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Is a Floating or Static Dock Right for You?

by Duncan Seawall

If you're just getting started on your dock-building project, you may not be aware that there are two major options for docks: floating and static. In addition to fixed or static docks that solidly attach to a firm base underwater (lake/ocean floor, etc), floating docks are a great option for those looking for somewhere to dock their boat in less common conditions.

Related Blog: A Guide to Boat Dock Materials


Pros and cons of floating and static docks

When choosing between the two, there’s no wrong answer. Each has its positives and negatives that you need to consider before purchasing and installing.


Floating docks rise and fall with the water

The major advantage of a floating dock is that it rises and falls with the water level. On water that changes level frequently, a floating dock is a stronger investment. While a static dock must be built at high tide to avoid submersion, a floating dock can operate at any water level. 


Additionally, when low tide approaches a static dock the base will be exposed to the air. Docks are sturdy and the materials last a long time, but constantly being exposed to alternating water and air is a recipe for accelerated wear.


Static docks limit noise

Floating docks can be noisy. As the water level rises and falls, the entire dock has to move along with it. Depending on the construction, materials, and age, the floating dock can easily croak and groan through the night and splash along with the running waves. 


Floating docks can be tough to maintain

Maintenance will be trickier on floating docks as well, since the floats themselves need to be maintained. As long as the material of a fixed dock remains sturdy, very little maintenance is required.


Static docks provide reliability and sturdiness

Although a static dock is less optimal for rising and falling waters, it presents significantly more reliability on difficult lake or ocean conditions. Floating docks do well with calm changes in water level, but rough waters and high winds can cause issues. 


When a storm is approaching, anchoring a floating dock is a difficult process. The sturdiness of a static dock comes in handy when you don't have to worry about it floating away. While a static dock rarely handles changing water level as well as a floating dock, it's important to consider that a floating dock can move with the water too well. If the water level dips low enough, the floating devices attached to the dock can collide with the ground at the bottom of the water or surrounding rocks. If not properly attached, a floating dock can also collide with seawalls and boats.



The prices of static and floating docks

On the price side, both dock styles can range from affordable to extravagant. 

In general, a fixed dock will be a more expensive investment, but they also tend to last longer. Fixed docks also add to property value much more easily, since they can be used as extensions of the backyard. 


Finally, fixed docks tend to have slightly longer lifespans, but with an eye toward regular maintenance you can ensure that either type of dock lasts for decades. 



Contact the experts at Duncan Seawall

If you’re struggling to make a decision or need an expert opinion, contact the experts at Duncan Seawall today. 


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