Designing a floating dock can be interesting. There are many variables that have to be addressed, because the dock is not anchored like a normal dock. Floating docks are ideal for rivers and lakes that do not freeze in the winter or whose waterline rises and falls with tides or seasonal effects. When designing a floating dock, there are three main concepts that will make or break the dock design.
The best design for a floating dock is a T design. A T design allows for several floating barrels underneath one section, giving it the ability to handle a lot of weight. This is ideal, because this is generally where people will enter and exit a boat. The length of the pier allows the pier to flex with the waves and/or current of the water and keeping it from getting damaged during storms.
The floating barrels are basically sealed, plastic drums that are tied to the pier sections using a wax-coated marine rope that does not deteriorate in water. The barrels are tied to the sections and staggered from one side to the other from the front of the section to the back of the section. This is because the sections are typically 36 inches wide and there is not enough room to double up the barrels side by side.
Anchoring the Dock
Even though it is a floating dock, the dock still has to be anchored. Drive wood posts down into the ground with a sledge hammer as far as you can pound them. The posts should be wide enough for the pier section to fit snugly between the posts. Once the first section is in the water, you have the height of the pier. Use a level across the top of the pier section and make marks on both posts where the top of the pier is. Drill self-tapping bolts in through the side of the pier section into the posts. Removing a few deck boards makes accessing this area easier. Then cut points on 10-foot treated 2-by-4 inch lumber and put one end into the water at an angle against the outside of the post until it hits the bottom. Use a sledge hammer to hammer the boards in as far as they will go and attach to the post with screws. Repeat this on the other side to help keep the pier from twisting.
Attach heavy anchors with water-resistant rope to the pier a minimum of every 8 feet. The T section should have anchors at the inside corners and the middle of the T to minimize swinging. The anchors used for this are very heavy so as to avoid much movement. The benefit is that they can be adjusted if need be.
- Photo Credit phillipine river view - loboc river image by Paul O"Hearn from Fotolia.com
Floating Dock Ideas
When you need a dock for your favorite getaway to enjoy family, friends or the beauty of nature, you have a choice...