Cost for building a boat dock

How Much Does Boat Dock Cost?

A property fronting a beach or any bodies of water would always be an amazing and relaxing sight. But if you have been residing there for a very long time, you would grow immune to its charm and the scenery would look bland with each passing time. Therefore, some changes might be considered.

And no, we are not suggesting that you move out of the place or put the property on the market. We mean building a structure along the coastline that would be as functional as it would be an added attraction to the seemingly boring beach front.

And since we brought up the idea, we would be providing you the information about the cost of building a dock.

Average Cost of Boat Docks

The cost to build a dock would depend on what type of dock you want to put up in the first place as there are several types to choose from. But according to, the national average cost to build a dock through a contractor is $3,396 but could range from $1,400 to $7,000. The high-end permanent types could be as much as $30,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the project.

Some of the types and the boat dock prices are the following:

  • Floating – $15 to $35 per sq. ft.

This type of dock is the one where empty barrels are placed underneath to support the weight of the dock. This is usually built using empty drums tied together to form a large raft and fastened to the frame. But this type tends to be unstable as this is only floating, therefore, it could only support certain weight and could only withstand a particular kind of weather.

  • Piling – $20 to $60 per sq. ft.

A piling dock is the one where piles are driven into the sand below to support the dock. This is built by drilling or driving pilings into the sand to provide support to the structure. This is sturdier than the floating docks but can still be challenged by bad weathers. So if the location of the dock is more prone to hurricanes, you would need a sturdier piling to withstand the storm which thereby translates to more expensive cost.

  • Pipe – $1,000 to $3,000

This type of dock is the cheap copycat of the piling dock as this is almost built the same way but instead of using piles like the ones used in telephone poles, this uses prefabricated pipes. Since this is not as sturdy as the piling dock, this is only suitable for shallow waters and steady weather.

  • Crib – $10,000 to $30,000

This type of dock is considered the most expensive to build because of the materials involved. It is built by filling a large container with rocks that are later on covered with decking connected to the shoreline. Crib docks are typically limited to waters up to 15 feet and are usually regulated by environmental agencies.

  • Suspension – $25 to $45 per sq. ft.

From the word itself, the dock is literally suspended and with no support underneath, similar to a suspension bridge. Because of the cost involved and the challenges in building this kind of dock, it is relatively unpopular to build but can be a real attraction if successfully installed.

Meanwhile, the various decking prices that hugely affect the overall cost of the materials are the following:

  • Hardwood Decking – $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
  • Pine Decking – $5 to $11 per sq. ft.
  • Plastic Decking – $6 to $10 per sq. ft.
  • Synthetic Wood Decking – $30 to $40 per sq. ft.
  • Pressure-Treated Decking – $5 to $8 per sq. ft.
  • Vinyl Decking – $4 to $9 per sq. ft.
  • Cedar Decking – $4 to $8 per sq. ft.
  • Aluminum Decking – $10.00 to $14 per sq. ft.

What are Included

The cost of building a dock that a contractor may quote typically includes the following:

  • Materials – these would include the cost of all the parts of the dock, from the deck to the support structures underneath and all others that are needed to connect or attach each part to one another.
  • Labor – this cost includes either the cost of the hourly rate or the lump sum price of installation based on the estimated time it would take to finish the project.
  • Equipment – the cost of mobilization and demobilization, as well as equipment utilization, are included in the cost estimates of the boat dock contractor.
  • Boat Dock Plan – boat dock prices would always start from a boat dock plan or the blueprint of the design you, as the owner, want your dock to look like.
  • Clean up and disposal – the cost of removal and disposal of the debris should also be included in the price quote.

Additional Costs

In building the boat dock, you are also expected to incur some additional expenses, including:

  • Electricity – installing an electricity source on the dock can make it accessible at night by adding lighting and especially so if you plan to install a boat lift. Not only it adds to the appearance of your dock but also adds to its usefulness. Electrical work can range around $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Dock lights – this lighting can add convenience by guiding you to the right location when you have enjoyed boating and the darkness has set in even before your reach the shore as this automatically turns on in darkness.
  • Additional structures – some people who are daring enough to construct a boat dock can sometimes stretch their creativity by constructing additional groundwork such as adding a patio or boathouse which can cost around $10,000 to $50,000 depending on how generous you can be or adding a separate boatlift which can cost anywhere around $5,000 to $7,000.
  • Benches – dock benches are another way of maximizing the functionality of your dock.
  • Permits – permits are almost an automatic expense in any kind of construction but their exact cost depends on the location.
  • Supervision – if you do not intend to supervise the project, your contractor may charge an additional 15% to 23% to the cost of constructing the boat dock.

Shopping for Boat Docks

The popular statement “you really don’t know what you want unless you see it” can be true. With this in mind, you can do some research on the types of dock and designs so you can decide on your own and not rely heavily on the suggestions and recommendations of the contractor.

Once you have made up your mind, you can now start by searching for your prospective contractor. can be a great start as it provides a boat dock contractor locator that can give your free quotes.

You may also inquire at for their various types of docks and accessories.

Factors Affecting Cost of Boat Docks

  • Type of dock – your choice of whether to construct a floating, pipe, crib or piling docks would be the main determining factor of the cost of building a dock.
  • The size and design – the larger the dock and the more complex the design are, the more expensive your cost would be.
  • Decking materials – as if your choice of the type of deck is not enough to determine the boat dock prices, your choice of what type of materials your decking would be can also add further on the overall cost.
  • The contractor – your choice of contractor can also affect the costing as there are those who are well-known in the industry because of the quality of their finished products as well as their vast experience. These could more often than not manifest in how expensive they charge per project.
  • Location – the state where the dock is to be constructed would definitely be affecting the prices of each and every part of the construction starting from the materials, labor, permits, etc.
  • DIY or Hire a Contractor – doing a project yourself can save you a lot of money on the cost, provided, you have enough skills and experience to do the job. When the job requires a certain type of skills to achieve a certain type of finish and are strictly regulated in a particular area, you can do yourself a favor and hire someone who is best for the job.

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