My wife and I have a lake house in East TX with a walk-out pier and boat dock. We’d like to add some functionality to make it easier to launch and, perhaps, store (at least during the ‘season’) kayaks at the dock. I did search here but did not find much…at least with the keywords I used (and a lot of it was older posts from 4+ years ago). Some folks have made their own, but I’d rather not go that way (there are some restrictions here). I’ve seen (on the web) Accudock, Versadock (versadockus.com), Gatordock, one or two more, and was wondering if anyone here has any experience with any of these? It would likely have to be some type of floating dock, as the lake level does vary (and in the past few years has varied quite a bit).
Is there a reason you can’t enter and exit your kayaks from the existing dock? I use mine for that purpose; I cut up a yoga pad into strips and attached them to the sides of the dock for bump protection. I also store one kayak (locked) on the dock, hull up, using foam supports. The others are on stands on the beach. Our only restrictions are set by the DNR and DEQ and are environmental.
We do have one property owner who uses a floating dock. Each spring parts of it wind up on the other side of the lake because the sections are heavy and aren’t secured properly. The local kids grab paddles, commandeer it, and have a marvelous time playing with it.
We have a floating dock
as its designed for motorboats its 18 inches off the water. We thought about brackets holding up a section down lower but are simply too lazy.
We use a swim ladder to exit the kayaks and canoes. Make sure you have a painter on the bow and actually hold onto it… While you leave, the boat can too.
The swim ladder is cheap and easy to clean… algae can make it slippery. Plus it has handholds so mobility is less of an issue.
EZ Launch™ – Kayak and Canoe Station
by EZ Dock Products
Our local community installed a kayak/canoe launch at the marina, and I have used it a number of times and have really enjoyed the experience.
a little more info…
Thanks folks for the suggestions so far. Just to add a bit of info, the boat dock is at the end of a pier that extends from the shore and both the walk and dock are fixed (i.e., not floating). The boat dock is U-shaped with a boatlift occupying the "U" and decking to either side. The dock is about 12 feet above bottom and the waterline is about 6" below the surface of the dock when the lake is full. Right now we're doing something very similar to what Rookie suggested....however, with that method and the existing dock, my wife cannot launch by herself (between the weight and particularly the maneuvering necessary to get the boat into the water) but would like to. Loved the comment on the pieces of the floating dock, though....it actually does sound like a lot of fun! I could add a swim ladder, but that unfortunately does not solve the problem of my wife getting the boat into the water (which becomes a bigger issue when the lake level gets lower...the same issue that becomes a problem if we use the area under the boatlift to launch). So short term we can work around it, but for the long term I was thinking that some type of floating section (connected to the existing dock/pier by a hinged gangway to accommodate the varying lake levels).....installed correctly so I don't have to collect the pieces every Spring :-)....would be more the way to go. I do have a dock builder coming over next week to take a look, so I'll see what he suggests and post. [Thanks for the EZ Dock suggestion....I'll add that one to the list as well].
A floating jet ski dock or port. Here are some examples:
You can do a search for jet ski port or pwc port. I know an older couple who use these regularly with ease. The EZ product is nice but I think also includes equipment meant to meet accessibility guidelines, which might be superfluous in your case. I’d think these simple floating pads with rollers would be a bit cheaper.
It is often easier to enter a kayak from the beach. There are lots of capsizes when people try to use a dock.
Some of us have no beaches
especially in the rocky Northeast or in areas with those horrid seawalls.
Shoreland zoning prohibits me from importing a beach. Of course they are easier.