Boat Dock Cost and Type Guide
Quick Summary: Average Cost to Build a Boat Dock
On average, expect to pay $10,000 to $30,000 for a standard sized permanent boat dock. For a very small dock, you may get away with paying as little as $5,000. Piling docks cost $20 to $40 per square foot including installation. The most expensive types of docks usually max out at around $50,000.
In This Article
- Types of Docks
- Dock Pricing
- Other Cost Factors to Consider
- Additional Dock Considerations
- Free Dock Installation Quotes
Types of Docks
There are multiple types of boat dock, with the one that suits you best depending on your unique needs and the area.
- Crib docks: Think of a crib dock like a man-made island or peninsula. Crib docks are made by filling a large container with rocks covered with decking that is connected to the shoreline. This type of dock can be difficult to construct due to environmental regulations and the depth of the water. It is important to see what your local rules and regulations are before constructing a crib dock.
- Floating docks: Made from decking placed over airtight barrels or drums, this type of dock floats on the water. Weight capacity for floating docks is determined by the size and number of barrels used. Floating docks are typically less expensive and easier to manage/remove, but are not well suited to moving bodies of water, such as creeks and rivers.
- Piling docks: A structurally sound docking solution, piling docks are made by installing pilings (cylindrical, robust wooden beams) into the lakebed. Piling docks come with higher costs due to the difficulty of installation, but offer a permanent solution when properly maintained.
- Pipe docks: Similar to piling docks, but less expensive, pipe docks are constructed the same way but with pipe insteading of pilings. Pipe docks are best suited to shallow water.
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The cost of a boat dock depends on the materials used, the type of dock, and the difficulty of the installation.
- Floating docks have an average cost between $15 and $35 per square foot. The lower end of the pricing spectrum holds kits that you need to assemble, while the higher end includes larger docks that simply need to be installed.
- Piling docks have an average cost between $20 and $40 per square foot, including installation costs. Additional features such as rails or lifts may drive prices up to $60 per square foot.
- A small, pre-assembled pipe dock has an average cost between $1,000 and $2,000, not including delivery or installation costs.
- A small permanent dock has an average starting cost of $5,000, with standard sizes costing between $10,000 and $30,000.
- A boat lift comes at an additional cost between $5,000 and $7,000.
Cost Factors to Consider
There are several factors that determine the cost of your dock, including:
- Configuration: The larger the dock, the longer the assembly and the more materials you'll need. The same goes for complex configurations; the more complex the dock is, the more you can expect to pay for labor and materials.
- Decking: The material you use on the surface of the dock contributes largely to your overall costs. For example, a dock with a wood composite surface as opposed to a wood surface will be cost less.
- Groundwork: Before installing the dock, it is important to figure out if you need to do any landscaping, leveling, or foundation digging. The more groundwork that needs to be done, the higher the price.
- Permits: It is incredibly important to learn if you need any permits or other type of permission before constructing a dock. Costs vary from place to place based on state and local regulations.
- Type: Crib, floating, piling, and pipe docks all use different materials and methods of construction, which means they come at different costs. Choosing the right type of dock for your wants and needs is important; a professional will know the best type for you.
Beyond cost and materials, you need to consider the rules and regulations of your area. This directly impacts the type, and sometimes size, of dock you can build. Consult all local agencies and the website for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management to see what specific guidelines you must follow.
Climate and water conditions are also important factors. Water depth, whether it freezes each season, and how active the water is affect the type of deck that will work best for you.
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