Things to Consider When Purchasing a Waterfront Property

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Waterfront Property

Buying a waterfront property suitable for a pontoon dock can be tricky; there are many factors to consider, and often the help of an expert is required.

As pontoon dock manufacturers, we often receive calls from new waterfront property owners excited to get a pontoon dock. But unfortunately, we often have to tell them that it’s not possible. There are several reasons why a pontoon dock may not be suitable for a particular waterfront property. So, it’s always best to confirm its suitability before committing to a contract.

If you’re wondering if a potential waterfront home is suitable for a pontoon dock, there are a few things to consider. So today, I’d like to give some valuable pointers on the symptoms of a bad water frontage and conditions that may affect whether a pontoon is suitable.

Let’s take a look:

Waterfront blocks in corners of cul de sacs

Time and time again, we see agents telling potential homeowners that they can have a pontoon, and yet amazingly, they can’t!

PLEASE do yourself a favour and give us a call before signing ANYTHING; we will do a no-obligation, confidential appraisal of the block via satellite imagery (or whatever other means are available). We find this information invaluable because it tells us what you cannot see to steer you in the right direction.

You may ask why we need to do this – it’s because we have been involved with pontoon manufacturing for over 20 years now. As such, we understand the industry, its pitfalls and all of those hard-learned lessons homeowners often have to make. But more importantly, we know the “tricks” that real estate agents can play to ensure a sale. Our advice is, as always – to get independent confirmation from a pontoon manufacturer before taking the word of a real estate agent. We know pontoons and waterways; they may not!

Waterfront blocks with boundaries angling inwards

When looking for a waterfront property to dock your pontoon boat, it’s essential to be aware of the angles of the boundaries between properties. If they angle inwards towards each other, it can be a sign that the block doesn’t have as much water frontage as you thought. And, consequently, may make the block unsuitable for a pontoon dock. This is because the measurement for a pontoon dock is taken from the Quay Line rather than from the revetment wall, which is often where people assume their frontage begins.

The Quay Line is a term used to describe ‘the line formed by the intersection between a waterway and adjoining land which determines the extent of a grant in respect of a jetty or wharf.’

The Quay Line is a very important term when considering buying a waterfront property for a pontoon dock. As per the above definition, it is the line formed by the intersection of a waterway and adjoining land which determines the extent of a grant in respect of a jetty or wharf. More importantly, however, the Quay Line is used to determine boating boundaries for safety reasons.

Generally, the Quay Line is the boundary between water and land that determines how far your pontoon dock can sit into a canal or river without potentially getting too close to either banks, bridges etc…

So before you buy, make sure you check with local authorities to find out what the Quay Line measures. That way, you’ll know precisely how much waterfront space you’ll have available.

Properties with seagrass in the proposed pontoon location

Piled pontoon docks rely on a stable and sturdy base to prevent wobbling or tipping, so it’s important to ensure the property has suitable seabed support.

If you’re looking to buy a property suitable for a pontoon dock with seagrass, you’ll need to choose the right pontoon type. In some cases, properties with seagrass may not be approved for a piled pontoon due to the pile’s impact on the seagrass. However, in many cases, a cabled pontoon or strut pontoon can instead be installed, which won’t disturb or impact the seabed.

Also, properties with seagrass often have to opt for a grated mesh gangway instead of carpet, which will allow sunlight through and minimize any impact on the seagrass.

You can ask us about the different types of docks available and discover if your potential new home is a candidate.

Other conditions to consider

In addition to bad water frontages, a range of other marine and weather conditions can impact its suitability.

  1. The depth of the water at high and low tide: this can be checked with a surveyor. It should be more than 1 metre deep to accommodate a boat, although other factors may mean it’s not possible.
  2. The presence of debris or rocks on the river bed: you don’t want your pontoon deck getting damaged. If it’s too shallow or there are rocks on the river bed, you’ll need to have them removed for your pontoon dock to be suitable.
  3. The width of the waterway: some waterways are not wide enough to accommodate a pontoon dock which is large enough for two boats side by side or provides enough space for you to turn your pontoon or watercraft – refer to your surveyor.
  4. The current speed: if the current is too fast, it may make it difficult and dangerous to navigate a boat, and there’s also a higher chance you’ll hit debris in the waterway.
  5. Maintenance issues: having a pontoon dock on a narrow waterway could be problematic as it may mean that you can no longer access the area for maintenance.
  6. Weather conditions: some waterways will flood more frequently than others, and if there are trees around, their roots can cause damage to pontoons and walls along the river bank – this also needs to be taken into consideration.

Once you have checked that your potential waterfront property is suitable for a pontoon dock, it’s time to contact your local pontoon manufacturer, Micks Marine Maintenance.


When looking for a waterfront home, it’s essential to consider whether the property is suitable for a pontoon dock. Just because it’s a waterfront property doesn’t mean it’s necessarily ideal for a pontoon dock. Properties that may not be suitable include a cul de sac, inward angling boundaries and properties with seagrass. There is also a range of other marine and weather conditions that can impact its suitability.

We often speak with new homeowners who were told they could have a pontoon by a real estate agent only to find out they can’t! In order to buy a waterfront property suitable for a pontoon dock, you need to do your research or speak to a pontoon manufacturer like us, Micks Marine Maintenance.

If you’re looking to buy a waterfront property and have questions about pontoon docks, give us a call at 0431 778 468 or send us an email, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.

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