Floating Docks Vs. Fixed Docks: Which Is Better? - Hiseadock
  • Home
  •     Floating Docks Vs. Fixed Docks: Which Is Better?

Floating Docks Vs. Fixed Docks: Which Is Better?

June 18, 2020
Ships Anchored To A Fixed Dock
Source: Pixabay

Docks have been an important fixture in the lives of seafarers for years. Boat owners always worry about the safety of their vessels when they are not in use. Water is not stationary, and the constant movement can cause damage. This is where docks come in.

Floating dock vs. fixed dock? Which one is better for you? That is the big question. We will be covering the factors that you have to consider when going for either of the two later on. You first have to understand how the two differ from each other in terms of how they work.

Table of Contents

A Floating Dock Made of Wood Decking
Source: cottagelife.com

How Floating Docks Work

Floating docks are buoyant boat platforms, mostly made out of plastic, that are attached to a shoreline to create a dry ramp or berth. Floating docks come in different types.

Floating docks function by utilizing buoyancy, the upward force exerted by the water. Floating docks exert less force than the one exerted by the water on them. This explains how they can stay afloat despite the massive load that rests on top of them at times. The same mechanism that allows a 100,000-ton ship to float on water.

The amount of buoyancy needed by a floating dock to stay afloat is about 70%.

How Fixed Docks Work

Fixed docks are usually attached permanently to the seabed by the use of pilings in most cases. The decking is then laid out, crafted from PVC, steel, composite, or wood. Being permanent, most fixed docks are massive and can support heavier loads compared to floating docks.

Another advantage to fixed docks is the stability; whether the tide rises or not, there is no movement. They can withstand massive storms.

A dock featured on the image for the book "Cuando es invierno en el mar del norte"
Source: Pixabay

What To Consider When Choosing Between Floating Docks And Fixed Docks

Personal preference always plays a part in determining what to go for when it comes to residential docks. When it comes to choosing between floating and fixed docks, the determiners go further than that. They include the following.

An Expansive Waterfront
Source: Pixabay


If your waterfront covers a broader area, then you have the luxury of considering a fixed dock. Fixed docks are huge, and they work best when the shoreline is more prominent. Floating docks, on the other hand, being temporary, are usually small enough to be moved at a moment’s notice.

Your Budget

Fixed docks require a lot of construction. The pilings have to be driven deep enough into the waterbed to ensure a sturdy support for the decking above it. This undertaking demands a lot of materials and expert labor. The estimated cost of constructing a fixed dock runs between $50,000 and $75,000

Floating docks, on the other hand, usually come prefabricated from the manufacturer They do not require too much work, and if you put your back into it, you can pull the installation off on your own. You can get prefab aluminum floating docks for about $1,500

Different Currency Denominations
Source: Pixabay
An Environmental Law Book
Source: www.statonlaw.net

Location and Regional Regulations

Your location may force you to forgo the type of dock you may want because of regulations. If you live along a water body that has been declared fragile, your options become limited. To preserve the ecological balance, a floating platform for lakes is a more welcome idea than a fixed dock.

Status of Your Residency

If you are a permanent resident and you have both the budget and the waterfront space, then a fixed dock might be what you need. But if you have any plans of moving, a floating dock is your best bet.

Residential Houses Side by Side
Source: Pixabay

What To Consider When Choosing Between Floating Docks And Fixed Docks

Fixed Dock

Floating Dock

They are permanently fixed to the waterbed using pilings.

They are temporary. They can be removed and stored at any moment, at no cost.

They are massive in size and can support bigger loads and bigger boats.

Most are smaller in size, with the capacity to support small boats and jet skis.

They can be customized to house additional amenities like gazebos, a boathouse, etc.

Most floating docks can only handle what they have been designed for. Nothing more.

They are expensive to construct as they require a lot of labor and materials

They are very cheap. Most are prefabricated and require little to no further cost for dock installation.


Floating and fixed docks serve the same purpose. The choice you decide to make has to be carefully weighed. They may both serve the same functions, but they are wildly different. Do proper research before coming to a decision, and once you do, give your waterfront a new facelift.

If you’re in the market for the perfect  floating dock system. take a look at our catalog of  floating docks, floating platforms, floating walkways, swim platforms, and much more.


Customize a Floating Dock that Works Best for You.

Contact Us