Planning for Your Boat Dock: Styles and Pricing Information

How Much Does a Boat Dock Cost?

When you live on a waterfront, it makes sense to enjoy the water anyway that you can. If part of that enjoyment happens to be boats, then having a private dock to use for your convenience can be a fantastic investment. Not only will you not need to worry about storage fees, but you can also keep your boat close to your home and increase your property's value in the process.

Just like with selecting a boat, though, building a dock has multiple options that will come with their pros and cons—as well as different price points. If you want to know the answer to "How much does a boat dock cost?" then you need to make some decisions about the kind of dock you want.

Common Types of Boat Docks

When it comes to boating and docks, you have a few different options depending on whether you want to have a permanent or removable dock.

Crib Docks

A crib dock is one of the most stable types of docks available, and they will last for decades if built correctly. This permanent option has frames or crates along the bottom, with large rocks inside and contained by decking to hold the structure in place. While they can last a long time, they aren't easy to remove or extend, and they pose the risk of causing environmental problems.

Because of the potential to impact wildlife and water flow, your area may not allow the building of a crib dock on your property.

Suspension Docks

An alternate option for permanent docks is suspension models. Rather than stabilizing itself with weighted down crates, a suspension dock will instead hang over the water. This build will have far less of an impact on the environment than a crib model, but because of the engineering necessary to support the dock, the cost and time to build it will be high.

While suspension docks avoid negatively impacting the wildlife, they and crib models both cannot move quickly, which can put them at risk for damage during severe weather.

Piling Docks

Piling docks share some similarities with crib docks in that they connect to the ground beneath the water for support. However, rather than using a frame along the bottom, the pilings (large wooden beams) connect to the dock. The use of rollers and hoops allow for the dock to adjust to the changing water levels of the tide.

Though adjustable, it can be a costly process to readjust the pilings, rollers, and hoops if the tide levels change over time, and these docks are at significant risk for damage if not planned out carefully.

Pipe Docks

Pipe docks share a lot of similarities to piling docks, but, as the name suggests, they use aluminum pipes rather than wooden pilings. Overall, they tend to be less stable but also more cost-effective and have the least amount of environmental impact. For any area of water that is shallow (usually up to eight feet), a pipe dock can make an excellent choice. Removable docking adds to the overall convenience.

The use of aluminum pipes means you'll potentially need to remove the whole structure during colder months when there's a risk for freezing. Pipe docks also don't rise and fall with the water level, which can cause issues.

Floating Docks

A floating dock is easily one of the most versatile options out there, as they have decking placed over flotation assistants, like airtight drums. They'll always adjust to the water level, which makes it possible to store electronics on them without the risk of water damage. Since they don't need a foundation to support them, floating docks can work on any waterfront and often need far fewer permits to build.

You can also quickly move a floating dock off the water during severe weather conditions, and they can usually stay afloat even when there is a risk for freezing.

Price Ranges

On average, the price range of a boat dock falls between $2,600 and $21,000, depending on the type of dock built and the overall scope of the project. When it comes to permanent options, it's also possible for the price to run as high as $75,000 for a full-scale pier, depending on the quality of the project. However, smaller options can run as low as $1,000.

Since crib docks are a permanent option, you can expect to pay on the higher end of the spectrum, especially if you want to connect several sections. The average cost range for a crib dock falls between $10,000 and $50,000, and you will likely need to apply for a permit as well. While costly, a quality crib dock can easily last for fifty years.

Suspension docks are much trickier to determine an average price for because they're rarer to find and tricky to build thanks to the engineering challenges. As permanent docks, however, they do run on the more expensive side, like crib ones. Talking with a lock engineer will give you the best estimate for what a suspension dock will cost you.

The cost of a piling dock will wholly depend on the size you want. More often than not, you can expect to pay twenty to forty dollars per square foot, making your final price a matter of how much space you want to have available. While potentially complex, you do have a great deal of customization possible so your dock will fit your needs.

Pipe docks, while similar in structure to pilling ones, tend to be the least expensive of all the available options. Prefabricated docks can come at as low as $1000, while paying for installation costs and more complex materials can lead to a total of $10,000. You should also account for potential repair and replacement costs, as pipe docks aren't as durable as other options.

Lastly, the cost of a floating dock will also depend on how big the overall construction is, ranging at rates between fifteen and thirty-five dollars per square foot. If you want to stay inexpensive, you can find prefabricated aluminum docks for as little as $1,500, and the upper limit can stretch as high as you're willing to spend for the materials and space you want.

●       Other factors that can impact the price of your dock are:

●       Materials used

●       The area where you live

●       The scope of your project

●       Potential permit application prices

●       Future maintenance and repair costs

Dock Materials Cost

As mentioned, the material involved in your dock can have a substantial impact on the price. Here are common decking materials and their average prices per square foot for comparison.

●  Aluminum: $10.01 - $11.20

●  Cedar: $4.63 - $7.70

●  Hardwood: $3.50 - $5

●  Pine: $5 - $11

●  Plastic: $6.25 - $9.40

●  Pressure-treated: $5.30 - $7.10

●  Synthetic wood: $35

●  Vinyl: $4.63

Determining the Best Dock for You

While cost and budgeting will be a substantial factor in picking out a dock, you'll also need to consider what works best for the type of waterfront you live on and what your area permits. You should also think if you plan to live in the same place before deciding to invest in a permanent dock.

Not every boat owner will need to build their dock, but it can be a financial investment to consider along with new boat prices. Consider talking with a local sailboat trader for recommendations on where to start your project and who to work with if you're unsure of where to start

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