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The Construction of a Boat dock with Lift

Picture showing a CAD drawing of a proposed boat dock with Tiki Hut, Captains Walk and seating areaAfter you have successfully finished your seawall project you can move on to erect your boat dock with or without a lift. An estimate is easy to get and is free of charge and usually contains a drawing of the proposed dock.

On a freshwater lot, most of the time only a dock will be done to gain some additional seating area and possibly accommodate a smaller boat. On Gulf access canals almost all boat docks include a lift so the boat can be taken out of the water, cleaned and safely stored.

To build a boat dock also requires a permit with the City. Other than the possible buildable area which can be determined by the boat dock contractor there is really not much more that has to be looked at unless you want to verify that the depth in the canal at your seawall is sufficient in order for the boat to sink in without hitting soil or rocks.


Picture showing a barge installing pilings in the water

After the permit has been granted and released by the City, the contractor can start working.

When signing the contract, you will choose the color of your decking and whether you want an additional structure like a jet ski lift or Tiki Hut.

The contractor brings in a barge to drive the pilings into the ground underwater. The shorter pilings serve as the general support pieces for the dock, the longer ones usually either are the base for the boat lift or a Tiki Hut.

After the pilings are solidly anchored in the ground the framing for the deck will be prepared.

Wood trusses are installed across and lengthwise to create a stable platform for the decking.

All poles and trusses have to have a certain diameter and thickness to conform with the building code - otherwise the inspection performed by the local building authority will not pass.


Picture showing a the finished framing of the boat deck with wood trusses

Picture showing the finished decking on the surface of the trusses

After the framing is done, the decking will be added to create the surface area of the dock. While years back regular wood was used for the decking, these days mainly composite material is used as it has a much longer durability and will not splice and be a hazard for people walking barefoot on it.

Now the security ladder is installed to provide an exit from the water in case somebody falls in. Finally, after the lift and the motors have been installed and anchored to the main poles the boat dock with lift is finished and ready for usage.


Picture showing the completed boat dock with lift

You can of course add further installations to the dock like an additional jet ski lift or a Tiki Hut. For a Tiki Hut (called Chikee Hut by the native indians) the dock contractor will use a separate company to take care of it. The law says that these types of structures can only be erected by the native population. That means that the owner or license holder of this company has to be a "native american tribe member”. Due to that most of the Tiki Huts are produced by the "Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida" or the “Seminole Tribe of Florida”.

For a regular size wraparound boat dock with lift you should budget approx. $30,000 to $50,000. All additional seating areas, a kayak lanuch, Tiki Hut or canopy will be an additional expense.

I can help you in case you cannot be here for the construction of your boat dock. From getting an estimate to signing the contract to supervising the construction and providing you with lots of pictures and information we will guide you through the process.

All information serves as a general orientation about the process. The owner should always verify all given information with the contractor or other licensed companies.