Boat Dock Cost and Type Guide
A Review of Dock Type Choices and Prices
Without a dock, you’re not making the most of that waterfront property. A dock provides a space to park your boat, of course, but it’s also a ready-made entertainment area, perfect for laying out, fishing or just hanging around with family and friends.
There are four basic types of docks:
- A pipe dock is the least expensive and simplest to build. Essentially, it is just a platform suspended slightly above the water that is supported by skinny pipes. Pipe docks are suitable for shallow water with minimal depth fluctuations. Some pipe docks can be fitted with wheels so they are easily removable, which is important in areas where water freezes and can damage the dock.
- Floating docks are the best choice for deep water or areas of water with significant depth fluctuations. Like pipe docks, floating docks are removable; however, they tend to be less stable.
- Permanent docks are sturdier and longer lasting than pipe or floating docks. They come in three varieties: crib docks that are weighted down with rock or stone; concrete piers; and piling docks, which are similar to pipe docks but more robust and permanent.
- Specialty docks include suspension docks, which jut out from a piece of land and have no underneath support, and lift docks, which can be lifted vertically to be protected from ice and freezing conditions during the winter.
Docks can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, wood composite, aluminum or plastic. Some docks are sold preassembled; some require assembly; and others are custom built. The best dock for you depends on your budget, the water depth and local weather conditions.
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Water Dock Prices
You could spend $1,000 or $50,000 on a dock, depending on the type, materials used and the difficulty of installation.
- A small, preassembled pipe dock might cost $1,000 to $2,000, not including delivery or installation. These will generally have aluminum frames with wood, wood composite or plastic decking.
- Floating docks range in price from about $15 to $35 per square foot. On the low end of that price range, you can purchase a kit that requires assembly. On the high end, you can purchase a fairly large floating dock and have it installed.
- The smallest permanent docks start at about $5,000, but most fall in the range of $10,000 to $30,000.
- Piling docks, perhaps the most popular type of permanent dock, usually cost about $20 to $40 per square foot. That includes installation but not fancy features such as gazebos, rails or lifts. Those features can raise the price to $60 per square foot.
- Adding a boat lift usually costs an extra $5,000 to $7,000.
Boat houses start at about $10,000, but fancy versions with multiple stories, storage rooms, jet ski lifts and the like easily cost $20,000 to $50,000 or more.