Posted on April 7, 2022

How to Determine Floating Dock Cost

How to Determine the Cost of a Dock

Written by ShoreMaster Marketing

Trying to look up the average price of a boat dock will get you a wide range of figures in the multiple thousands of dollars. It’s a lot of money, but why wouldn’t you want the very best for something that you’re trusting to hold you and your boat when the weather gets nice? Boat docks are an important part of protecting the investment that you’ve put into your boat. 

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to working out the average cost of a boat dock because of the number of variables that go into creating one. Your budget is going to be an important factor in what you get, so make sure to allocate your funds properly when it’s time to start investing. While we can’t give you an estimate of how much a dock would cost, we can tell you where you’ll be putting your budget.

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Dock Type

The right kind of dock is the most important consideration because that’s the literal foundation on which the rest of your boat dock system is built. Floating docks, docks built on pilings, crib docks, pipe docks, and suspended docks will all have different costs based on their complexity, materials, and whatever labor is required to install them. The materials that these docks are built from can also vary in price and make the price of your dock change, too. Consider that some materials or docks require more maintenance than others, that you might need to remove sectional docks for the winter in your area, and the fact that you might be restricted to particular styles or materials based on your water, and you might have some budget considerations.


Is your dock going to be a very simple, bare-bones platform that you use to access your boat? Are you going to build an outdoor entertainment space with plenty of space to spread out, relax, or play? The larger your dock is, the longer it will take to assemble, the more materials and sections are needed, and the more money it will cost. The same goes for more complex layouts as well: more complicated docks require more planning, which means more money. And if you’re buying boat dock accessories to go with your dock, like dock furniture or water sports equipment, those pieces will factor into your cost as well.

Decking and Other Materials

Decking can make up as much as 25% to 50% of the price of a dock, although that number can get higher, so keep that in mind when budgeting. Dock decking material costs can vary, with cheaper woods requiring more expensive maintenance later on with aluminum decking that’s more expensive upfront but doesn’t require anywhere near as much maintenance even years down the road. Not only do the decking materials themselves have different costs, but a lot of their cost is also dependent on your dock configuration plans: larger or more complex boat dock systems will require more decking and, therefore, more initial investment.

Landscaping or Other Groundwork

Will your shoreline need any construction work done before you install your dock? How about the dock itself? Landscaping, leveling, and foundation digging might factor into your cost, and installing pilings or other permanent dock support fixtures will cost money, too. Sectional dock owners don’t need to worry as much about this because sectional docks are designed to come apart and be reconfigured or removed as needed, which makes the landscaping requirements minimal. Floating docks require anchors, but beyond that, very little in the way of infrastructure.


While it might not be part of the boat dock itself, getting all of the required legal stuff out of the way is going to factor into your budget. Some areas require you to have permits to build and install a dock, and you might need to set aside some money for a professional inspection as well. Please pay these fees and do things properly and legally because you don’t want to run the risk of having to take down your boat dock after investing your time and money into it.

ShoreMaster Boat Dock Systems

The idea of buying and installing a boat dock might be overwhelming when it’s broken down into different line items of your budget. However, a premium dock system is one of the best waterfront investments you can make (after your boat, of course). A boat dock gives you a place to moor or lift your boat out of the water without needing to pull it up on shore all the time, which protects it from damage. Having your boat accessible by the water’s edge saves you from competing with other boaters for ramp space when the weather is nice, and you won’t have to rent space in a marina or other area. On top of the practical benefits, there’s the fact that a boat dock can become an outdoor entertainment space even when you’re not boating, making it a wonderful addition to your waterfront home. The upfront cost of a dock might seem like a lot, but it will pay for itself in maintenance and rental costs as long as you find the right system.

Luckily, the right help can go a long way toward making sure that your boat dock system is within your budget, well-suited for your shoreline, and will protect your boat for years to come. ShoreMaster has an extensive dealer network across the United States and Canada as well as years of expertise and engineering experience to know what makes a good dock system. For more information on what dock system will work best for your water or to work on upgrading your existing boat dock system, contact a ShoreMaster dealer near you.