About Floating Docks

About Floating Docks image by Canadian Fishing


Floating docks are more stable and comfortable docks compared to standing docks. They come in many different shapes and sizes, are easy to construct and can be altered to fit the changing needs of their owners. The choices are many, and careful consideration is required to build a floating dock that meets your personal requirements.


The first concept of the floating dock dates back to 1873 when two men, John Stanfield and Edwin Clark, formed a business called Clark-Stanfield. They developed the first floating dock, its main purpose being to raise large ships out of the water to be repaired. Their company remains the leader in the development of docks, both standing and floating, and in 1973, the company released the first set of guidelines in regard to the rules, regulations and classification of the building of floating docks.


Floating docks provide much more stability than their predecessor, the standing dock. Because of their design, they provide a greater buoyancy and have the ability to distribute weight more evenly than the standing dock. They also adjust themselves to the level of the water, meaning that they cannot be easily flooded and destroyed due to high water levels. Another perk to this feature is that those who are docking their boats to the floating dock have easier access to their boats. Many times the boat remains parallel to the dock, eliminating the need for ladders when it comes to boarding their vessel.


The design of the floating dock makes it a unique. In the construction of this dock, billets are used to ensure the greatest amount of buoyancy. The billets are made from styrofoam and cannot be damaged or water logged. One of these billets can float a weight of over 200 lbs. They also use pilings, which are treated wood logs, and poles to keep them in place. The use of these makes it easy for the owner to move the dock due to inclement weather or for mere convenience.


There are many types of floating docks available. There is the wooden dock, which is the least expensive type to build because of its use of simple materials. Another type is the Floating Polydock. This type of dock is easy to install and uses a connection system. This means that the pieces can be connected in any shape that is desired and can be easily rearranged. It goes by a modular design, which allows for the expansion of the dock if something larger is required. There is also the Galva Foam Steel dock. This type of dock usually incorporates the use of galvanized steel, making for a more durable construction. It offers more stable ramps for safety and uses a higher density polyethylene, meaning that there is greater strength for floatation.


Make sure before you build your floating dock, you obtain a permit either from the Fish and Wildlife Department, or from your local building permit agency. These are required prior to construction because the dock may ultimately have an affect on the ecosystem. You also want to build a dock with minimum measurements of 6 by 20 feet to ensure greater stability. If you choose to build a wooden dock, be sure to build it right side up; due to their construction it is not necessary to flip them over before placing them in the water, as is the case with other types of floating docks. Finally, build your dock as close to water's edge as possible. This eliminates the need for a ramp or roller to get the dock into the water.


Be sure to remove your dock from the water if you reside in an area where the water freezes over the winter. If you are using pipes as a means of keeping your dock in place, pull them out of the water before severe winter weather strikes. Not doing this could cause the poles to bend during a shifting in the ice. You also want to move your dock to a more sheltered area, especially if the winds blow hard against the shoreline. Not doing so could result in your dock being crushed against the shore.

About this Author

Based in Jamestown, Pa., Hannah Rice Myers has more than 10 years of experience as a freelance writer, specializing in the health industry. Many of her articles have appeared in newspapers, as well as "Curing Epilepsy: Hope Through Research." Rice received her master's degree in nursing from Upstate Medical University in 2001.

Photo by: Canadian Fishing

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