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When to Install a Floating Dock at Your Florida, Waterfront Home

by Duncan Seawall

floatingdock3315.pngThe ocean views are magnificent from a waterfront home, but many Floridians look forward to spending time in the water, by the water, or on the water.  A boat is a natural accruement for any marina, and this is when homeowners need to consider what type of dock will work best in your specific location. Docks are either fixed, or floating.

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Following are three factors to weigh, if you are wondering when to install a floating dock at your Florida, waterfront home.

1. Boarding and Disembarking

As the name implies, floating docks are flexible, rising and falling with water level changes, just as the boats moored to them. The elevation of the dock, and the boat’s deck remain relatively the same, which makes boarding and disembarking a simple matter of stepping from one to the other.  

Fixed docks, on the other hand, are permanently fixed to the water bottom, and do not fluctuate with the water level. Coastal areas where tidal variations are the norm, have water levels that constantly ebb and flow, and many times, a fixed dock will have a markedly different elevation than the boat’s deck. Boarding and disembarking in these conditions can be difficult, and potentially dangerous.

2. Expandability

Floating docks can be moored by piles, poles embedded in the water bottom, or by anchors. They require fewer pilings than fixed docks. Floating docks are easier to lengthen, or added on to, because they do not rely on piling. Anchors can be easily reset, and fewer piles need to be pulled or driven into the water floor. Floating docks, moored by anchors, can also be placed further out in the water, becoming floating platforms for swimmers, and sunbathers.

3. Hurricane Safety

Hurricanes hit many coastal areas yearly. The ability of floating docks to rise and fall, along with the boat’s movements, permits them to keep the boat harbored, without stretching or stressing the lines. Many marinas who have experienced a hurricane are opting to rebuild using floating docks with tall pilings, versus fixed docks that can result in badly damaged boats.

Floating docks offer significant advantages and flexibility for boat owners, who moor their boats on shifting seas. For most Floridians with waterfront homes, changing water levels must be a consideration. A fixed dock in Florida can be the right choice for homeowners that have very little tidal variations.

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