How Much Does a Boat Dock Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

While docks have many purposes, the main purpose of a dock is to restrain a boat while allowing passengers to get on and off the boat.    Rather than having to visit a boat launch to put in and take out your boat each time you use it, many, who have legal access to the water, can install their own dock to keep the boat in the water at all times.

Docked by madame.furie, on Flickr
Docked” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  madame.furie

How much does it cost to build a dock?

The cost of a boat dock will depend on the type of boat dock you’re looking to build.  With many options, as stated above, the costs, according to our research, can be in the $2,000 to $6,000 range or close to $20 to $45 per square foot to have a professional install one.  If the contractor chooses to charge by the foot, then the costs can be in the $100 per foot range.  A prefabricated dock, for example, could be as cheap as $1,000, whereas a higher-quality dock, made of durable materials, could easily be more than $25,000.  The costs, in the end, will depend on the materials being used, the difficulty of the installation, the water depth, climate, the contractor you use and where you live.

With so many factors and unique situations, consider getting multiple quotes from licensed contractors at

On, members talked about the quotes they received when getting a dock built.  One member, the one who started the forum thread, said he was quoted $40 per square foot for a 100-foot dock, whereas another member said they had paid about $24,000 for a 240-foot long dock.

Great Northern Docks created a plan and estimated pricing page, with prices ranging from $7,200 for a straight cedar boat dock measuring 48 feet by six feet wide to as much as $15,000 for a “harbor” configuration measuring 36 feet long.

Refer to our table below to see what the average boat dock type could cost you.

Type of DockDescriptionAverage Price
CribA crib dock will use a large container which is filled with rocks, which will then be covered with a decking materials that connects it to the shore. Due to environmental regulations, this type of deck is often hard to build, and the costs will depend on the size and amount of decking.$20 to $40 per square foot, depending on the decking material.
FloatingAs the name notes, this dock will float over an airtight barrel or drum. The more drums and barrels that are used, the more weight the dock will be able to handle.$20 to $40 per square foot, depending on the decking material.
PilingConstructed by using a driving piling, usually with wood and the decking is connected to the pilings to form an attractive looking dock.$20 to $45 per square foot, depending on the aesthetics.
PipeInstead of wooden pilings, a pipe dock will use pips and will be suited for shallower waters.$3,000 to $4,500 for materials and professional install
SuspensionAs the name notes, this deck will "suspend" over the water, similar to a suspension bridge. These docks are uncommon due to the complexity of installing one; however, this type of dock tends to have a high aesthetic value.$25 to $45 per square foot, depending on the aesthetics.

Since most docks will be made from either wood or plastic, there will be different types you can use when constructing.  Each type of wood and plastic can have its own advantages, so it’s best to consult with a local professional contractor to see what may work best in your scenario.  The table below shows how the decking pricing among materials can vary:

Type of MaterialPrice (per square foot)
Aluminum$10 to $14
Cedar$4 to $8
Hardwood$3 to $6
Pine$5 to $10
Plastic$6 to $10
Pressure Treated$5 to $8
Synthetic Wood$30 to $40
Vinyl$4 to $9

Building a dock overview

Dock materials, as seen in our table above, will often be plastic or wood.  For decking, treated and stained lumber is preferred since the dock will be exposed to the water and sunlight.

The most common type of boat dock will have a straight configuration, meaning it will reach into the water perpendicular to the shore.  Other plans, however, can include a rigid straight, “F” configuration, starboard patio, harbor and “T” configuration.  A rigid deck will be similar to a straight deck but it will be larger in size, whereas an “F” configuration will be shaped like an F and can dock more than one boat.  A starboard patio dock will have an inverted “L” shape with a wider-than-average decking average over the water, while a harbor dock will have a “Y” shape, where the vessel will sit between the Y.  Lastly, a “T” configuration will be shaped like a T and can be suitable for many sized vessels. The type you choose will depend on how you plan on using the deck.

What are the extra costs?

Depending on where you live, permits and an inspection will more than likely be necessary.  Again, depending on the geographical location, this could be as little as a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars or so.

Adding a ladder can cost another $300 to $500.

In some circumstances, you can add electrical outlets to some types of docks.  Depending on the distance from the home to the dock, this could be an additional $1,000 or so to run the wires and install a new outlet.

Some boat owners often add a boat lift to the dock.  This mechanism allows you to lift your boat out of the water when it is not in use and then put it right back in at the push of a button.

An optional add-on, such as a waterslide, could be added for a few hundred dollars.

Other structures need to be considered as well.  This may include a boat house, which just like a small shed or pool house, could cost as much as $30,000 to $50,000, depending on how extravagant you want to get.

Additional jobs, such as landscaping, adding a patio nearby and/or digging out a foundation, can increase the costs.

Tips to know:

Before considering a dock, be sure to check local regulations to see if any are in place.  The same can be said about the climate.  If you were to live in a colder climate where the water would freeze, then a pipe dock, for instance, wouldn’t work.  Another consideration will be the depth of the water.  As noted in our table, deeper water may not work well with some types of docks.

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