dock building

Hey just bought a house on the Erie canal.

Looking for some ideas to build a launching dock for my kayak team. Built some before using 55 gallon drums.

Any one ever try using a set of coolers. Thinking putting silicone the top edge. then build wood frame around it. very little wave action. here.

thanks Dan

Floats rebuilt in 2004

My advice would be to use something meant for the task. I have fished out way too many barrel float docks. The extra money will be paid back in happiness.

Ryan L.

like jackl and radiomix said …

– Last Updated: Oct-18-11 1:41 AM EST –

...... plus figure a min. 30 lbs. per sq. ft. total loading (live and dead load combined) to determine the total amount of bouyancy required for the float chambers you pick .

Example , 5' x 10' dock = 50 sq.ft. x 30 = min. 1500 lb. of bouyancy to be divided by all chambers used in the design (chambers should be all the same size and bouyancy rating) .

The smaller ones jackl mentioned are rated between 350 - 450 lb. bouyancy each and cost about what he said .

Also I'd steer away from any presure treated lumbers for the decking but use a composite decking instead . And preferaby light aluminum I beam for the main carrier rails . Hot dipped galv. bolts (carraige style) as a min. for fasteners (St,Stl.for better), no nails or screws .

Build it once , build it right and forget about it . Always worth a few extra bucks .

good start
Nice ideas.

Especially the compsite lumber and aluminum rails.

Pressure treated get s very slippery and moldy here. .I never use nails.

My next decision is fixed or floating. the canal only fluctuates 6-8" during the season. May 10 to nov 15. During the winter time the water is drains about 10 to 12’ feet.

Food for thought.

thanks Dan

You mignt want to check with your
towns zoning officer. Around here docks cannot be left in during the winter.

Fixed or floating they have to come out.

Floating gets lots of wear with passing boat wakes.

Fixed of course means with water fluctuations you might have to move it up or down…a potential PITA. Or with little fluctuation not.

Its easier to build a plank extension to water level for ease of entry or egress from paddle craft from a fixed dock. I am getting kind of tired of jumping from my floater dock where the deck level is some 18 inches higher than the water surface. But we share the dock with six other families…all powerboaters. Its cheaper that way but less convenient for us paddlers.

Picked up 2 55 plastic gallon barrels yesterday for $41.

Willstart drawings soon.


Fill 'em partially
Unless you want a wobbly float.

Are you going to strap them so each
barrel has multiple well spread attachment points? I agree on partially filling em. Otherwise you will be a burling. And they will be much higher than you might want.

Beefy fix mounts on land and a hinged

– Last Updated: Oct-20-11 11:19 PM EST –

'ramp' type dock ? Can adjust from angled ( leading edge in water ) to level by moving drums in / out.

I have built two of these. The need was to adjust them between ski boat dock to jetski out of water storage.

sorry: supposed to be "fixed" mounts

yes Built one years ago.

will partly fill barrels and atttach a ramp with hinges and anchor back side. Probably put skid tape on as well especailly on ramp. this will be fun to do!!!

Before you build a dock make sure that you legaly can. Most canals are public property, as well as the tow path on either side. Although your property abuts the canal you may have no legal standing to build there. Just because neighbors have, does not make it right. Localy a canal here was dredged and the state tore down everyones dock,landing, porch or any other structure built on the canal. Before you invest your time and cash I would make sure that you can do it.

Laws and Materiel
There are great dock building books on Amazon. The people who manufacture plastic floats also have plans on the web.

You should see if there are legal requirements for new docks in your town. For instance, in mine, one cannot use foam blocks as these eventually break into pieces and harm wildlife. Absolutely no steel 55 gallon drums either.

You can often find used dock materials on Craigslist especially if you want to rent a trailer and take a road trip to a coastal city or the great lakes. On ebay there are hardware kits.

'murn is correct in that local laws may
go into play regarding what can be placed at shorelines.

Here in Michigan on our river and township, only one dock is allowed per property, no matter the length of ‘your’ shoreline. Also, the DNR must also be contacted and permits issued for anything, such as ‘pea stone’ or sand to be added to the river/lake bottoms, if at all. One could be in for BIG fines.