitary condition. All electrical, plumbing and mechanical installations and devices shall be maintained in good serviceable condition. Any other devices or safeguards which are required by this code shall be maintained in conformance with the code edition under which installed. The owner or his designated agent shall be responsible for the repair of buildings and structures to determine compliance with this subsection, the building official may cause any structure to be inspected.

(6) Dwelling Code. New residential structures shall be subject to the regulations and code requirements set forth in the Oregon 2005 Residential Specialty Code whenever those regulations are applicable. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 5, 2006)

15.16.060 Walkways and ramps.

(1) Construction. Walkways and ramps may be constructed of any materials allowed by this code.

(2) Design Criteria. Ramps and main walkways shall support a live load of 100 pounds per square foot with a maximum live load deflection of 1/240 of the span. Walkways shall support a live load of 50 pounds per square foot or a concentrated load of 1,000 pounds placed on any space 18 inches square. An example of a typical approved walkway section is shown in Exhibit A at the end of this section.

(a) Main walkways shall be a minimum of 72 inches for the primary pedestrian ingress and egress.

(b) Ramps shall be a minimum of 48 inches in width for exits.

(3) Gangways, Ramps, Walks and Walkways. Minimum two-foot-wide walks shall be provided around all floating homes except those portions of structures where boats will be docked. Walks and walkways shall have a nonslip surface or surface cleats securely fastened in place with a maximum spacing center to center of one foot, six inches. The maximum ramp slope shall be one foot vertical to two feet horizontal.

(4) Guardrails and Handrails. Guardrails and/or handrails shall be provided as per the State Building Code. For the application of the regulations, either land or water shall be deemed to be the adjacent surface.

(5) Illumination. Gangways, ramps, walks and walkways shall be illuminated by lights designed, constructed, and maintained to provide a minimum average of 2.5 foot candle of light per square foot at the walking surface at all times. This section applies to all gangways, ramps, and walkways except those used for recreational boat launching.

(6) Gangways shall have a minimum, unobstructed width of four feet and shall be provided with guardrails and handrails as required by the building code. Intermediate landings shall not be required for gangways. All gangways serving an occupant load less than 10, and gangways serving recreational boat launching and transient tie up facilities, need not be more than four feet in width.

(7) Walkways shall have a minimum, unobstructed width of six feet, except for finger walkways, which may be three feet in width. Cleats, bull rails, mooring connectors, utility stands and the like may project into the required width of main and marginal walkways.

(8) A two-foot-wide walk shall be provided on all sides of a floating home.

Exhibit A

(Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 6, 2006)

15.16.070 Moorage exits.

(1) General. When two exit gangways are required. They shall be separated by the maximum distance possible so as to avoid the possibility of fire cutting off exit or access to both exit gangways. Two gangway exits are required whenever any one of the following conditions apply:

(a) The marginal walkway exceeds 250 feet.

(b) Total distance from the nearest point of apparatus setup (usually at the head of a gangway) to the most remote portion of the moorage exceeds 800 feet.

(2) Exception. Moorages used for the moorage of pleasure boats without covers (open moorage configuration) and having not more than two floating homes (for owner and caretaker, for example) need have only one gangway exit. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 7, 2006)

15.16.080 Moorage identification.

All moorages shall have identification as follows:

(1) All moorages shall be identifiable by name and address from the street or road on which they front, at or near the point of emergency vehicle access.

(2) The head of the gangway providing access to the moorage shall be obviously identifiable from the point of emergency vehicle access.

(3) The location and identification of all floating structures shall be obvious from the head of the gangway, or a sign shall be posted clearly identifying the walkways and structures.

(4) The walkway and structure identification shall be logical and obvious.

(5) Moorage identification plans shall be approved by the fire district. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 8, 2006)

15.16.090 Fire protection standpipe.

(1) The fire protection standpipe system described in this section shall be required at all moorages.

(2) Exception. Installations for moorages used exclusively for loading boats or vessels shall not be required to meet the requirements of this section.

(3) Moorages having any portion of a floating structure more than 250 feet from the point of fire apparatus set up shall have a dry standpipe system designed and installed in accordance with the fire code, building code, and the following:

(a) Have a water supply that complies with any one of the following:

(i) Municipal water providing 1,000 GPM at 20 psi operating pressure.

(ii) A fire hydrant within 600 feet from the closest point of fire department access to a moorage site exit ramp.

(iii) The Columbia River or associated bodies of water with pump or pumps capable of providing 250 GPM at 100 psi to any single outlet on the standpipe system. Pumps are to be powered with natural gas or propane and be listed by Underwriters Laboratory.

(iv) A permanent dry hydrant system within 500 feet from the closest point of fire district access to a moorage site exit ramp sized to supply 1,000 GPM at draft. Site location approved by the fire district.

(4) Have a fire district connection located within 150 feet of fire apparatus set up and access maintained at all times as described in 4.12 of this interpretation.

(5) Have pipe sized to provide 250 gallons per minute at 100 psi pressure to any single outlet with a maximum input pressure of 150 psi.

(6) Have adequate drain valves installed to ensure complete drainage.

(7) Have gate valve outlets made of noncorroding metal, two-and-one-half-inch I.D. with National Standard Threads spaced a distance apart at follows:

(a) For moorages having marine service stations, floating homes or other type of structures having permanent living quarters, valves are to be every 100 feet and within 50 feet of the end of walkways.

(b) For moorages serving only boathouses, valves are to be every 150 feet and within 75 feet of the end of the walkways.

(c) For moorages having only open moorage of pleasure boats, standpipes shall only be required along the marginal walkway with valves required only at intersecting main walkways, or not less than every 200 feet and 100 feet from the end of marginal walkways not having intersecting main walkways.

(8) All fire protection standpipe systems shall be installed with the approval of the fire district as required by this code.

(9) Standpipe systems shall be tested in accordance with fire-district-approved procedures. An annual service test will be conducted by an approved testing agency to assure the continuity of the system. The fire district shall be notified at least 24 hours in advance of all tests. A record of the results of the test shall be supplied to the fire district. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 9, 2006)

15.16.100 Portable fire protection equipment.

(1) One fire extinguisher, 2A, 20-B:C rating minimum, shall be provided at each hose station required.

(2) The fire marshal shall designate the type and number of all other fire appliances to be installed and maintained in each marina. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 10, 2006)

15.16.110 Fire apparatus access road.

Access to moorages shall be by fire apparatus access roads having all-weather driving surfaces capable of supporting a 75,000-pound load. Such roads shall be a minimum 20 feet wide with not less than 13 feet, six inches overhead clearance. They shall be provided from the nearest public right-of-way to the head of the gangway. Fire apparatus turnarounds shall be required on any fire access road having a dead end exceeding 150 feet. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 11, 2006)

15.16.120 Additional fire code requirements.

(1) Fixed Fire Extinguishment System. All fixed fire extinguishment systems, such as fire sprinklers, shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 303, 4.4.

(2) Fire Detectors. All fire detectors shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 303, 4.10.

(3) Transmission of Alarms. The means shall be available for immediate notification of the fire district at all times. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 12, 2006)

15.16.130 Distance between floating structures.

(1) The separation between one floating home and another existing at the time of the adoption of the 1997 Fire Code is approved.

(2) Floating homes may be relocated within a moorage provided the distance between units is not diminished.

(3) A clear space of at least six feet will be provided between adjacent structures measured from building wall line horizontal to wall line. Roof eave projections shall be no closer than four feet. A variance may be granted, if approved by the fire department under the following criteria:

(a) When the wall-to-wall separation is less than six feet but more than four feet, or the roof-to-roof separation is less than four feet but more than two feet, the structure being moved or added to shall be equipped throughout with a complete automatic sprinkler system installed in compliance with NFPA 13 or all of the following:

(i) All windows in the affected wall or walls shall be one-quarter-inch thick, fixed, wireglass in 16 gauge steel frames, or alternative wood frames if approved by the fire chief. If this requirement negates natural ventilation requirements, a manually activated mechanical ventilation system providing two air changes per hour with 10 percent outside air shall be provided.

(ii) All doors in the affected wall or walls shall be one and three-quarters inches thick, solid core and be self-closing. Door lights shall be limited to 25 percent of the door area and be one-quarter-inch thick, fixed wireglass in 16 gauge steel frames.

(iii) A fire alarm system consisting of 110 volt rate of fire detectors placed on the outside of the exterior wall or walls in question and throughout the building interior shall be provided. All detectors are to be interconnected to an interior and exterior alarm. The number and placement of detectors shall be as determined by the fire marshal. The exterior alarm shall be capable of being heard for a distance of 150 feet.

(b) When the wall-to-wall separation is less than four feet or the roof separation is less than two feet, the structure being moved or added to shall be equipped throughout with a complete automatic sprinkler system in compliance with NFPA Standard 13. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 13, 2006)

15.16.140 Occupancy separation.

A covered boatwell, in a floating home, enclosed on more than two sides shall be separated from the habitable space by a wall having five-eighths-inch thick type “X” gypsum board (water resistant or similar material) on the boatwell side. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 14, 2006)

15.16.150 Flotation.

(1) General. Floating structures shall be constructed and maintained to provide a flotation system that complies with the requirements of this section. The flotation devices shall be structurally sound and securely integrated with the framing for the superstructure. The external surfaces of all flotation devices shall be water resistant and protected from deterioration, or corrosion, and from damage by impact or chafing. The flotation system and decking shall provide access to and protection for the sewage holding tank or sewage pump.

(2) Freeboard. The normal freeboard as measured from the waterline to the top of the lowest point on the floor or deck, including all dead loads but not live loads, shall not be less than 14 inches. The freeboard under full live load plus dead load shall be not less than 25 percent of the freeboard required for dead load alone.

(3) Live Loads. In addition to dead load, the flotation system shall be adequate to support the following minimum live loads:

(a) Sixty-five pounds per square foot applied to the gross area; or

(b) A concentrated load of 1,000 pounds; or

(c) Twenty-five pounds per square foot applied to the gross, exposed plan area, plus 20 pounds per square foot applied to the lowest covered floor areas, plus 10 pounds per square foot on each upper floor or loft; or

(d) Use live loads required by Oregon Structural Specialty Code, Table 1607.1, for nonresidential occupancies. Pedestrian walkways do not have to comply with this subsection.

(e) Walkways serving areas of public assembly – 100 pounds per square foot.

(4) Hull Type Flotation. Watertight hulls, pontoons, floats, or any other compartment flotation system shall be fitted with transverse and/or longitudinal watertight bulkheads sufficient to keep the fully loaded hull afloat with positive stability with any one main compartment flooded.

The hull shall be fitted with at least one longitudinal bulkhead and two transverse bulkheads so that no compartment shall comprise more than 20 percent of the total available flotation volume. For pontoon type flotation, where more than one hull is placed under a single floating structure, the maximum spacing of bulkhead hull shall be eight feet. Longitudinal bulkheading is not required, but no single compartment shall contain more than 20 percent of the total flotation volume.

(5) Stability. The floating structure, when subject to off-center loading of the live loading, shall not exceed the following limitations:

(a) The maximum angle of list shall not exceed four degrees.

(b) The freeboard, when measured from the waterline to the top of the first floor or deck at a point where said freeboard has its least dimension, shall not be less than one-third of the normal freeboard required by Section 7106(b).

(c) The ratio of resisting moment (Mr) to applied moment (Mo or Mw) shall be equal or greater than unit:


< = 1.0



<= 1.0



Mw is defined in subsection (8) of this section.

Resisting moment due to buoyancy, M shall be computed about a longitudinal axis passing through the center of gravity at a list angle of not more than four degrees.

The off-center loading shall be considered as applicable to the completed structure including all dead loads, and shall consist of a live load of 10 pounds per linear foot (or five pounds per foot of width per linear foot, whichever is greater) at the first floor, and five pounds per lineal foot (or 2.5 pounds per foot of width, per lineal foot, whichever is greater) at each floor, habitable attic or loft, above the first floor. This uniform live load is to be applied halfway between the center of gravity and the outside edge of the deck. The dividing line is the longitudinal axis, and the over turning moment (Mo) resulting from the off-center loading shall be computed from the center of gravity. Stability, with the off-center loading applied, shall be tested on both sides of the longitudinal axis.

The flotation devices shall be constructed so that access to each is readily available from the first floor level of the completed floating structure. When the compartments are not filled with a permanent flotation as plastic foam, a bilge pump shall be on the floating structure.

(6) Log Type Flotation. Logs shall be free of bark and sound. Logs shall be securely framed with transverse stringers to resist flotation and differential movement. The clear distance between logs shall not exceed 22 inches.

(7) Stability. The metacentric height (MG) shall be equal or greater than plus 1.0 foot according to the following expression:




Unit weight of water.



Total weight of floating structure including all dead loads plus a vertical load of 20 pounds per square foot of first floor area, and 10 pounds per square foot of all first floors, habitable attics, or lofts above the first floor.



Moment of inertia of the area encompassed by the waterline around the hull or flotation when loaded with load “w” and taken about the longitudinal axis.



The distance between the center of gravity and the center of buoyancy of the hull of flotation.

(8) Wind Loading. Mw is defined in this subsection to determine and apply the formula in subsection (5) of this section. Wind loading shall be applied to the complete structure, including all dead loads. The moment due to the wind shall be computed as:

Mw = (P)(A)(H)




Wind pressure in pounds per square foot is as follows:



10 PSF for the first 10 feet above the water line;



15 PSF for the next 15 feet;



20 PSF for the next 20 feet; etc.



Area, in square feet, of the total projected elevation of the structure above the waterline. This area shall include permanent appurtenances.



Height, in feet, to the center of area (A) above the center of gravity or the flotation.

(Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 15, 2006)

15.16.160 Construction.

(1) General. All construction shall comply with the other chapters of this code. The deck and superstructure framing shall be adequate to resist all design loads and forces in accordance with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code, including, but not limited to, Chapter 16. The flotation, deck framing, and superstructure shall be designed by a licensed engineer and constructed to act as an integral unit which is not adversely affected by wave action or point reactions under the flotation.

All framing lumber less than 12 inches above the waterline shall be pressure treated with an approved preservative. All hardware shall be hot-dip galvanized or noncorrosive metal. All plywood shall be exterior type adhesive, all exposed plywood shall be exterior grade, and all plywood below the deck level shall be marine grade.

(2) Roof Coverings (Roofing). Roofing materials on floating structures shall be fire-resistant or noncombustible in accordance with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code, including, but not limited to, Chapter 15. An example of a typical approved roof section is in Exhibit B at the end of this section.

(3) Interior Finishing. Every floating structure shall have interior finishes in accordance with The Oregon Structural Specialty Code, including, but not limited to, Chapter 8. In addition, Group R occupancies shall not have an interior finish that is less than Class III.

(4) Exiting. In addition to the requirements of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code, including, but not limited to, Chapter 10, every floating structure shall have a 24-inch minimum width open deck on all sides except as required by boat wells. Decks shall be so constructed as to prevent the ponding of water.

(5) Utility Connections. All connections for sewage, potable water, electricity, and fuel-gas piping shall be made to the appropriate Oregon Specialty Code.

Exhibit B-1

Exhibit B-2

(Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 16, 2006)

15.16.170 Additional provisions.

(1) Access. To provide for emergency exit, rescue and fire fighting, every mooring site shall be provided with continuous, unobstructed pedestrian access to a public way. Such access shall have a minimum clear net width of 48 inches for its entire length.

Every mooring site shall abut a waterway providing continuous, unobstructed vessel access to the lake or river proper.

(2) Water Depth. The minimum water depth for any boathouse or houseboat mooring site shall be sufficient for the houseboat to float free at mean low water.

(3) Mooring Devices. Every floating structure shall be moored with devices with capacity to hold the structure in place at all times. All such devices shall have an obvious means of emergency release.

(4) Piling. The moorage walkways, ramps, and floats shall be anchored by piling which is adequate to resist lateral forces produced by any combination of wind current, wave and/or impact. The minimum piling height shall be 30 feet above mean low water.

(5) Sanitation. Every mooring site which is intended for, or which is occupied by, a floating structure containing toilet, bathing, laundry, kitchen, or any other sanitary facilities shall be provided with approved connection for potable water and sewage disposal. (Ord. 3011 Exh. 1 § 17, 2006)