Walkways and docks are familiar to all those who fancy a waterbody near their property. Traditional walkways are made of wood, and recently other materials, and are rooted to the surface. These cost more and become useless when there’s a change in water level. This is why many are now switching to floating walkways – a modern alternative to traditional docks, walkways, and sidewalks.
Read ahead to know more about these dock walkway solutions and how they can help you.
Basic Information of Floating Walkway
Are you still confused about what floating walkways are and how they can be useful to you? Here are some basic details about these non-traditional walkways and the various applications they find.
Definition of Floating Walkways
A floating walkway is what the name suggests – as opposed to a traditional setup, this is a temporary, moveable walkway that can be set up wherever one wants. While traditional walkways are fixed in place and cannot be removed and rebuilt, a plastic floating walkway can be installed easily anywhere, anytime.
While a lot of people are skeptical about the practical usage of these walkways, one should know that these walkways are highly adaptable and sturdy, even in high currents.
Purpose of Floating Walkways
The purpose of a floating dock walkway can be the same as a traditional walkway – to connect two marinas or to pave a way on the waters, especially in ports. Often, these sidewalks and walkways are also used in lakes, ponds, and other water bodies for people to move around and travel on foot.
Floating walkways can also be used for a temporary period – for example, if one requires a water walkway for an event or a camp, it would make more sense to use a floating sidewalk than to build a traditional one.
Components and Construction of Floating Walkways
Since a floating walkway is a temporary structure, let’s know more about how these structures are built and installed. While it might sound like a complex project, these plastic walkways are easy to build as well as pack it up and store away.
The floatation units are the basic building structures of floating docks and walkways. One can find a variety of floatation units – single float, long quad float, double float, and U-float are some of the common floatation units available in the market. The floating units make the foundation of the floating bridge or walkway. They are buoyant and keep the structure floating.
Floatation units are made of a variety of materials, ranging from wood to plastic and composite materials. But in recent times, it is materials like HDPE that are preferred over other options because of their durability and ease of use. The singular floatation units are joined together using the loops given on their sides and are made into longer structures.
Frame or Substructure
The frame is the second layer of the floating walkway. It is the supportive structure that brings the floatation units and the deck together. A substructure or frame is designed in such a way that it endures both lateral force and vertical forces. Lateral forces here refer to the wind and currents; the vertical force is the traffic on the walkway.
The structure is supported by a minimum of two stringers, or longitudinal planks. For better structural integrity, cross structures, and planks are also added to the frame. Header planks and braces are also used to solidify the base.
The deck is the uppermost surface of a floating dock walkway. This is the surface on which people walk, and hence it should be made of a material that is not slippery. The decking material should be stable and capable of withholding high capacity of users, and preferably, it should be accessible for differently-abled users.
There are a few considerations that are vital when it comes to decking – the width of the deck, the structural strength, and the pleasant appearance. The width of the deck is usually determined by the structure of floatation units and how they are arranged.
As for the structural strength, it mainly depends on the material out of which the deck is made. The appearance of the deck should be simple and neat to give a good outlook on flotation units and the substructure.
Anchoring or Mooring System
One of the often overlooked components of a floating walkway is an anchorage or a mooring system. Since a floating structure is made of many joint floatation units, the need for stable support arises.
While an anchorage system might seem like an extra step, it is important to understand that floating walkways do not have any tether to solid surfaces. Ignoring this component could potentially lead to the failure of the floating sidewalk.
Safety features in a plastic floating walkway include the addition of handrails and guardrails, along with other necessary features like a non-slippery surface. The material from which the decking is made should be of a proper material that has a firm foothold.
To provide better support and stability, guardrails and handrails should be placed on both sides of the walkway. Another valuable addition to this set would be a facility for additional lighting.
2 Common Types of Floating Walkways
Floating walkways can be divided into 2 types based on the structural build of the walkway. The two common types of walkways on this basis are modular floating walkways and sectional floating walkways.
Modular Floating Walkways
Modular floating walkways refer to the type of structures that are T-shaped. These can be easily assembled and disassembled to fit into different types of spaces. If you are looking for a highly-customizable structure that can be attached to other structures, then modular floating sidewalks and bridges can be the perfect choice for you.
Due to their ease of use, these types of walkways are often used for commercial and private uses, including recreational activities. The lightweight nature of these structures and their versatile use make them a popular choice for many applications. Floating bridges offered by manufacturers like Hisea Dock make a great choice as a modular floating walkway.
Sectional Floating Walkways
Sectional floating walkways can be understood as sections of floatation units that can be arranged as per the user’s needs. These units can be joined together by the loops given on the sides of the units. Sectional walkways come in different configurations that can be arranged in a way that can suit the space of the user. As per preference, one can set up these walkways according to the configuration they need.
While there are independent floatation units, these are usually joined together in numbers and are offered as a whole when it comes to sectional walkways. For users who look for more customizations, these floating walkways are the perfect choice.
Advantages of Floating Walkways Over Traditional Walkways
Since floating walkways are designed for ease of use and versatility, they boast a wide range of advantages over traditional walkways. Starting from their portability to low maintenance costs, these plastic walkways emerge better than their traditional counterparts.
Adaptability to Changing Water Levels
Traditional walkways simply do not adapt to changing water levels – they might get submerged or stand out too far from the water level with the change in tides. On the other hand, floating walkways are versatile and easily adapt when there’s some change in the water body.
Walkways made of materials like HDPE stay sturdy and lightweight through all seasons – unlike wooden walkways that are damaged in heavy rains, plastic floating walkways remain the same with little to zero damage. The walkways made of such materials are also durable in extreme weather situations, be it in summer or winter.
Minimal Environmental Impact
Often people overlook the damages that traditional walkways cause to the ecosystem in the water body. Since these are permanent structures, the support planks are deeply rooted in the surface of the water body. This extensive excavation can cause damage to the ecosystem and the surrounding environment. Also, traditional docks and walkways require the occupation of space permanently, which leads to the alteration of the shoreline in many cases.
On the contrary, a floating dock walkway is a lightweight, temporary structure. They do not demand deep excavation or damage to the biosphere of the lake or pond, wherever it is installed. Also, the floatation units of a floating walkway do not take up much space, and also allow better water circulation – this facilitates a better environment for the organisms living in the waterbody.
Durability and Low Maintenance
Usually, walkways and sidewalks are made of wood or steel. These traditional materials are easily prone to damage, be it either from extreme weather conditions or from overuse. Naturally, this leads to more repair or replacement costs.
But a modern dock walkway, on the other hand, doesn’t face any of these issues. These structures are made from composites and high-quality recyclable plastics that are highly durable and have a very long life. Since these walkways can be packed and set aside when there’s no use, they also endure minimal damage. Compared to traditional structures, floating docks, and bridges do not cost much, be it for repair or replacement.
Easy Installation and Portability
The main reason why floating structures such as walkways and sidewalks are popularly preferred over traditional counterparts is because of their extremely easy installation. A floating walkway is made of several floatation units, and joining these units needs just a simple toolkit.
One does not need any power tools or prior experience to assemble a floating walkway. The same cannot be said for traditional sidewalks, as building these structures require a lot of labor and expertise.
Another advantage that a floating sidewalk boasts over its traditional counterpart is that the former is portable. Depending on the size of the structure, a walkway can even be removed and reinstalled in just one or two days.
Adaptability to Water Recreation
Since floating walkways are portable and easy to install, they become the obvious choice for installation in recreational waters where people enjoy activities like jet skiing and long trips on yachts.
Many recreational water sports like kayaking require the presence of a floating dock or walkway and it would not be feasible for owners to invest in a permanent fixture. Implementing a plastic floating walkway or a dock would be the preferred option since they are easy to maintain and durable too.
Applications of Floating Walkways
While traditional walkways are found near a lot of lakes, rivers, and other water bodies, floating walkways find numerous applications – floating sidewalks are preferred over their traditional counterparts in many places because of their versatility and ease of use.
Marinas and Waterfront Developments
One of the major areas where floating walkways find application is in marinas. Marinas are the dock structures that are specifically used for morning pleasure yachts and boats. Be it in developing waterfronts or marinas, there will always be the factor of rising and falling water levels.
In areas like these, it would make sense to install floating docks instead of traditional ones. Floating structures adapt well to changes in water levels and are also durable.
Floating docks and bridges are the perfect choice for marinas because these structures are easily customizable too. Thus, these structures can be built adapting to the site location and can be later altered too.
Public Parks and Recreational Areas
In public parks and places that host adventure sports, floating walkways become a main component. These floating structures are present in the lakes and ponds that are found in public parks. For spaces like these, it wouldn’t make sense to have a traditional walkway – a component like that would cost too much for such spaces and would also warrant high maintenance costs.
Nature Reserves and Wetlands
To travel over water-logged areas and ponds in natural reserves and national parks, floating bridges and walkways are used. Since places like these have fluctuating visitors, having permanent structures would cost too much for the management. Installed along with safety handrails and guardrails, these walkways are a reliable choice for this application.
In places such as wetlands, wooden or steel walkways endure high damage over time because of the moisture content in the place. A plastic floating walkway would be the perfect alternative that would reduce repair and is also easy to install and pack up when not in use.
Temporary Event and Exhibition Spaces
The usage of floating bridges and docks in exhibition spaces has increased greatly in the past few years. For temporary events like exhibitions and recreational activity centers, having a permanent structure is not an option. Structures like floating walkways come in handy during such exhibitions and temporary events.
Such floating structures are perfect for commercial uses – budget-friendly and versatile, a floating walkway is easy to install in temporary conditions and does not require experienced labor to install them. In exhibition spaces, these walkways are used for small water games and sports.
Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations
Specifically known as pontoon bridges, these are floating structures that are used during wartime emergencies and disaster relief operations. Since these are buoyant structures, they can handle a lot of loads – in emergency situations where a lot of people have to be evacuated from a small space, these bridges serve very helpfully.
During flooding and similar natural disasters, these structures come in handy for evacuating people out of submerged areas.
Installation and Maintenance of Floating Walkways
One of the advantages of floating structures over older options is that they are very easy to install. While modern floating waterfront solutions have a long life compared to traditional ones, they still require time-to-time maintenance and cleaning.
Regular Inspections of the Integrity
Depending upon the application and frequency of usage, people either choose to leave a dock walkway in the waters for a long time, or pack it up and store it away.
If these structures are to be left in the water body for an extended period, it is important to inspect them often for any damages or issues. To ensure that the floating walkway is in good condition even after prolonged usage, it is important to clean the walkway from time to time.
If the walkway is to be put away for later use, it is better to check it thoroughly before storing it away. Likewise, before installing the floating dock or walkway for further use, it is advised to look for any possible damages or wear and tear and repair them if there are any.
Clean the Floating Walkway
Since a floating dock walkway is made by connecting singular flotation units, there are possibilities for dirt collecting in the joints of these units. Since the structures are in water for a long time, there are also other contaminants like pollutants, biowastes, weeds, etc, that could make the walkway dirty. It is advised to clean the walkway regularly to ensure that it looks presentable and also stays durable.
In case of accumulation of weed and similar things, the walkway can get slippery, making it a hazard for the users. So, the walkway has to be disassembled and cleaned regularly to avoid any accidents.
Cleaning and inspection are a part of decking maintenance when it comes to floating walkways. Other than this, it is important to look out for other factors that could possibly damage the deck of the walkway. For example, constant exposure to UV can cause considerable damage to the floating units, so care must be taken. This can be avoided by using light-colored decking materials or by applying sealing products.
Also, protection from constant moisture is a must for these structures. For this problem, you can consider investing in rubber mats or applying sealants.
Inspect the Mooring and Anchoring System
Inspection and maintenance do not stop with the deck and the floatation units. It is also of immense importance to check the anchoring system for any defects when one undertakes an inspection. The anchoring or the mooring system is the setup that keeps the plastic floating walkway tethered to solid ground.
Also, check the metal parts for any rusting – this is a high possibility as the anchoring setup is near water and could encounter moisture. Regular maintenance of the morning system can avoid many potential damages.
When it comes to the maintenance of plastic floating walkways, seasonal considerations are the main factor to think of. During summer and the consequent months of heat, it is important to conduct regular inspections on the walkways to ensure that prolonged exposure to UV does not cause much damage to the setup.
The same applies to winter too. The formation of ice can lead to the walkway becoming brittle and breakable. So, it is advised that the structure be stored away during extreme cold to avoid too much damage.
Hiseadock Offer Floating Walkways that Require Little Maintenance
Floating walkways and sidewalks, overall, offer more advantages than traditional ones. Top-class manufacturers like Hisea Dock offer a wide range of waterfront solutions, from floating docks to structures for floating restaurants, among others.
One great advantage of our floating waterfront solutions is that they are highly customizable – easy to install and maintain, our floating docks, sidewalks, and walkways can be customized to fit anywhere you want. With different types of floatation units, choose the right options that will suit your application and install our high-quality floating structures.
Good Bearing Performance
At Hisea Dock, we manufacture our structures from high-quality recyclable plastics like HDPE. This material offers a very long life and is high-performing even after prolonged usage. Since the structure can be packed away when not in use, it stands steady for longer periods compared to traditional options.
Floating docks and walkways are the best waterfront solutions for multiple purposes. In recent years, these high-customizable solutions have been adopted in many areas because of their versatility and ease of use.
If you are looking for top-quality waterfront solutions like floating walkways, bridges, docks, etc, Hisea Dock is the most reliable supplier for you! Contact us today and get an immediate quote for your waterfront solutions.