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Boat Dock Installation Costs - A Price Breakdown

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Boat Dock Built and Installed? #

Having a custom boat dock built and installed typically costs $45-$150 per sq.ft. or $4,000-$25,000 on average depending on size, materials and local rates. Here's a breakdown:

Dock Materials

  • Wooden dock: $15-$40 per sq.ft
  • Composite dock: $25-$60 per sq.ft
  • Aluminum dock: $30-$75 per sq.ft
  • Concrete dock: $50-$150 per sq.ft

Dock Building Labor

  • Framing, decking, railings: $15-$50 per sq.ft
  • Electrical, utilities, accessories: $5-$15 per sq.ft

Dock Installation

  • Mobilization, pile driving: $2,000-$5,000
  • Crane/barge rental: $1,500-$4,000 per day

So for example, a 700 sq.ft wooden dock would cost around $28,000-$49,000 installed. Higher-end aluminum or concrete docks cost $60,000-$100,000+. Permits, surveys and custom designs also add costs.

Boat Dock Build Cost

Real-World Boat Dock Installation Costs #

  • "I had a small 20x4 ft stationary wooden dock built and installed on the shore of my lakefront property for $7,500." - Janet D., Ohio

  • "For my oceanside home, I splurged on a large 40x8 ft composite floating dock with aluminum ramp, electrical and lighting. It cost $38,000 to fabricate and install." - Mark F., Illinois

  • "My homeowners association only allows smaller docks. I had a 12x6 ft roll-in aluminum dock with composite decking built and mounted on the seawall for $16,000 total." - Jessica N., Indiana

  • "I converted my lakeside boathouse into a party space and had a 30x15 ft concrete drive-on dock built for direct water access. The custom dock alone was $68,000." - Robert T., Maine

Boat Dock Material Options #

There are several main boat dock construction options to choose from:

Dock MaterialProsCons
Wood Docks
  • Cost-effective
  • Requires yearly maintenance
Composite Docks
  • More scratch/stain resistant
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Higher cost
Aluminum Docks
  • Durable, corrosion-resistant
  • Low-maintenance
  • Highest material costs
Concrete Docks
  • Extremely durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Highest installation costs

Boat Dock Structural Designs #

There are several main structural designs for boat docks:

Dock TypeProsCons
Stationary Docks
  • Lower cost
  • Good for protected waters
  • Limited adaptability to water levels
  • Higher impact from wave action
Floating Docks
  • Adapt to fluctuating water levels
  • Allow boat access at any depth
  • Generally higher cost
  • Require anchoring
Roll-In Docks
  • Direct water access for boats
  • No need for separate lift/hoist
  • Takes up more shoreline
  • Higher installation costs

Do You Need a Permit for a Boat Dock? #

In most cases, yes you do need a permit for constructing and installing a boat dock. Here are some key things to know about boat dock permits:

Local Zoning Approvals

  • Most municipalities require zoning permits/approvals for building any structure on your property near the shoreline. This includes docks.

  • Zoning regulations dictate things like allowable dock size, minimum setbacks from property lines, permissible materials, etc.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permits

  • For docks extending out over navigable waters, a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is usually required.

  • This involves submitting plans showing the dock size, location, construction method and environmental impact.

State DNR Permits

  • Most states require a permit from the Department of Natural Resources before building or modifying a dock.

  • These help regulate shoreline construction and its impact on wildlife habitats, wetlands, vegetation, etc.

Homeowners Association Approval

  • For lakefront properties in an HOA community, written approval from the HOA board is mandatory before installing a private dock.

  • HOA covenants often govern dock design standards, size limits, acceptable locations, etc.

So in summary, some type of permit is almost always required, whether from local zoning, state regulators, federal authorities or community associations.

Be sure to check all regulations for your area before starting any dock project. The permit process can take 4-12 weeks.

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