Floating Docks Buying Guide: Factors You Need to Consider - Hiseadock
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Floating Docks Buying Guide: Factors You Need to Consider

April 14, 2020
plastic floating dock
Source: Pinterest

Several people choose to live on a lake or near the sea due to the access it brings to surrounding waterways. To enhance their experience of living near the water and enjoy water activities, many people extend their property by building floating docks as an additional investment. If you want to do the same then read our plastic floating docks buying guide to make an educated buying decision.

Table of Contents

What Types of Floating Docks are Available in the Market?

There is a large variety of floating dock types you will find in the market. However, all floating docks are made of one of three kinds of materials:

Wooden Floating Dock

Wooden docks have an aesthetic look that everyone loves. When it comes to floating docks, wood is the traditional building material for it naturally floats. Wooden floating docks are durable and reasonably modular which adds to their popularity.

wooden floating walkway
Source: Pinterest
A Plastic Floating Platform
Source: Hisea Dock

Plastic Floating Docks

Floating docks that are mainly made from plastic are coated with UV-treated components to protect the dock from sun damage and fast discolorations. Plastic floating docks may not have the good looks of wooden docks, but they can be your most cost-efficient option since plastic cannot rot or develop rust.

Aluminum Floating Docks

Aluminum floating docks are known due to their durability. Among the three types of floating docks, aluminum docks are much more resilient since they can endure an impact from a boat or a thrashing storm. However, docks made from this lightweight but rugged material are usually costly and prone to rust.

aluminum floating dock
Source: Pinterest

How to Choose the Right Floating Dock?

Choosing the right floating dock depends on a number of factors. You need to ask yourself the following questions to decide which type of dock will be best for you.

Why do you need a floating dock?

People use floating docks for various reasons.

Father and Baby on Wooden Dock
Source: Pexels

As Bridge or Pedestrian Access

Floating docks can serve as floating walkways and bridges. They provide recreational access to a bay, lake, sea, or act as a floating boardwalk for wildlife viewing. All types of docks are great for this use.

For Boat Docking and Other Types of PWC

You can use floating docks to moor and access boats. The size and number of your PWC (personal watercraft) will decide which type of dock is best for you. Aluminum and wooden docks can be used for larger watercrafts while plastic can be used for smaller ones.

boat mooring
Source: Pexels
Floating wooden boat dock
Source: Pinterest

To Gain More Space

Floating docks are excellent ways for gaining more space. You can build terraces, sitting and dining areas, walkways, and more on your floating dock structures. Wooden docks are the best choice for this use.

For Swimming

Modular floating docks have been used for recreational water activities like wild swimming. People install modular solutions, creating spaces where families can have fun together while safely swimming in and out of rivers and lakes. Plastic docks are the most convenient option for this use.

Wild Swimming with a Floating Platform
Source: Pinterest
ship on wet docks
Source: Pinterest

For Commercial Use

Floating structures are not only for recreational activities because they are also ideal for technical and professional use. Whether you need to pump water, carry out maintenance work on the ship, or shoot a film, sturdy floating docks like wooden and aluminum ones will allow you to work in the water without worrying about security.

For Recreational Use

Floating restaurants and floating cafés are the new trends in the restaurant industry. They are designed to create a restaurant experience on the water, serving greater value to customers. All three kinds of floating docks can be used for recreational purposes.

A Restaurant on Floating Dock
Source: Pixabay
wooden floating dock
Source: Pinterest

Where do you plan to install the floating dock?

Your ideal dock choice will be determined by the place where you plan to install it. For example plastic floating docks are very versatile and can adapt to any water condition. The reason why they are the perfect waterfront solutions for ponds, rivers, lakes, or seabeds.

More than that, they are more practical than other types of docks because they generally have lesser permitting requirements. However, if you want to install docks for commercial purposes near an ocean then aluminum docks are better as they can withstand the most severe water conditions.

Will it be a temporary or permanent structure?

Do you intend to place permanent floating docks, or do you plan to assemble and dismantle it regularly? If you are seeking a permanent structure, go for something easy to clean, long-lasting, and steadily anchored. Both wooden and aluminum docks are great for this. 

On the contrary, if you resolve for a temporary floating dock, then choose one that is lightweight, flexible, and hard-wearing. Modular floating structures are the best choice if you have to store and transport your docks.

permanent floating dock
Source: Pinterest
budgeted payment
Source: Pinterest

How much money are you willing to spend?

Floating docks are a big investment so setting a budget for your dock should be one of the first steps in deciding what kind of dock you want. A lake dock at your waterfront can be as ordinary or as ornate as you want. 

The kind of materials and structure you choose will decide how much money you will need to spend. Aluminum docks are the most expensive while plastic docks are the most affordable options. If you have some handyman skills, then maybe you can build your own small floating pontoon and save payment for labor. However, building a dock is not that easy and you might need to hire a professional crew. This may cost you even more. You will also have to apply and pay for permits. 

What Factors to Consider When Buying a Floating Dock?

Here are other factors that you need to consider before buying a floating dock:

assembling floating dock
Source: Pinterest


Floating docks are available in different conditions. There are prefabricated docks that can be sent to you like kits, which are very easy to install. All you have to do is follow the manual, and the next thing you know, your waterfront property has just been extended. You can also order customized floating docks, which will be built from scratch at your property.


To determine the quantity and size needed for your dock, you can do some calculations and measurements. The typical cost of a floating dock is between $15 to $35 per square foot, which depends on the choice of decking. So if you want a thicker and bigger size of modular floaties, you’ll have to stretch your budget.

Weight Capacity

It is recommended that the modular structure should be made for an approximate of 40% submergence. Then the remaining 60% can be used to support the weight of people and gear on the floating dock. The greater the weight capacity of your dock the sturdier it needs to be so choose accordingly.


Most floating dock manufacturers provide 5 years product warranty with free replacements and other services within the extent of guaranteed service. Look for a dock manufacturer that also provides after-sales care to your dock as well so you can maintain the quality of your dock.


Floating docks need adequate care and maintenance to avoid any water accidents. Wooden floating docks require regular maintenance like applying stain and finishes. Aluminum floating docks may not need much upkeep, yet they require checkups and a keen eye for mold, rust, or other unfavorable instances. Plastic floating docks are the easiest to maintain. Just clearing and sweeping the deck can make them as good as new.


In a nutshell, choosing the best floating dock will depend on your use, budget, area, and other factors. While aluminum and wooden floating docks are sturdy and durable, they are also expensive and require regular maintenance. Plastic floating docks are modular, affordable, and easy to maintain. However, they may not be suited for all kinds of water and weather conditions. If you want help deciding which dock is right for your needs, reach out to us today and we’ll help you out.

If you want to learn more about plastic floating docks, here are other articles that you should check out:

Guidelines: How to Build a Floating Dock

Top 10 Floating Dock Construction Plans

Top 10 Cool Floating Dock Designs for Different Applications

6 Different Kinds of Floating Docks: Which Is the Best?

Top 10 Floating Dock Manufacturers You Should Know

Customize a Floating Dock that Works Best for You.

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