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Your idea of a perfect dock

Old 01-07-2019, 09:02 AM
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Default Your idea of a perfect dock

My wife and I are moving to the water soon, and I wanted to get some insight from all the experts on what and why an ideal dock scenario looks like.

I currently have a 21ft center console with aspirations of going up to a 30-31ft in a few years. Some houses we looked at have nothing but a seawall, while others have a 12x12 square dock with no lift. If you could build the perfect dock, for under $15K, what would it look like?
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:18 AM
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This is my initial thinking:
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:27 AM
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See your avatar says Tampa.....hope the prices up their are cheaper than down here in SW FL. You are not going to build any dock down here for less than about 23-25K with a lift. That's for a 25 ft boat and a 10k lift.
What I have learned....its cheaper to design it so that its universal for size. Like the drawing above you are limited by the sea wall if you decide later you want a bigger boat unless you overbuild it to begin with. My dock has a wrap around pier and limits me without some modifications to how big a boat I can put on it. Started with a 20 ft. Hydra Sport. Then a 256 Cobia, now a 277 Cobia. You never know what the future holds.
With the above picture you could put the boat on the lift backwards or bow out if you needed the extra length. But if its open in the front and rear, you can always adjust for a bigger boat.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Beak Boater View Post
See your avatar says Tampa.....hope the prices up their are cheaper than down here in SW FL. You are not going to build any dock down here for less than about 23-25K with a lift. That's for a 25 ft boat and a 10k lift.
What I have learned....its cheaper to design it so that its universal for size. Like the drawing above you are limited by the sea wall if you decide later you want a bigger boat unless you overbuild it to begin with. My dock has a wrap around pier and limits me without some modifications to how big a boat I can put on it. Started with a 20 ft. Hydra Sport. Then a 256 Cobia, now a 277 Cobia. You never know what the future holds.
With the above picture you could put the boat on the lift backwards or bow out if you needed the extra length. But if its open in the front and rear, you can always adjust for a bigger boat.
We got some quotes at the St Pete boat show for 10k lift and 4 pilings for around 8K, so maybe the rest of the dock is the expensive part. If I have someone put in the pilings I can manage building the rest of the dock to save on labor. I would over engineer the dock design to accommodate up to 31ft of boat, but I see what you are saying buy turning the boat parallel to the seawall to make adjustments for length.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:43 AM
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Many locations (canals for instance) have hard limits on how far out 'docks' can project from the shoreline. Another reason why orienting parallel to the shore is popular.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Onewolf View Post
Many locations (canals for instance) have hard limits on how far out 'docks' can project from the shoreline. Another reason why orienting parallel to the shore is popular.
Good point. We looked at a home yesterday that was on the end point of the canal so it had a bit more water room than if I was more down towards the middle of the canal.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:51 AM
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Yeah, here in Satellite Beach we have a limit of 20% on a canal.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kpaulhus View Post
Good point. We looked at a home yesterday that was on the end point of the canal so it had a bit more water room than if I was more down towards the middle of the canal.

watch the water depth at the end of the canal. they tend to shoal much faster than the rest of the canal
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:21 PM
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Remember that you just cannot go build a dock in the water without permits and the county getting involved. And by permits, that means possible environmental studies to make sure that there isn't some endangered sea grass or protected species there. Also at the end of a canal with shoaling, if you ever have to dredge it is also a hassle and the dredging material has to be removed.

So make sure you look at if you can even put a dock in before you go under contract or put a contingency in.

You also want to put water, electricity, lighting, security and other things down there.

Plus a 32' with engines and full fuel is probably close to 10k lbs without people and gear. I think you need more than a 10k lift. Plus you want to over build a bit.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:57 PM
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I built a double slip dock with wrap around. One slip for 23' bay boat and another for the 17' flats boat bot covered with lifts. Works for me here on Bokeelia.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:26 PM
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You have to leave enough room in the canal for you to be able to maneuver into your "space" when the wind/current are complicating things. If the dock sticks out too far you may have problems with sufficient room. I would think an open side tie arrangement would be better.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:29 PM
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As mentioned, building a dock where there has never been one can subject you to many agencies getting involved in your project. Better scenario would be to find a house with an existing dock, even if it doesn't fit your needs. Then add to it or rebuild it to your liking.

Research the dock and seawall codes and permitting process on your prospective house BEFORE closing. It can be a deal killer for you.

For instance, our city has strict rules on how much dock we can have and where it is located on the seawall.

Good luck in your search, where are you looking?
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:43 PM
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You wont get anything but a 4 post lift and walkway for 15k. Its all you really need but a nice fixed dock to hang out on is nice, and so is a floating dock to tie up to when loading and unloading.





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Old 01-07-2019, 10:41 PM
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If you look at a water front home in Tampa and it doesn’t have a lift, try to figure out if there is a reason why not. Look at the water depth at low tide, are there any low bridges, do neighbors have boats, do they ave T tops?

I have built docks at 2 homes in St Pete that never had docks one is on an aquatic preserve, it is not that big of a deal, a hassle, but doable.

Also, check that sea wall first as well, it will suck to build a dock, then have to come through soon after and redo the Seawall. You can have the dock builder hold the first pilings off the seawall a few feat so that you can redo the seawall at a later date without having to pull pilings.
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Last edited by scrapper01; 01-07-2019 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kpaulhus View Post
We got some quotes at the St Pete boat show for 10k lift and 4 pilings for around 8K, so maybe the rest of the dock is the expensive part. If I have someone put in the pilings I can manage building the rest of the dock to save on labor. I would over engineer the dock design to accommodate up to 31ft of boat, but I see what you are saying buy turning the boat parallel to the seawall to make adjustments for length.

I live in the Tampa Bay area and just went through this nightmare in the last year and we didn't have the added headache/restrictions of trying to engineer a dock for a space restricted canal. There are limits on the dock square footage relative to the amount of sea wall frontage you have. On top of that, they have restrictions on the size of the main dock in relation to walk way, lower steps, etc. The boat lift is the cheap part of the equation. Unless you're a certified, licensed marine contractor, forget about building the dock yourself. You have multiple permits that must be pulled (both county and state have to sign off) for the dock and pilings, then you have electrical permitting for the boat lift and plumbing if you plan to run water (to do things legally. Just as a ballpark, figure $20-25k minimum, for a boat lift and 125 +/_ sq footage of dock/walk way with the legal permitting. In most areas of the county, you can't even repair an existing dock, let alone replace one, without permitting. And as someone else said, check water depth....I would make several trips to the house you're looking at, especially at low tide, to see how the water level looks....and talk to neighbors. At our dock, it all looks normal at high tide, but on a really low tide, you can see 4' of exposed mud at the base of the seawall. At the end of a canal, you may have to go in parallel to shore and go with an elevator style lift instead of four post.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:05 AM
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Every location may have some unique rules, but I think the general rule in the Tampa area is you have to stay within the center 1/3rd of your seawall and can only extend out a distance equal to 50% of the length of your seawall, provided that doesn't extend out more than 1/3rd the width of the canal.

Before you commit to buying a house on the water, have a marine contractor tell you you'll be allowed to do what you want.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:56 PM
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You need to verify that you can get a permit for a lift if there is not one in place. Just an FYI but I don't think you can do what you want for that price.
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:14 PM
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A better, more economical option may be a floating lift (as long as there is adequate depth), as no permits are needed and you can move it around to see what works best for you.
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:21 PM
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As others have said, there are layers of regulatory requirements based on the location. Talk with some dock builders about what your dock/boating needs and goals are and they can give you a general feel for go/no go areas.
When you find a property, I would also suggest that you go by water at low tide.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:13 PM
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If at all possible look at you property by boat and get of an idea what your "Out" time is from the dock to where you can crank up and run.. Read any manatee zone signs carefully. This time of your there are a lot of places where you can crank up and run but in the summer it might be slow speed or vice versa. Typically manatee rules flip flop in spring and fall depending on where the power plant or other warm water sources are.
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