Having a waterfront property comes with its own perks, among them, a view that no one else can afford and a natural place to anchor your boats. This is the reason why waterfront properties cost an arm and a leg. There are many developments that one can set up when they have access to a water body of this nature; this could be anything from a simple dock to a majestic marina floating dock.
We are going to explore everything you would need to know about a marina floating dock, its uses, the types that exist, the factors to consider when setting up one, and the challenges you would have to contend with if you go down this route. If you have a waterfront property but are lost on what to do with it, then this is for you.
A floating dock is any floating structure that is placed on water to allow for the anchorage of boats and jet skis when they are not in use. The big question here should be what a marina is. American is simply a dock or a basin, natural or manmade, that comes with moorings and supplies that yachts, small boats, jet skis, and any other water-based vehicle can use for anchorage when they are not being used.
It is easy to confuse a marina and a bay, but the main difference between these two is the size. A bay has a larger capacity and can hold larger ships, even the passenger types, while a marina is more localized and will most likely be found on private property by the beach or any inland water source like a lake or a large river.
Setting up a marina docking system on your property serves a number of functions that make life easy. Living next to a water body can be challenging considering how they are always at the mercy of the weather, among other natural phenomena. Setting up a marina will serve the following functions.
Boat Anchorage: If you own a boat, you must have a palace to moor them when they are not in use or risk having them pushed away by the waves to the sea or against a shore where getting them out could be costly, not to mention the damage they will sustain in the process. A marina dock will provide you with the right anchorage for your boat to ensure it stays in place even when the weather is rough.
Convenience: If you are a heavy boat user, the last thing you would want is to have to rent space for your boat or wait in line when it is time to do some maintenance. Having your own marina floating dock will eliminate all these problems as you will have the autonomy to use them how you wish. You have the convenience of anchorage when you want, ample boat storage, and even the unique freedom to have your boat checked out by the experts right from the security of your own dock. This is an underrated level of confidence that every boat owner dreams about.
Socialization Factor: When you need an excuse to socialize with your family and friends, nothing comes in handy more than a marina. When properly constructed with enough space, a marina floating docks can provide the perfect ambiance and atmosphere for a party or a barbecue session that can be used to bring people closer to each other. Some owners with the means even set up gazebos that come in pretty handy when the summer gets too hot.
Easy Access: A marina gives you unfiltered access to the best part of your property without you having to disturb anyone or trespass on another person’s property. You can have access to a cold shower on a hot day, drinks, and even provide space for bat maintenance. All these may sound trivial to most people, but if you own a boat, you will appreciate how cheap it is to have this level of access when you have your own marina.
Security: A marina is the safest place your boat could ever be, no doubts about that. It even gets better if the marina is on your own property where you can see it from the house. Add a gated perimeter fence and some security cameras and lights, and it would be impossible for anyone to sneak up on you and steal your boat. Boats are not cheap, and setting up a marina is equally expensive, but the peace that comes with sleeping knowing that your boat is safe has no price tag.
Aesthetic Appeal: A waterfront property is just that, and without any proper development, it will just be like any other shoreline. The best way to turn this type of property into something worth the hype is to add a marina. Marina docks will add the needed aesthetic touch to the property, and this could help you even raise the price of your property when the time comes for selling. The investment may be high, but you are assured of even greater returns.
There are different types of marina docks that are designed for specific waterfronts. At the same time, the choice to go with any of these types also depends on personal preference and the budget as they are not built the same. The following are the most common types of marina dock systems that you are most likely to find in domestic setups.
This is a marina boat dock platform system that is made using aluminum metal, all the best from the decking to the piling that supports the entire structure. It is mainly assembled by interlocking aluminum decking planks with edges to create a super watertight finish that has no gaps to allow any water to seep through. This level of sealing makes it safer and adds the much-needed aesthetic appeal. Compared to other metallic materials, aluminum is the cheapest and the best suited for wet conditions.
It is watertight and gapless, and this reduces the dangers of slipping or the water getting onto the upper deck, making their use harder. This is especially important if you have children around the marina.
It is stylish and easy to set up as much of the construction is done at the factory by dock float manufacturers and transported as pre-fabricated parts. This means that setting up the actual docks takes much less time compared to other types.
Aluminum is a lightweight material but very strong. These two properties make them the ideal type of marina for people who want something that will last them years without breaking down due to overuse.
Aluminum is weather and scratch-resistant. This means that the marina will maintain its beautiful appearance for years without showing any signs of wear and tear.
As much as it lasts for long due to the corrosion protecting the metal from rusting, the same corrosion will eventually lead to the weakening of the foundation, and there’s never telling how long that may take to manifest; it may be sudden catching you unawares.
It may be cheap in the long run, but the initial setup cost for an aluminum marina is very high. Aluminum costs upwards of $10 per square foot, and depending on the size of the marina; you could be looking at very high costs.
Aluminum is a very strong metal, especially when constructed in close layers. This is a good thing, but it can quickly become a hazard as far as damage to the bat is concerned. Very few boats will survive a direct impact against an aluminum marina.
Wood could be the most abundant material on earth, and this is why it is being used heavily in construction. The same extends over to marina docks, where wood can also be part of the construction. People who go with wood usually do it because it is cheaper and it gives the marina a more natural look. The number of designs that you can go with is unlimited. Some of the best deckings you will ever come across in the marina world are usually constructed using wood.
Wood is cheaper compared to other materials like aluminum and is also readily available. You could even get hardwoods that cost as low as $3 per square foot, and that’s cheap enough for a marina boat lift to be properly furnished.
Wood gives the marina a very natural look, and that could be a big boost if you are setting up a marina for commercial purposes. You can even use different colors to make things even stand out some more.
Wood is a renewable resource, and being exposed to water doesn’t leave much damage to the surrounding animals. In fact, most foundations of marinas made using wood usually end up providing homes for animals and plants that start to congregate around them.
Reconfiguring wooden parts is easy as they can be replaced at a moment’s notice without even involving professionals. Just the old tools and enough time for the job will get things back to how they were.
Wood doesn’t last long, thanks to wood rot. The marina will be solid for the first few years, but with time, no matter the amount of repair and maintenance that you do, it will eventually collapse. The best you can get out of a wood marina is ten years.
Wood presents some safety hazards like splinters that can injure someone walking on the deck. Waterlogged wood tends to collapse under great wait at times, and this could turn tragic if it involves people.
As much as wood is biodegradable, it does leak too much into the water, and this eventually causes problems for animal life, especially in places where water is stagnant most of the time.
Wood is prone to insect damage. Untreated wood can be destroyed within months if termites get hold of it, and this could end up increasing the cost of repairing the whole marina from the ground up.
Plastic will always find its way into construction due to its low prices, the ease of production, and the fact that it can be shaped into any design to create more convincing. The other big advantage that plastic docks hold over every other material is their ability to float on their own, no matter the amount of load placed on them. Marina docks made out of plastic are usually the longest-lasting, easiest to install, and can come in a variety of designs and colors, making them the ideal material for people who love being unique.
Cheaper to make and maintain. Most are premade in the factories, and all you need to do is ship them to your property and assemble them there quickly.
They are highly durable and can last for many years. Unlike aluminum and wood, plastic doesn’t rot or corrode; the worst that will happen is discoloration due to being exposed to the sunlight.
Plastic marinas are buoyant on their own, and this reduced the cost of having to add a lot of support structures. They need very minimal additions for them to be able to support a heavy boat.
Plastic marina docks are not stiff; this reduces the chance of damaging the boat. Even in a storm, the marina simply moves with the eaves, and if there’s contact with the boat, there’s no damage sustained since plastic simply moves out of the way slightly.
Plastic marina docks are not good for the environment. When exposed to sunlight for long, they tend to release chemicals into the water, and this is hazardous to the plants and animals that happen to make the surrounding waters their home.
Plastic may not be ideal if you are dealing with very heavy docks or a lot of boats. They may move around too much, posing a danger to any boats that may be in close proximity to each other.
When you factor in all the amount of money that goes into setting up a marine dock and the space needed, you will quickly realize it is not a project that can be done with split decisions. You have to take time and think things through or risk ending up wasting your money. So what are the factors that you have to pay close attention to before getting down to business? They include the following.
You cannot ignore the material when you start thinking of building a marina dock. The boat dock materials determine the cost of the whole project, the size that the dock will be, and the type of boats it can support. As we have already explored, aluminum metal seems to be the best if you are looking for a marina that can last you long enough and support all sizes of boats without creating any strain. Wood is what you go for if you are looking for a cheaper and more natural look, and plastic would be your best option if you are looking for something temporary and flexible. Pay attention to the materials, and things will be much easier.
If you already have a boat, then consider its size before laying any foundation down. The marina will basically be serving the needs of that boat, and setting up the entire structure with that in mind will make it easier for you to come up with convenient plans that will make access easier. You don’t want to end up with a marina that can’t hold the boat in place when faced with a slight change in weather. Use the services of a good contractor who will be able to come up with a plan which will meet all your boat size needs at once.
The number of the boats and jetskis should also feature here. If all you have to worry about is your boat, then go for something small enough without breaking your bank. But if you have a number of boats and jet skis or have family members who also one some and many frequently come around, then make a marina that’s big enough to host several boats at the same time without causing a total collapse.
There has to be space for people to walk from their boats to dry land. Most marinas tend to extend a good distance into the water, and this could be a problem if the marina is made of buoyant plastic. You need to factor in a dock gangway that will allow people to anchor their boats in deep waters and then walk towards dry land without having water splashing on their feet or, worse, falling into the water. The walkway has to be well supported and strong enough to hold its ground when hit with strong waves.
At some point, you will need to do repairs on your marina. The thing with using a structure that spends its entire time in the water is that corrosion is never that far away unless you are using plastic. Water is a very corrosive agent and, with time, will eat away at the foundations of your marina. If it is wood or aluminum, you will have to make some part replacements over the years to avoid a total collapse of the entire structure. This costs money and time. It is very necessary. A damaged marina is a danger both to the people and the water vessels.
You can only get what you can afford, and the best marinas don’t come cheap. The cost of building a floating dock will depend on the material used, the size of the marina, and the number of boats you plan on supporting. Choosing to go with aluminum for your dock construction can set you back a lot of money if you build a huge marina out of it entirely; a square foot of aluminum goes for $10. That can add up to a trainload of money. Always consider what you are willing to spend and factor in the cost of repairs, too, because there’s no escaping that either.
The flexibility of being able to make boat dock modifications to your marina down the line is another underrated thing that should be factored into your plans. Things change all the time,, and you may feel the need to make adjustments to some parts in the form of expansion or reduction. The floating dock construction should be able to handle modifications without unsettling the balance of the entire structure. In this regard, you may be limited to using plastic docs as they are the easiest to modify and can even be relocated to an entirely new spot without taking everything apart.
Ideally, the deeper the water the better it is for a marina. Boats require waters of considerable depths to avoid the danger of damage in case they come into contact with the waterbed. If your waterfront is too shallow, you may be forced to trench it up to make more space. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too deep as that will force you to use more materials to create the foundation bed. Fortunately for many waterfront properties, the water depths are usually just ideal for these kinds of structures.
Marinas are considered disruptive structures since they are built-in water which is home to plants and animals of all kinds. For these reasons, their construction is closely monitored and is subject to a number of laws. You have to be given a permit for setting up any kind of marina, even when it is on your property. The laws are there to ensure that you don’t destroy the environment in any major way as you attempt to construct your marina. These laws vary from one area to another, and you should therefore do proper research before starting any form of construction.
If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and heavy storms, then you may have to reconsider how you build the marina on your property. It will have to be reinforced with better materials to ensure that you don’t end up having to build a new one every time the hurricane season comes knocking. Study the climatic conditions of your local area and get as much information on the severity of the storms to ensure that you are on the right side of nature.
Marinas are a necessity if you live next to a water body; there are no two ways about it. They serve more than just providing space for your bats; they create a new ecosystem around them and add value to your property. If at any point in the future you would ever choose to sell, the marina will play a very huge role in swaying the price upwards. For more information on marinas and how they are built and maintained, check out our website and have all your questions answered by our team of experts.
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