So, you're building a new dock. But which kind is best? What's going to require the least amount of maintenance, protect the shoreline, get quick approval and still allow you to live that decadent #docklife you deserve this summer?

Answer: the floating dock. *cue choir of angels*

Ah, the floating dock! How do we love thee? Let us count the ways: for one thing, there's no such thing as ice damage to floating docks, since they're removed from the water for the winter. Win!

For another, they're much kinder to the gorgeous, natural shoreline that likely attracted you to your property in the first place. Floating docks don't even touch the bed of the lake or river, and they don't disrupt natural currents, fish or plant communities. Another win!

They also require less maintenance and usually live a long life. And because of their gentler footprint, they tend to get faster approval from the RVCA, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and/or Parks Canada (depending where you're located). So much winning!

If a floating dock doesn't float your boat, post-supported or cantilever docks are also very shoreline-friendly and come a close second to their floating cousins.

All other kinds of docks run a distant third in terms of environmental impact: the old-fashioned rock and cement crib docks are dinosaurs of the dock world, and are being phased out.  

But why do we care so much about one little dock on a remote Rideau Valley lake? For one thing, it's not about just one dock – it's the culmination of every dock and structure built all along the waterway that together can have a massive impact on the shoreline's ability to deal with wake and erosion, and on the health of fish and other species.

And for another, that shoreline region is considered the watershed's "ribbon of life" – the most productive and important of all the ecosystems inside the water environment. It could be critical fish habitat, too.

If that nearshore area is permanently disturbed, some unique habitats and the species that rely on them could be in danger of disappearing from your lake. And if they disappear from your lake, they could disappear from others, too – and on and on until we've got a real problem on our hands.

Bottom line? Good dock planning is a good use of resources: it saves time, money and the environment.

Here's some top "Dock Dogma" to keep in mind when you're designing this summer:

1. Docks should intrude as little as possible into the delicate "ribbon of life" along the shoreline;

2. Docks should not cover or block the bed of the lake or river;

3. Docks should occupy less than 10 per cent of the lot's shoreline frontage;

4. Dock designs should be checked early with RVCA staff for easy approval.

Visit for more permit and planning information, or call our helpful staff at 613-692-3571.