How Much Does a Floating Dock Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

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A traditional dock will have legs that are secured into the bottom of the water, and this is done by burying the legs or by dropping them into cinder blocks that settle on the floor of the water.  A floating dock, however, is built in the same way as a traditional dock, but without the legs.  Instead, there are pontoons or large hollow cylinders that float, attached to the bottom.  In order for the floating dock to be steady, the pontoons need to be large enough and placed correctly.  The floating dock will also need to be attached to something to keep it from floating away.  This could be done by using cables to connect to the floor of the water, to the shore or to a nearby pier.

Stage Harbor floating dock by tedkerwin, on Flickr
Stage Harbor floating dock” (CC BY 2.0) by tedkerwin

How much does a floating dock cost?

On average, a floating dock can cost as little as $7 to $11 per square foot if you assemble the dock yourself.  For those who want a pre-assembled dock, the costs can be anywhere from $14 to as much as $30 per square foot if you were to hire a professional.

According to RollingBarge.com, the costs of a floating dock are based on the square footage.  On average, a conventional floating dock may cost around $24 to $30 per square foot.  If you choose to buy their floating dock kit, it may cost around $15 per square foot and you will be responsible for the labor.  A fully assembled dock may cost around $20 per square foot.  For assembled floating docks and party barges, it may cost about $23 per square feet.

Floating dock overview

A floating dock can attach to anything secure once in the water.  Generally installed as sections, the dock is designed to float either near shore or even in the middle of the water.  However, some floating docks may require special piers to which it needs to be connected.

Common shapes will include your conventional straight dock, an L-shape, U-shape and T-shape.

Floating docks can be made from various materials that include metal, composite lumber, or aluminum.  These are also docks that are filled with a high-density polystyrene.

What are the extra costs?

Some kits will not come with the necessary lumber and nails to properly secure it to your dock.  Plan on budgeting for any necessary materials to complete your dock.

There are added costs if you wish to include add-ons.  For instance, there’s an extra charge for a customized skid bunk or if you wish to add more keel rollers. You may have to pay for an additional floatation if you want more buoyancy.  In addition, it will cost more if you want a high-quality winch system.

Some people may want to add rails to the sides of the floating dock to provide more safety to those on the dock.  You can also choose to purchase a ladder which you can climb to get onto the dock.

Tips to know:

Choose a floating dock that allows you to connect a cleat or bumper in any edge you want.  This provides safety for a boat that is attached.  When the waves come and the boat bumps into the dock, there will be no damage.

Make sure that the floats are made out of materials that do not sink.  Make sure that it has excellent stability.

Be careful when you step onto a floating dock as it will move slightly when you step on it and change the weight.  It can also sway with the waves.

Questions to ask when purchasing a floating dock

Are there dock accessories included?

Are there different packages that you offer?

Could you install the dock or do I have to do it myself?

Do I need any special tools for installation?

How much maintenance do you offer?

What is the freeboard height of the floating dock?

How can I save money?

Consider factory direct floating docks that are already pre-assembled.  These kits tend to be more convenient and will have everything you need straight from the box.  If you don’t mind buying used, you can save up to 50 percent.

Always shop around.  Careful research allows you to make the right choice.  With so many online retailers and professionals, it is best to speak with at least three companies.


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