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What You Need to Know About Dock Building in Florida to Meet Code

by Scott Myers

At Duncan Seawall, we're here to not only deliver quality marine construction, but we're also here to help our customers understand the processes. It's important to us that every customer feels confident and comfortable with the decision to hire our team to construct a dock that will give you or your patrons years of waterfront enjoyment. 


Related Blog: How To Choose The Right Marine Contractor

Building a Dock 101: Basic and Important Information

Joshua Cross, a Northwest Florida real estate agent, specializing in waterfront properties, offers an excellent outline of the information vital to understanding dock construction in Florida. 


Riparian Law 

Being a waterfront property owner, Riparian Law entitles you "to have the right to wharf out to "navigable waters." You have the right, but there could be stipulations. As the author states, "there are many agencies which claim jurisdiction over marine construction projects in Florida." 


U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Regulates Permitting

Because the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers focuses on major marine construction projects, the overseeing authority classifies residential dock construction as "low impact projects," and it hands the authority down to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). There are three types of permits that the DEP uses to regulate dock marine construction.

  1. "Exemptions –  no permit required if activity meets thresholds defined by FL Statute."
  2. "General Permits –  For activities that have been determined to have minimal impacts."
  3. "Individual Permits –  All activities that do not qualify for exemption or general permitting."


Residential Docks: Usually Exempt

There are "three (3) criteria" that a residential dock project must meet to be considered "exempt from both State and Federal permitting."

  1. "Dock will be 1000 sq. ft. or less."
  2. "Dock is located outside of protected waters."
  3. "Dock will be used non-commercially."


Residential Dock Repair or Replacement: Must Complete a Self-Certification Process

As the article offers, it's important to know if your dock repair/replacement is exempt or not


Under the DEP: Five Regions of the Florida Water Management District

The DEP delineates five distinct regions of Florida, each operating to manage docks built in its district. As pointed out, "counties and municipalities also have their ordinances regarding wetlands and marine construction projects."


Your Local County and City Ordinances to Follow

Ultimately, it's your local and city governments that will "directly oversee the construction," and this is your starting place. You must follow the criteria. You never know when the Corps or the DEP may also be following up on a marine construction project, especially if wetlands are involved. 


The first step is preparing the paperwork for your local ordinance(s). Since we're in Sarasota County, here is the City of Sarasota application, "Sarasota Building Division - Minimum Requirements For - Docks."


Building a Dock 102: Hiring a Reputable Marine Construction Company

Since our inception in 1979, the team at Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC, is proud to have become well-known and respected throughout Southwest Florida. With over four decades of experience, we offer our customers, commercial and residential, a full-service approach.


We Have the Process Almost Down to a Science 

Because of all the docks we have constructed since 1979, we can give our customers a pretty close estimate when they can expect to have a dock ready for business or personal enjoyment. With our four-step process, our customers have an idea of completion time. Let us point out, step two. We handle the permitting process!


Commercial or Residential: Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift has an Exceptional Team

We are well-staffed with field staff and in-house staff to handle all of our customers' needs, from the initial phone call to years of continued maintenance and support. Whether you want a commercial dock or a residential dock, look through our gallery of completed projects to see the quality we build in every project. 


No matter the size, the team at Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC, is here to construct a quality dock for you. Contact us today so we can get started on your project.

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