How to Choose Between Installing a Floating Dock or a Stationary Dock For Your Property

How to Choose Between Installing a Floating Dock or a Stationary Dock For Your Property

Posted by Joshua Chaffee on

Are you torn between installing a floating dock and a stationary dock? Not to fear.


Here are two bits of good news:

  1. You’re not alone. - Countless waterfront property owners have faced this docking decision. 
  2. You came to the right place. - Tommy Docks is here to walk you through the ins and outs of floating and stationary docks to help you determine the best fit for your property.

Essentially, you can hardly go wrong with installing a dock on your property. However, considering a few crucial factors before calling the shot on your dock can help enhance your docking experience and save you from buyer's remorse.  


Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of comparing floating and stationary docks.

Floating Docks vs. Stationary Docks

First off, defining your overall docking needs and property conditions is a good idea. What do you plan to use the dock for? What is your waterfront property like? What is your budget? What is your style? How much maintenance are you willing to do?


In this vein, here are some essential factors to consider when choosing between a floating dock and a stationary dock include:

  • Your water level - A floating dock is your best bet if the water level changes drastically throughout the year since the dock will simply stay floating above the water. However, removing the dock from the water is important if it gets low enough to scrape on the ground. Stationary docks are best for properties with relatively consistent water levels. That way, your dock won’t be high above – or below – the water level as it fluctuates.
  • Your desired dock usage - Stationary docks provide a solid platform for recreation and docking, but they cannot easily be moved from one location to the other. On the other hand, floating docks move a bit with the water, making it a less stable hangout but relatively easy to move around or even place offshore.
  • Your property aesthetic - Our floating docks come in one attractive, uniform design with a gray herringbone pattern. Meanwhile, our stationary docks come with several decking options.
  • Your budget - Price-wise, a Tommy Docks 8’ Floating Dock Package runs at a similar price to our 8’ Straight (Stationary) Boat Dock System with Aluminum Frame and Composite Decking. Bear in mind that the floating dock packages do not include pilings. We recommend either a set of pilings or anchors every 16’ or more for larger docks or rough conditions. These items can be found in our shop.
  • Your desired dock maintenance needs - Our floating docks are virtually maintenance-free. Meanwhile, our stationary dock packages have varying maintenance needs depending on your selected decking material. For example, if you select a stationary cedar dock, you must seal the wood and periodically refinish it to keep it in good repair. However, our composite, aluminum and titan decking is maintenance-free.
  • Your weather conditions - If you live in an area with ice on the body of water during the winter, you’ll need to remove your dock from the water for winterization. Removing a floating dock from the water is potentially easier than winterizing a stationary dock.   

Alright, now let’s break it down between floating and stationary docks. We’ll start with floaters. 

Benefits of Floating Docks

A floating dock is just what it sounds like – a dock that floats on the water. It’s held in place either by being attached to pilings or stabilized by anchors.


Floating docks are great for nearly all types of waterfront properties because they are:

  • Movable - Floating docks are a breeze to install and move anywhere on your property.
  • Environmentally responsible - Our Flexx floating docks are made from 100% recyclable high-quality rotomolded polyethylene. This maintenance-free material is super strong, buoyant, and safe.
  • Adaptable - Floating docks are ideal for waterfront properties with inconsistent water levels.

Floating docks may carry a couple of potential cons for some dock owners. For example, “They can sometimes sway and move with the water,” advises Lakefront Living, “Because of the movements, they may not be the best place to throw a party.” However, they add, “They rise and sink with the water, so getting in and out of your boat will never be a problem.” Thus, the movement con may be a pro for others. As mentioned, the right dock decision ultimately depends on your property’s conditions and targeted usage. 


To recap, floating docks are best for water-loving folks who want a flexible, easy-to-manage, and durable docking solution.

Benefits of Stationary or Fixed Docks

Fixed or stationary docks give the quintessential ‘dock’ look, with decking, framing, and pipes set into the ground below the water. 


Stationary docks are an excellent addition to nearly any waterfront property because they are:

  • Customizable - Tommy Docks offers several decking, frame, and layout options, so you can choose the look and design that best suits your property. 
  • Durable - Each of our decking options is made to last – from sustainably sourced cedar to marine grade composite decking. 
  • Beautiful - Our stationary dock packages give the classicly beautiful look and feel of a dock.

As mentioned, fixed docks are not ideal for changing water conditions since the dock could become submerged or inconveniently high above the water with changing water levels. 


“A stationary dock rests on the ground underneath the water, which makes it a stable place to throw the occasional lakeside party or family gathering,” says Lakefront Living, adding, “It can be used as an extension of your property.”


In a nutshell, stationary docks are best for water-loving folks who want a fixed platform for summer fun with a customizable look.

Why Choose Tommy Docks – DIY Floating & Stationary Docks

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You know your property and your docking needs best. Whether you opt for a floating dock or a stationary dock, you can’t go wrong with Tommy Docks. 


Here are just a handful of features that Tommy Docks’ floating docks and stationary docks have in common:

  • Easy to maintain 
  • Simple to install 
  • Affordable 
  • Attractive 
  • Versatile 
  • Comfortable underfoot
  • Expandable 

Beyond that, installing a dock adds value to your property. That means you and your loved ones can enjoy the dock for years to come and get a good ROI when it’s time to sell.


Shop our catalog to find a floating or stationary dock that fits your budget and property. 


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