You just purchased some prime property next to a waterfront, and you are weighing out your options on what you’d love to do to it. Setting up a drive on boat dock is the most logical step, but how do you go about it? Where should you set it up? What type of boat dock lift systems would work best? And most importantly, how big or how small should the floating dock be?
Deciding on the right size of a waterfront dock is as challenging as setting up one on your property; fortunately for you, we are going to make that much easier. This is a quick look at the steps you need to take to build a dock and all the dock accessories you need to pull that off.
A floating dock is the easiest type of dock to install. It is made out of prefabricated parts that only need to be put together compared to other types like crib docks that require dressing and driving pillars into the seabed. The following are the steps involved in setting up a floating dock.
Begin by identifying where you want the dock to be installed. It should be a place with ample anchorage to the land and where the water is deep enough for a boat to be anchored without running aground.
Once that has been figured out, start putting the different sections together. This is for those that have purchased pre-fabricated single float parts. If you choose to build it from scratch, then you will need plastic barrels and wood planks to make DIY platforms.
Layout all the sections on the ground to get an image of how they’re going to fit into each other. Ensure that they are oriented in the same direction to avoid fixing a piece in the wrong place, as this could undermine the integrity of the whole structure.
Having figured out where each section goes, start connecting the plastic floating dock pieces one by one. Make sure you are doing this near the water so that you don’t have a hard time transferring the complete structure onto the water.
Align and stack every PWC float in order; they’ll probably be numbered to make this easier. The significance of putting each piece into its correct position is to eliminate spaces that would allow water to seep through.
Secure each tab with a fastener. You’ll then need to shift to the bow starboard and pivot it slowly into the bow section without disrupting the stacking order. At this point, it’ll be easier to notice any section missing a tab. If that happens, insert spacers to fill that gap up before continuing.
With all the parts in place and the dock in the right configuration, it is time to secure them into place to stop them from coming apart when rocked with waves. Each section has a hole for inserting a connector pin, which then can be tightened using a dock screw. Do this slowly for each section, starting with the ones on the periphery moving in. Check the integrity of each section after you are done to see if there is any point of weakness that may need more fastening or an extra pin.
Sometimes you may need a single floating dock platform, and at times you may need at least three of them joined together to create a bigger one. In the case of the latter, after joining up all the smaller sections into one platform, you’ll need to now join the big sections together. This will require bigger pins or water cushions and may have to be done on the water since the whole structure may be too heavy to be moved safely and securely onto the water if it is completed on land.
This is an important step that ensures that the dock is anchored well to the land. Start by securing the looped end of the cord to the shaft on the land. This can be held together either by a pin if it was designed like that, or you can improvise and have it fastened against the shaft the old fashioned Knott style.
It is essential that it is well fastened since the safety of the whole structure will depend on how secure this set-up is. If it is not well balanced, for instance, a floating walkway on the floating dock will tilt it sideways, throwing whoever is on top into the water.
If you don’t want your water vessel to touch the water when it is moored to the dock overnight, then you’ll need a winch launch system. This may be a little too complicated if you’re handling most of the setup yourself and may require the services of a professional.
But the science behind it is straightforward. It requires a pulley system that raises the floating dock a little over the surface of the water once the boat has been docked on it. This keeps the boat dry throughout the duration it stays on the dock.
With everything in place, do a double check of every part to verify that every part is where it should be. With that out of the way, you now have a functioning drive on boat dock; all that is left is to launch it.
If it is small enough, then you can simply pull it slowly onto the water with the winch positioned on the surface to avoid any damage. Moving the whole structure to the water will require the assistance of a few other hands. This would be much easier if you chose to construct the floating dock as near the water as possible. Once the dock is floating on the water surface and is securely anchored to the land, it is ready for use.
There are several things you can add to ensure that the dock works efficiently. You can add a U-Float with rollers to add buoyancy to ensure that the boat doesn’t force the dock into the water too much due to weight. You can also reinforce the mooring cables to the land by adding extra cables and even a walking ramp with an aluminum base anchored into the seabed. This will take extra spending, but it makes the dock much better.
Extra Hands: This is not a one-man job; it could break you. You will need extra dock builders to help you with it to make the whole process faster. At the minimum, you’ll require at least three people, with that number going up depending on the size of the dock.
Lumber: You’ll need lumber for anchoring the dock to the land and creating a walking platform that connects with the dock just where the water line begins.
Cables: You’ll need strong cables made out of aluminum or steel to hold the dock in place to stop it from floating away. Ropes can also get the job done, but they’re not as strong as metallic cables.
It’s clear that building a boat dock on your property is not that complicated. However, doing it right away should be the number one priority. It is cheaper in the long run to have the best floating dock system that will last you years than creating a shoddy one that will require repairs every few weeks and could lead to damages and injuries.
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