Permeable Docks at Biscayne National Park

Fast facts

Location: Florida
PMIS#: 186728
Compliance (PEPC ID): Categorical exclusion (44877)
Cost/fund source: ~$117,000 for 33 docks
Installation time: Two hours per dock
Type of material/product used: Molded fiberglass grating (antimicrobial premium polyester resin; panels are 4’ x 4’ x 1’); produced by Fibergrate® (model #: 879210)
Contact information: Chief of Maintenance, Biscayne National Park, 305-230-1144

Seascape at Biscayne National Park


King tides (highest tides of the year) and strong winds caused the older, recycled plastic lumber used for 33 docks in Elliott Key harbor to be dislodged, creating both a safety issue and a difficult maintenance process. Park facilities managers decided to upgrade the surface of the docks, and have planned to replace other docks around the park given the success of the new product used. The product is also used for docks at Canaveral National Seashore and Dry Tortugas National Park.


The docks are built with a fiberglass grating which is a honeycomb-like structure that allows water to pass through the grid and sunlight to filter to the sea floor (which stimulates seagrass bed growth). They also create a less slippery surface which makes the docks safer to walk on. Each dock measures 24’ by 3’, and the work was performed by contract. Only the dock surface was upgraded, so the original pilings and framework were left in place.

Maintenance needs

The maintenance for these new surfaces is significantly less than the older, recycled plastic lumber docks, and they require less cleaning.

Related projects to watch

In 2018, facilities managers at Channel Islands National Park will oversee a project to upgrade Scorpion Pier to a steel pile pier. Using steel will give them the option to elevate the pier by cutting and welding additional structural support in the future as sea level rises.

Last updated: January 19, 2017