Fixed Docks vs Floating Docks

We have been Florida dock experts for many, many years and have seen an extraordinary evolution in the methods of installation and types of dock surfaces for businesses and home owners to take under consideration. While we love the growth and the possibilities these represent, options can be confusing; so we recommend you take it step by step.

First, contract the best dock construction specialist in Tampa Bay. Check. You called Gibson Marine!

Second, start with the big picture and work down toward the details. Whether you are installing a brand new dock or replacing an existing one, just begin with the wish list on one side and the questions list on the other. Jotting them down as you consider what you want will make certain we look at this structural addition from every angle.

Third is the consideration of the type of dock. There are materials of all types and additions like benches and power and railings of all sorts; but you begin at the baseline. The type. You’ve heard of them both, as their reference is directly linked to their juxtaposition to your water’s edge: fixed or floating.


  • Attached permanently with pilings driven into the seabed
  • Framing and decking can be crafted from steel, composite, pressure-treated lumber, extruded PVC
  • Can be used to support a boat lift or heavier items like storage cabinetry or furniture


  • They are flexible and buoyant and easily impacted by tidal fluctuations
  • Because not necessarily permanent, they can be removed and stored which can come in handy
  • Typically, vertical poles are what keep it grounded

Depending on the type of water vessel you are keeping moored, a floating dock will technically provide a “level playing field” so to speak by providing an easy transition from vessel to dock as they will both always be at the same water level. Here along Florida’s famous gulf coast, those consistencies will bode well for staying dry as you make your way onto shore!

Fixed docks are of course a more permanent structure so will not be as adaptable to water height, but they instead present as a true extension of your property and can be uniquely decorated while supporting any number of accessories including ladders and railings and genuine support to safely move from water to dock.

If you know your neighbors well enough, take a survey of what they like and potentially dislike about the docks on their properties. A professional can give recommendations, but you will receive valuable perspective from current owners and what they may have done differently when they had their install done; or even what modifications they may be contemplating.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the right price point for your budget, and a dock solution that is going to meet your needs for its use. We suggest you take your time, do some research, call us with any questions, and enjoy the exciting process of building a dock for your home!

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