Contact Us

How To Choose The Right Marine Contractor

by Duncan Seawall

When it comes to marine properties, selecting the right marine contractor is essential to ensuring the success of your project. Whether you're enhancing a commercial boat lift, repairing a damaged boardwalk, or dealing with shoreline erosion, a trusted and experienced marine contractor is the difference between a successful job and a botched mess.


To help you make the right decision, here are factors to consider, questions to ask, and red flags to watch out for when choosing a marine contractor for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Marine Contractor

Experience and Stability

When it comes to marine construction, experience matters. So, look for companies with experienced personnel and a stable history. A track record of completed projects is evidence of a contractor's capability and commitment. It indicates a higher likelihood of meeting project timelines and quality standards.

Whether it's building sturdy docks, taming erosion with resilient seawalls, or installing the perfect boat lift for your trusty vessel, opting for a company with a stable team implies your project is in capable hands.

Area of Specialization

Specialization matters in marine construction. Ensure your chosen contractor specializes in the type of project you have, be it coastal or freshwater construction. With their technical training, marine contractors excel in building structures like boat lifts and bulkheads.

Unlike general contractors, these specialized contractors understand the unique challenges water environments pose to deliver higher expertise and better results.

Private Vs. Public Marine Contractors

The ownership structure of a marine contractor can significantly influence project outcomes. Public marine construction companies, often part of various investment groups, might prioritize completing projects on short-term costs over long-term quality.

On the other hand, private companies focus on building long-term relationships and exhibit quicker decision-making, providing a more personalized approach.


Marine construction projects can be unpredictable. Professional and knowledgeable contractors navigate challenges seamlessly, ensuring the project progresses smoothly. Before picking a contractor, inquire about their ability to handle unexpected developments and changes, ensuring your project stays on course.

Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Marine Contractor

To make an informed decision, ask the right questions to gauge the suitability of your potential marine contractor:

  • Are you licensed or bonded? Request and verify licenses and bonds. Confirm coverage details to ensure comprehensive protection.

  • Will you complete the project, or will you need subcontractors? Clarify whether the contractor will outsource to ensure everyone on your job site is qualified.

  • How much will the project cost? It's best to request written estimates detailing the entire project cost and time frame breakdown.

  • How will I communicate with you? Establish clear communication channels, obtaining a physical address and business phone numbers for regular project inquiries and updates.

  • Is a permit required for the construction? Verify permit requirements with local authorities and ensure the contractor complies.

  • What are the steps involved in the project? You should receive a summary of the project's steps to understand how it will unfold and how long it will take.

  • Do you have references I can contact? Ask for references and follow-up to validate the contractor's credibility and performance.

Red Flags to Beware Of

While searching for a marine contractor, be cautious if you encounter these red flags:

  • Demands upfront costs: Be cautious if the contractor requires all costs upfront or only accepts cash.

  • Provides unsubstantiated references: Verify references supplied by the contractor to ensure their legitimacy.

  • Avoids written contracts: A reliable contractor should be willing to document agreements in writing.

  • Unsubstantiated building permit requests: Beware if the contractor insists on obtaining your building permit.

  • High-pressure sales tactics: Be cautious of contractors using aggressive sales techniques or offering unrealistically high discounts. Genuine contractors don't rely on aggressive techniques. Their track record and customer satisfaction speak on their behalf.

If you're looking for the perfect marine contractor throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Pinellas, and surrounding counties, Duncan Seawall stands out as a reliable partner. Our experts are skilled in the complexities of marine construction, committed to quality workmanship, and unsurpassed customer service to ensure a seamless and successful project.

View our product catalog here or contact us to schedule a visit to our design center.


Complete Guide to Boat Lifts

marine construction docks boat maintenance

Subscribe to our blog

Download Our Product Catalog


Download Our Complete Guide to Seawalls