Dock Construction

Dock Construction Overview

What Is Dock Construction?

Dock construction involves building a structure on or near the shore to provide access to the water for various watercraft.

What Problems It Solves:

A private dock allows you to access the water directly. You also gain a place to store your boat and any other beach accessories without having to pay any fees.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Dock Construction


Building a private dock unlocks a variety of benefits for you and your family, including:

  • Private, constant access to the water
  • Guaranteed slip for your watercraft
  • Tighter security for your boat
  • No fees
  • Increased value for your waterfront property


Disadvantages for dock construction include:

  • Complete responsibility for maintenance, repairs, and security
  • Upfront cost of building
  • Considerable investment in a single location

Dock Construction Process


  1. Consultation: A team of dock construction experts will evaluate your shoreline and consult with state and local regulations to determine your options for your property.
  2. Design: Dock contractors will design a dock that meets your needs. They’ll work with you on determining the best layout and materials for your desired outcomes.
  3. Construction: Your dock contractors will build your new dock.


Dock construction can be achieved using a variety of materials, including wood, concrete, aluminum, steel, and plastic.


Wood is a traditional material that can last for decades. However, it requires regular maintenance since it is susceptible to insects, rot, warping, splintering, and other damage. It’s typically viewed as an environmentally-friendly option.


You may choose to use concrete for your dock’s frame before topping it with wood or PVC decking. Concrete is a strong, durable option for docks. However, it can disrupt the environment.


Aluminum is a strong, lightweight material that can last for decades. It’s very durable, although it is still susceptible to corrosion and requires some upkeep. Choosing recycled aluminum can make this a more eco-friendly option.


Steel is a strong but heavy choice when it comes to dock construction. It is susceptible to rusting and requires regular maintenance.


Plastic is the right choice for floating docks. Buoyant and lightweight, it is easy to maintain and can be easily removed during severe weather. Make sure to choose recycled plastic for a greener option.

Permitting Process

You typically do not need a permit to build a dock, but there may be state and/or local regulations you must adhere to during construction. Before hiring a dock contractor, ask them what sort of regulations may affect your plans.

Different Types Of Dock Construction

There are multiple kinds of docks you can choose from. However, nearly every dock can be categorized in one of two categories: removable docks and permanent docks.

Removable Docks

Removable docks are a good option if you’re living in an area prone to severe or extreme weather. If you live on a body of water that experiences high-energy waves or damaging ice, then a removable dock can simply be taken out during unfavorable seasons.

Types of removable docks include:

  • Floating docks: Good for low-energy waves and/or deep waters
  • Pipe docks: Best suited for warm, shallow waters; must be removed in colder weather
  • Piling docks: Semi-permanent option offering more stability; more difficult to remove

Permanent Docks

Permanent docks work best in shallow waters with stable water levels. They permanently attach to the ground.

Types of permanent docks include:

  • Crib docks: Sturdy and incredibly durable; can last decades, but are prohibited in some areas due to environmental disruption
  • Suspension docks: Expensive solution for deep waters; attached to the shore, not the bottom of the body of water

DIY Solutions For Dock Construction

Want to build a dock yourself? Plastic floating docks are the easiest to assemble without professional expertise. Kits to build aluminum pipe docks are also available for DIYers.

Be sure to check for state or local regulations before building a DIY dock to avoid any fines.