FAQ’s & Answers to Know Before Having a Seawall, Dock, Lift, or Marina Built
The Florida Gulf Coast remains one of the best places for scheduling a marine construction project. You can easily choose from a variety of options, as many property owners prefer a boat lift, while others are more interested in building a dock or a seawall. Learning about the process of dock and seawall construction is essential in making sure everything goes smoothly while staying in compliance with local regulations.
What to Know Before Building a Dock on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Obtaining an environmental permit is critical before you can begin the residential dock construction process. All types of construction in a marine environment falls under the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, building a dock is considered a low-impact project, which means the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) handles the dock permitting process.
What Types of Permits Are Available?
The DEP will provide an environmental permit for residential dock construction in Florida for three different scenarios. These include general permits, exemptions, and individual permits for docks.
*General Permits – Available for any activities that will have minimal impact on the environment.
*Exemptions – No permit is needed if the construction is performed within the guidelines of the FL Statute.
*Individual Permits – Available if the activity doesn’t fall into the two mentioned categories above.
Most residential dock construction falls into the exempted category. These non-commercial docks need to be 1,000 sq. ft. or less and needs to not be in protected waters. A marine construction company will help you stay in compliance with these standards or help you get a permit if one is needed. You can use an online dock cost calculator to get a general understanding of the cost of a new residential dock.
What Type of Permit is Needed for Floating Docks?
DEP oversees the permit process for floating docks, but you may also need to work with the State Water Management District and other municipalities. Protecting natural habitats is a top priority for these organizations, which is why it’s essential to get the necessary permits before beginning marine construction.
Most floating docks aren’t as expensive as a piped or permanent deck. Typically, the cost for a floating dock ranges anywhere from $15-$35 per sq. ft. The type of decking material you choose also makes a big impact on the price. Getting multiple quotes from marine construction contractors is always recommended before building a dock on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
What Happens If You Don’t Obtain a Permit?
Building a dock, boat lift, or any other marine construction is considered unlawful if you don’t obtain the necessary permits. Structures built without a permit are considered a “public nuisance,” and you may even be forced to remove the structure and pay an expensive fine. An experienced marine construction company will always ensure that you have an environmental permit before beginning the construction process if needed.
How to Obtain an Environmental Resource Permit?
Obtaining an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) for marine construction requires a few stipulations in the state of Florida. Here is an overview of these different requirements for marine construction projects.
- Doesn’t adversely impact public safety, health, and the property of others.
- Can’t negatively impact fish and wildlife.
- Doesn’t impair surface water flows or navigation.
- Can’t impact nearby recreation or fishing.
- Doesn’t result in the discharge of pollutants or increase the risk of flooding.
Permit Process for Shoreline Stabilization
DEP also regulates the building of riprap, seawalls, and any other shoreline stabilization structures. However, some shoreline stabilization structures are exempt from DEP permitting if it’s a private riprap or seawall in an artificially built waterway that doesn’t impede navigation, affect flood control, and it doesn’t affect state water quality standards. Working with an experienced marine construction company is always recommended during dock and seawall construction to ensure you stay in compliance with these regulations.
Understanding the process for building a marina, boat lift, dock, or seawall construction on Florida’s Gulf Coast is essential for protecting natural habitats. Getting all the necessary permits beforehand will help you stay in compliance with regulations and avoid a lot of headaches. A marine construction company can work with you throughout the entire process to ensure that the process goes smoothly, and without any major issues. These professionals are also happy to answer all of your questions about dock and seawall construction on the Florida Gulf Coast.