Installing a drive-on boat is an uncomplicated procedure that you could easily manage as a DIY project. However, before you start, take a moment and envision what you would like your dock to look like. Go further and consider how you would like to use it and what those different scenarios would require.
The point of this exercise is to help you get an idea of the accessories you will need for your ideal drive-on boat dock. Accessories, in this case, are additional bits and bobs that make the dock both functional and enjoyable. Your dock would be incomplete without them.
Read on and let’s look at some of the key accessories you may need.
As you approach your drive-on dock, the momentum of your boat would likely be high. It could easily push away the dock if it is not countered by some resistance. Your boat also needs a smooth surface to impact on so that it does not scuff. This is why you will need fender floats.
Fender floats resemble the floating components of a drive-on dock. They are made of HDPE but are much heavier to provide the counteracting force against a docking boat. The size of your drive-on dock will determine the length and number of fender floats you need. Summarily, the more protection force you require, the more fender floats you should install.
The structure of drive-on docks is unique compared to other docks. Installing a typical tie-up cleat may puncture the floating components of the dock and interfere with its efficiency. Still, it is essential to secure your boat especially during rough weather and also for safety purposes.
There are special bollards designed for drive-on docks that function just as effectively as ordinary cleats and bollards. They are made of plastic and can be installed without damaging the dock. Additionally, they come in small and big sizes depending on the boat you intend to secure.
Most boat owners would easily agree that it would be impossible to properly secure your boat without docking lines or ropes. The bone of contention is often about the best type of rope to use. Some swear by sisal while others prefer more synthetic types of rope.
Given as the bollards of drive-on docks are unique, nylon rope may be best for this type of dock. It is stretchy, easy to handle, and has adequate tensile strength. Unlike sisal rope, it does not absorb water and get weakened over time. Nonetheless, it can be prone to chafing. To prevent this, consider buying a double-braided or 3-strand rope; they remain strong even with frequent usage.
One of the advantages of a drive-on dock is that you can use it for more than just storing your boat. It can also serve as a floating walkway or a fishing platform. If these are benefits you would like to enjoy, consider adding a handrail for extra safety.
There are various designs of handrails, some have rope while others do not. You may also need to consider factors such as color and how much distance you want the handrail to cover. All in all, aim for a type that offers you functionality and complements the aesthetics of your dock.
Floating waterfront structures are usually made of a series of interconnected dock cubes. During the installation process, you can join 4 dock cubes using one short pin where they intersect. You will then proceed to join each pair of the 4 cubes with a screw along their edges. Each screw comes with a nut to fasten it in place. A repetition of this process will yield a larger structure.
When you come back to shore with your catch of the day, a fish cleaning station would come in handy. You can easily clean and scale your fish there before taking it home. That said, you can modify it in other ways. For instance, you could add a weighing scale and a small storage space for bait or fishing lines.
Be careful though as you install the fish cleaning station. You may need to secure it so that it does not topple over as the drive-on dock adjusts to water levels. Keep in mind that the method you use to secure it should not puncture the dock.
Getting on and off a boat is quite easy with a drive-on boat dock. However, depending on how your dock meets the land or an adjoining walkway, you may need a ladder for access. Consider having a ramp as well for wheelchairs users, more so if it is a commercial property. It would make access to the dock much easier for them and it is, in fact, the recommended practice.
When you are not motivated to go out on the water you could take in the view of the water from your dock. You could even choose to try your luck at fishing from there.
A simple set up that you can take down when necessary would be convenient. For example, you could set up using foldable beach chairs and a boat chair umbrella for some shade.
As you fish and enjoy the view, other members of your family may enjoy more vigorous sports. An inflatable dock slide makes for a good pass time in such a circumstance. It works well with drive-on docks as there is no risk of it being punctured by nails. As you shop for your slide, remember that drive-on boat docks float on the water surface thus it should inflate upwards to create a sliding trajectory.
The right accessories are essential in making sure that your dock is safely installed. It is advisable to buy them from your drive-on dock supplier so that they fit properly. Mixing components from different suppliers may result in structural inconsistency. When your setup is complete, endeavor to make it fun as well. After all, what is the point of a great dock if no one gets to fully enjoy it?
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