Learn about the Advantages and Disadvantages of different dock types.
Fixed docks are most easily defined by what they lack – floating parts. They are built on pilings that are driven into the lake bed with a pile driving barge. They must be at least 1 ft above full pond and usually include one or more cable lifts. They can have both covered and uncovered areas, including over the boat slip. Fixed docks cannot adjust for lake level fluctuations. The water levels on Lake Norman have been observed as low as 6 ft below full pond and as high as 1.7 ft above full pond. This fluctuation range of nearly 8 ft can cause fixed docks to be 7 ft above the water level to the deck surface. Occasionally, during flooding events they can also have water submerge the deck surface.
See our Fixed Dock services.
Floating docks are defined by having a floating boat slip or a large floating area. They often have a gangway/ramp to bridge between the floating portion and a fixed portion. The floating portion is held in place by pilings driven into the lake bed, allowing the floating dock to rise and fall with the lake level. Unlike the fixed or hybrid docks, the floating dock roofs will be integrated into the floating dock frame and will stay the same height over the water no matter whether the lake level is high or low.
See our Floating Dock services.
Hybrid docks are a combination of both floating and fixed docks. Unlike a floating dock, hybrid docks have a fixed roof over the slip. Unlike a fixed dock, the surrounding walkways around the boat slip are floating. This design is most useful in coves that have a limited buildable area. Small cove docks can only extend up to 1/3rd of the cove width. Hybrid docks can fit into these coves by only needing to extend about 20 ft from shore. The roof covering the boat and lift don’t fluctuate with the water level, while the surrounding floating walkways do.
See our Hybrid Dock services.
|Type||Stability in Big Waves||Easy to Swim Around||Easy to Moor/Tie-up||Shallow Water Friendly||Height Above Water Surface||Lake Scum Issues|
|Fixed||Yes||No||No||Yes||0 – 7ft||Yes|
|Floating||Yes*||Yes||Yes||Maybe||1.5 – 2ft||No|
|Hybrid||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||1.5 – 2ft||No|
* Big Wave series floating docks are designed and engineered for extremely rough wave conditions. Upgraded framing prevents the dock from being damaged by large waves. Wave attenuator technology drastically reduces the rocking and bouncing caused by huge waves. Stability isn’t an issue, so everyone can enjoy a Big Wave floating dock even while the wake boats churn up monster waves nearby!
What’s best for you and your family?
That depends on your use case. If you like to view the lake from an unmovable platform, fixed docks provide unbeatable stability. If you plan to swim near or tie up near your dock, a floating dock or hybrid dock is best. Fixed docks are high above the water so swimming nearby is scary and it’s easy to get pushed into the scummy fixed structure beneath the deck surface. Tying up next to a fixed dock is also daunting, due to the dock cleats being above the boat and yanking on the boat cleats when waves pass by. Many boaters don’t know that standard boat fenders don’t work on a fixed dock.
Floating docks with the Big Wave upgrades have the most overall features. While slightly less stable than a fixed dock, the highly effective wave dampening, along with easy swimming and tie up make Big Wave floating docks the best all-around choice for most applications.
Hybrid docks are often the best option for narrow or shallow coves. Due to their smaller floating portion, they have stability issues in big wave conditions.
Every dock location is different and unique. Let our 26 years of experience help you decide. We typically meet on site to evaluate and measure. Then a visit to a nearby completed project is made to allow the customer to walk a similar project and see our work in person. Remember pictures and words can be manipulated. Seeing the work in person is a must for a proper evaluation.
Morgan and his team (John, Clinton, Aurelio, Chris) did an excellent job in evaluating, redesigning, and modifying the roof structure of my boathouse to accommodate the permanent arch on my boat and thus allowing the lift to raise my boat completely out of the water. The quality of the work was excellent and these guys are great to work with. They came up with a great solution at a reasonable cost without having to replace the roof.
– Paul L.
Morgan has just finished a dock for us. He knew what we wanted before we did. The whole project was a pleasure and his crew were not only courteous but a pleasure to witness. Hard working, great ethics and they never skipped a day until it was finished, even through the cold and rain. I have to say, we miss the boys and the banter. If you are considering a dock or repair, do yourself a favor and call Morgan. Thanks guys 🙂
– Simon W.
Great job! I would hire Dock Services again in a NY minute. They did a renovation on our three-slip dock. Project estimate was 6-7 weeks and they completed within the time scope of the project. As a construction project manager, I appreciated the attention to project schedule and quality control during the build. These guys are pros. They do it right. From proposal to punch list, Dock Services is on top of it.
As a homeowner, I appreciated the craftsmanship and attention to detail that Dock Services exhibited at every step of the project. They literally transformed our dock from tired and worn out to a dock that looked brand new.
Also, Dock Services runs a tight ship: they’re clean, neat and hardworking. Easily one of the best contractors I have ever hired, bar none.
– Michael H.
Morgan and his crew exceeded expectations with very minimal guidance. They knew what they were doing, and completed a dock restoration that functions and looks much better than I imagined would be possible based on what they had to work with.
Morgan’s crew was polite, professional, and respectful. The site was left cleaner than when they began. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dock Services to anyone, or use them again myself.
I recommend unconditionally.
– Jason W.
I talked to 3 dock builders and Morgan was hands down best dock design, construction and value. His crew was amazing. We enjoyed having them on our property every day. Highly recommend this firm.
– Martin R.
We could not have been more pleased with the outcome!
They began when they promised and never left the job until it was completed. They would not accept a deposit until they started the project. The craftsmanship and attention to detail this company delivers is amazing!
– Jack M.
This is our second dock build experience with Morgan and his team on Lake Norman. He and his crew are the very BEST in the dock building business!! We could not be happier. His big wave series docks are a must! If you want a high quality product done on time, correctly with no mess and full service. Morgan is the one and only to trust and hire in the Lake Norman area. Thank you once again Morgan!
– Steve V.