Dock Helpful Tips

Building a boat dock is a great way to improve your waterfront property. Whether you are constructing a floating, stationary, or roll-in dock, the tips below will help your project go more smoothly, giving you more time to enjoy your time on the water.

1. Be Compliant

Check your local and state regulations for docks. Dock permit policies, regulations, and laws vary from state to state and may also be based on homeowner association (HOA) rules.

2. Consider Your Dock’s Main Uses

Think about how you intend to use your dock. Your planned use will dictate size, shape, and style. How many boats do you need to secure and for what period of time? What about other types of vessels, such as kayaks, canoes, or personal watercraft? What other activities do you plan on using your dock for? Fishing, swimming, and entertaining are popular uses.

3. Location Matters

Before you choose a dock style, be aware what the bottom of the body of water is where you plan to put the dock. Is it flat and sandy? Is it rocky? Is it mucky? This will affect what type of dock will work best. It’s important to know about the depth of the water where you would like your dock to be. It’s also essential to know if this depth changes. For example, is there a sharp drop-off? Do you have a strong current or a lot of boat traffic creating large wakes? Ideally, you want to choose a location for your dock that is sheltered from waves and strong winds.

4. Determine Your Size

The size of your dock is more a matter of usage rather than the size of your boat. You will also need to consider the shoreline where the dock will be. Whether accessing a pond, lake, or other body of water, docks make it safer to get in and out of boats and help you avoid the mucky or rocky part of the shore.

5. Dock Materials

The better-quality boat dock materials you use, the longer your dock will last and the less maintenance it will require. For best results, construct the dock using treated lumber or metal framing that can support heavy loads. Check local regulations regarding the use of treated wood.

The top surface of your dock will take a beating over the years. UV rays, wind, waves, and foot traffic will all contribute to your dock’s wear and tear. That’s why it’s vital to choose the most durable materials possible. Cedar boards are a good choice for wood decking as the natural oils make cedar resistant to rot. Also, consider composites. Though more expensive, they’re low-maintenance and can be kinder to the environment. Other decking options include plastic and aluminum. Plastic resin is a popular choice because it is lighter in weight, stays cool, and is more slip-resistant than composite when wet. Aluminum is considered by many dock owners to be the best choice for decking material because it requires no maintenance, will not rot, decay, warp, or twist, and only needs to be cleaned as you see fit.

Galvanized fasteners and coated decking screws last much longer and are easy to install; most important, they keep dock components tightly fastened together.

Types of docks

The following is a basic overview of different types of docks and their features. There are three main types of docks: floating docks, roll-in dock systems, and stationary docks. Floating docks are typically easier to install, usually cost less than stationary docks, and can be moved around as needed. Roll-in dock systems are more expensive but offer more stability. Stationary docks are the most expensive option but offer the most security.

Floating Docks

Floating docks are large platforms, that float on the water’s surface. Floating docks rise and fall with the water level, helping them adapt to nearly any condition. They are also ideal solutions for lakes or riverbeds that are unable to support the installation of a fixed dock. They are practical for several reasons. They often have fewer permitting requirements. In severe weather or during seasons in which it is not in use, floating docks may be removed for safe storage and easily be put back when needed. Floating boat docks work well for smaller boats, such as fishing boats.

Stationary Boat Docks

A stationary dock is installed just above the high-water line on the lake, river, or other body of water. It remains in place and is connected to the bottom of the body of water with pilings. They provide a stable option for areas with high traffic, occasional wakes, and minimal currents. Stationary docks can be great for securing a boat, and also provide you with a fantastic fishing spot or an ideal place to lounge and take in the scenery. Stationary docks usually last longer because they are built above the high-water line.

Roll-In Docks

Roll-in docks provide the perfect solution for your seasonal or temporary dock needs. They are equipped with dock wheels to make removal from the water quick and easy. Although these boat docks are lightweight by design, they are strong and sturdy enough for boat mooring. They are ideal for smooth or gradually sloping bottoms. Combine multiple sections for unlimited configurations.

Dock Accessories

  • Ladder
    Improves the safety of your dock by providing access in case someone falls into the water. A ladder is essential if you plan to use your dock for swimming.
  • Bumpers
    Safeguard your boat from scratches and scuffs by adding protective bumpers.
  • Cleats
    Install cleats to keep your boat and personal watercraft secure from floating away.
  • Pipe Safety caps
    Keeps debris and insects out of pipes and adds the finishing touch. They also protect hands from rough edges.

In conclusion, building a boat dock can be a fun and rewarding project. It is important to know your local and state regulations and to consider the location and size of the dock before starting construction. By following these tips, you can create a safe and functional boat dock that you will be able to enjoy for years to come.

Still not sure which type of dock you should choose? The dock experts at Curtis Lumber are ready to assist. Whether it’s on a lake, river, or pond; we look forward to helping you with your dock needs.

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