How to hire Long Island Dock Builders

Before you hire your next dock builder in Long Island, New York you first have to obtain permits for your upcoming marine construction project. In most cases, local dock builders will not be willing to give you a quote if you did not obtain all of your required permits.   Before you plan on even hiring someone for any marine construction, make sure that you have the proper paperwork and engineering plans.     We provide all services require to obtain the proper permits you’ll need to get your project started.

In short, the hiring process will look something like this:

  1. Get the proper permits (Many builders will not be willing to bid without them)
  2.  Interview builders (If needed, we can recommend someone based on your needs)
  3. Make a decision based on your budget and who can get the job done properly.


After you get permits, who should you consider hiring?

Generally speaking, you should choose someone who is capable of doing the work that you want properly.    Ask questions about how they would go about building your bulkhead or whatever type of marine construction you want and what type of equipment they have to complete the construction.

It is hard for us to make recommendations without making a site visit.  After we visit your property we can make a recommendation on who we feel is best suited for your project. 

What does the permit process look like?

With any type of marine construction on tidal wetland properties you should expect a frustrating permit process.   Unlike getting a pool permit or something simple, these types of applications are much more involved and complex and can possibility take months before a permit is issued.

From our experience, you will most likely need the following permits from:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

You will need a number of permits from the DEC and they are probably the most important agency you will have to deal with. They also have a fully staffed police force to enforce their strict regulations.    It is also worth mentioning that this agency will issue the largest fines if you are caught violating their regulations.
Long Island Dock Builder

Army Corps of Engineers

Another large government agency you may need to deal with. It is worth to mention that this agency typically have the slowest turn around time. As such, expect a lengthy wait on your permits.

Your local municipality

Your local town, city, or village most likely has their own set of regulations regarding marine constructions that you will need to follow.   We did encounter some towns to issue a VERY large fines to our clients while other towns have more relaxed regulations. It depends on where you live and which local agency you are dealing with.

What types of docks are typically built on Long Island? 

Many people confuse the term dock with “bulkhead” or seawall.   Lets get into what most property owners will typically build:

A Dock or mooring float

A mooring float is simply the platform that floats in the water that makes it easy to get on and off your boat. The length of the dock will depend on your local municipality’s regulations and DEC requirements. Many believe you can build a dock as long as you like, this could not be any further from the truth.

These types of platforms cause “shading” and kills marine plant life, something the DEC is not very happy about.  You should also take into account that local government agencies do not want structures that will block waterways or prevent vessels to pass by with ease.

Without us making a site visit, it is often difficult to estimate how long you can build your mooring float.

What about bulkheads and seawalls?

The location of a this structure depends largely on where your current bulkhead is located.  Although possible, it is very unlikely you will be able to move the location towards the water because you are basically  taking tilde wetland properties you do not own.  However, during reconstruction it is possible to raise the height for flood control.

What types of bulkheads do property owners typically build?

Generally speaking, property owners will undergo four different types of bulkhead reconstructions:

Navy bulkhead:

This type of bulkhead will last the longest, mainly because they have pilings in front of them.   In short, the structure of this type of seawall is enforced by placing large “poles” or pilings in front of it.

Smooth faced Bulkhead

As its title suggest, the front, or seaward area is smooth.  Their are no pilings located in front of this style of bulkhead.   Although they are very sturdy structures, typically they do not last as long as navy bulkheads. They also tend to be more affordable.


If you are concerned  with your budget, often refacing your bulkhead is the most affordable way to protect your property from flood issues.  In short, your builder will put an extra layer of bulkhead in front of your existing bulkhead.   This will extend the life of your seawall.

You should also take into account that some property do not have the liberty of removing their current bulkhead.  For example if your home or office building is less than a few feet away from the water, you would have to first remove your home before you could replace the bulkhead.     The reason for this is that you have to dig up the area that is directly in front of your bulkhead, for some, their home or building will be in the way.

For many in this situation it does not make financial sense to knock down their current residence for bulkhead reconstruction. For others, there is still hope.  Depending on your situation, you can use Helical piles to tie the bulkhead to your property. Although more expensive than traditional “tie-ing” methods, they take up a lot less space.

What if you want to replace or build a Pier?

If you want a pier in L.I, you need a legitimate reason, you cannot simply build one because you think it looks nice.   If you do not presently have a pier on your property, it is possible to obtain one ONLY if it’s because you have mooring issues. 

For example if you are located on the bay or a large body of water where a pier will not obstruct any vessels from passing by, you’ll likely able to build a pier.   Most larger vessels, need ideally 4 feet or at  least 2 1/2 feet of water to operate.  Any less and your boat will sit on the seafloor.

Nothing is guaranteed and it is difficult to make any solid recommendations without making a site visit, but if you have the issues we described above, we will be able to help you and offer some suggestions and remedies.

Need help getting a permit before hiring a dock builder in Long Island, New York?

Give us a call at 917-776-3922| Marine Designs| 1456 66th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219| 2 Whaleneck Drive Merrick NY 11566