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With warmer weather comes boating season! But before you bring home that much-anticipated new boat of yours, you’ll want to make sure the dock you choose to install aligns with your boating and summer season plans.

To help you decide which dock is best for you and your family, let’s explore the two most basic types: fixed and floating boat docks.

What’s a fixed dock?

A fixed dock is built using pile-driven posts that support the framework of the dock. This means the dock sits above the water line. So do piling boat lifts. This solid dock and lift structure keep your boat in place, and this is especially important on a lake as busy as Okanagan Lake, which is busy all summer long with plenty of boating enthusiasts from near and far.

Fixed docks are preferred over floating docks with the variance in Okanagan Lake water levels

Fixed dock pros:

  • Because fixed docks sit above the water level, there’s no need to worry about flooding and drought water events
  • On average, fixed docks last longer and don’t experience as much wear and tear as floating docks
  • Fixed docks are extremely stable and won’t sway or roc when boaters drive too fast and too close to the shoreline
  • These docs make it easy to park your boat as it doesn’t move around in the waves
  • Since these docks are firmly rooted in place, they require less maintenance and upkeep

Fixed dock cons:

  • Fixed docks are a little more expensive to install than floating docks
  • When lake levels are extremely high or low, you may need aluminum dock ramps and stairs to reach the dock

What’s a floating dock?

In theory, floating docks appear simple enough: they float on top of the water and are anchored to the shoreline to prevent them from floating away. However, that means that these docks are subject to extreme weather and lake activity.

Kelowna Yacht Club Marina is a floating dock system by Shoreline Pile Driving

Floating dock pros:

  • Construction and installation are relatively cheap compared to fixed docks
  • Removing or relocating floating docks is somewhat easy
  • If you enjoy the movement of the waves, a floating dock is a good choice

Floating dock cons:

  • Floating docks are unstable, and this can be challenging or even concerning when parking your boat or when children or elderly loved ones are using the dock
  • The constant movement wears on the dock structure, causing it to require frequent repairs or sooner-than-excepted replacement
  • High water events can cause damage, and in some cases, cause the dock to float away
  • Low water events can damage the dock if the floatation device encounters the ground
  • Parking your boat on a floating boat lift can be really challenging during windy weather or during peak season when numerous boats are enjoying the lake

So, which is better: Fixed or Floating boat docks?

At Shoreline, we prefer fixed docks. Over the last few years, extreme water events have caused the water level to fluctuate drastically. These events have damaged numerous docks along the shores of Okanagan Lake. You can read more about damage-causing floods in our previous blog article: High Water Levels: Can You Boat on Okanagan Lake Right Now?

We believe that a pile-driven dock is the best way to keep you and your family enjoying the lake all summer long, come drought or high water.