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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Boat Dock in 2023

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how much does it cost to build a boat dock

You need to understand that it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number when answering the question, “How much does it cost to build a boat dock?” It will always depend on the dock’s type and size, the hardware and labor cost, and the main materials (like lumber and floats).

Just over a year ago, I’ve known folks who were able to build a permanent dock for just $4,000, while others had to shell out $25,000 up to $70,000.

Cost Breakdown and Estimation for Dock Building


Much like anything you can have constructed, only you can arrive at the exact figure you have to shoulder based on your approach and requirements.

I can reasonably say that I can build one from scratch using scraps with minimal to zero expenses. Conversely, you should get ready to be set back by up to $70,000 if you’re aiming for a top-grade dock made from the highest-quality materials built by a professional.

But even then, you can argue that I’m still shooting in the dark when giving these exact costs because market conditions fluctuate, and I have no idea of the customizations you’re considering.

We can only ever really rely on a cost estimate, like the ones I’ve shared here.

Latest average costs of dock components


Component Average Price
Dock Piling $12.50 per foot
Floats $75-$400 for each piece
Ladder $100-$600
Ramp $500-$5000
Bumper $50-$200
Mooring Whips $300-$1000
Boat Lift $1,000-$12,000
Decking $22 per square foot

Again, remember that those numbers are just concerned with average cost, and it’s entirely possible to get them at a cheaper or more expensive price, depending on what’s available in your area.

You also have to remember that the labor and installation cost tends to take up half of your total expenses. Naturally, if you’re going the DIY route, you can completely forgo them and save a lot more. In this case, a $4000 expense is entirely possible.

Estimating the Cost of a Boat Dock Project


1. Consider the type of dock you want to build.


Do you want to build a covered boat dock? Or do you just want a more decent-looking, permanent floating dock to replace the janky makeshift one you put up before?

In short, as the type of dock influences the cost per foot, having a clear idea of how you want your project to be should help you estimate what expenses to expect.

  • In my experience, a floating dock will be cheaper than a piling dock (assuming both are of the same scale and materials) by at least $5 per square foot.

Generally, the cost of a floating dock is $25 per square foot, while a piling dock sets you back by $30 per square foot. As such, a 30-foot dock can cost $900.

  • When building a crib dock or pipe dock, you’re not going to be quoted on a cost-per-square-foot basis. For pipe docks, the average cost is $5,500, while crib docks can fetch up to $30,000.
  • A double-decker boat dock, for its ability to shelter your boat and provide an entertainment/lounging area at the same time, will cost you a loftier $32,500.

2. Be mindful of location.


Where you’ll build the dock affects overall cost as your area may necessitate forgoing wood for something more durable. For example, the water may be deeper, which could call for more specialized materials. Moreover, location impacts labor costs, too.

3. Remember other costs and considerations.


These include the contractor you’ll be working with, any permit or required inspections you have to submit or have performed, as well as the subsequent maintenance and repairs your dock will need over time.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Building a Boat Dock


Overall, these are the main factors you should focus on if you want an all-around general idea of why there’s so much cost variation.

Size and type

As proven by the facts and figures above, these are undeniably two of the main factors that impact boat dock prices. And, oftentimes, they’re highly personalized.

For example, what if you want to build a pier along with a dock so you can do a bit of fishing every now and then, too? If that’s the case, know that the average cost to construct one is $200 per linear foot.


Aluminum will cost more than wood and is almost always the default material if you’re building a pipe dock. Concrete and composite are also not out of the picture, with the latter being the most durable (and also the most expensive).

Refer to the table below for more information regarding the average material cost.

Material Type Average Price
Aluminum $11.5
Redwood $7.5
Cedar $6
Pressure-treated wood $6.5
Composite $12.5
PVC $7

Labor costs

Will you be hiring a professional dock designer? Will you be needing electricians? Based on national rates in the US, these are the average costs you can expect:

Factor Average Cost
General Labor $75 per hour
Electricians $90 per hour

Marine inspectors’ and environmental engineers’ rates will always be based on the scope of the project. The same goes for professional dock designers.

Tips for cost-effective dock building

Tips for cost-effective dock building

  • If you really want to get the most out of your money when doing any kind of dock construction, always invest time in getting a quote from multiple companies and contractors before taking further steps. 
  • Material prices fluctuate over time. Therefore, if you’re on a budget or not in a rush, you can always wait for them to fall first.
  • Just because wood is cheap doesn’t mean that it will help you save money in the long run. It requires regular maintenance, after all. This is where I can make a case for composite or aluminum boat docks, as they’re the exact opposite.
  • Don’t shun “smart” features like a boat lift, especially if you want to better protect your boat against the elements. It will only help you save on repairs in the future.


So how much does it cost to build a boat dock? The answer is it depends. You’re looking at an arbitrary range of $4,000 to $75,000, factoring in whether you’re DIYing or hiring professionals for the job. It’s

The various boat dock prices and facts listed above prove that it falls mostly in your hands to decide how much you’re going to spend and how you’ll go about with your project.

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