Tips for Choosing a Marine Contractor

Florida marine construction is a specialized field. These companies are adept at building structures that protect against erosion and stabilization and provide water access in coastal or freshwater locations.

Tips for Choosing a Marine Contractor

Identify Your Needs

Prior to purchasing land on the water, consider researching what, if any, marine construction you will need to protect your property and gain easy access to the water. For example, do you need a dock, boat lift, boat ramp or boat house? Do you need to prevent shoreline erosion or keep the sea from creeping onto your property?

Consider consulting publications from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or SeaGrant to determine your marine construction needs. Then, review the possible design and construction techniques you may require.

Develop a detailed explanation of the problem and your desired outcome. Property information, such as water frontage width, bluff or beach height and shoreline compositions, as well as machinery restrictions, should also be stated. 

If you choose, identify your preferred construction type and what you want the area to look like when the construction is completed. Avoid presenting the contractor with a detailed plan or solutions because they may have better options for your location.

Preliminary Research

Take a trip along the coast to identify similar structures. After you observe their structures, ask those landowners for contractor recommendations. Seek local contractors with strong reputations with the Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau.

Review the contractors’ websites and online reviews. Not only are the processes significantly different from inland construction, but the equipment is significantly different. Therefore, a reputable contractor will be adept at using this type of equipment in a variety of situations and locations.  

Meeting With Prospective Contractors

Request that each contractor visit your property to view the project site. Share your needs with each contractor and be open to their suggestions. Request preliminary construction plans, costs and timelines. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as why a material is used, and check whether the answers align with your preliminary research and with the other contractors’ plans.

Other Considerations

You may consider have a professional engineer design your plans and request that marine contractors submit bids. Although price is important, don’t base your contractor choice totally on price. For example, avoid contractors with a reputation of being unsafe.

Also, consider how easy it is for your contractor to access the construction location. Make sure their working conditions are amenable, but insist on on-site cleanup. Having a detailed plan will prevent costly midstream changes and problems.

Consult a marine contractor to protect your property and improve your marine accessibility. 

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