Kayak Dock

Soon to complete a kayak rack capable of holding 15 yaks, one canoe and one scull we are now turning out attention to getting boats into the water.

We’ve got one dock that is typically 2 feet above the water. We’ve got one more access point where we can construct a new dock, one that is kayak friendly.

Suggestions/pics/drawings/diagrams/anyting you’ve got or thought of would me most appreciated.

The family consists of 6 paddlers…and often 4-5 are trying to get into the water at the same time…of course that wont happen but with an additional dock we can get 3 in motion at the same time.

I was thinking the additional dock being 4 feet wide—wide enough to walk on while holding a kayak, and 12 feel long—long enough that even in the longest boat (Looksha II) you can paddle along side it and have access to the dock without running the bow into the bank.

Along one side of this new dock I was mulling over a ‘slant dock’ that is mostly underwater, 3 feet at its deepest and maybe 6 inches at a point closest to land. This ‘slant dock’ would be constructed of marine pressure treated lumber and then covered with the mat type material we have in the local pool that keeps you from sliding and busting your buttock…but when wet it still has some slide and wont hurt composite boats. The idea is that you get a little speed up and slide up and onto the slant-ramp.

For the newer/younger paddlers the worst is that they turn over on the ramp…ramp to be 4 feet wide.

Your thoughts?

Has this already been done?

I dont want to re-invent the wheel but internet searches so far are null.



Take a look at…

– Last Updated: Nov-21-05 10:11 AM EST –

Atlantic Kayak Tours. The ramps designed for disabled paddlers, which they have, are heavy duty rubber units if about one foot square similar to what you see for sculling docks. But, they are set up with tracks for the boats, ropes to help pull up again, and set lower to the water at open side. They may know where you can get the modular units, and they accomplish what you want while being a lot easier to pull up and store for the winter than a wood deck.


– Last Updated: Nov-21-05 5:11 PM EST –

I'm not sure wood, even PT, is good -it'll eventually rot and or be subject to attack by various water critters. I'd look to plastics such as those now being sold at home improvement stores for such construction.

Then there is the jet-ski approach of a floating dock you can ramp up on "under power", similar to your sunken one, but one which will rise and fall with water levels and therefore provide a relatively constant launch/retrieve approach/technique. I've seen something along those lines down here, and it looks like it would work. But I don't know how well they hold up to others' ideas of cold and/or "hard" water -we don't see too much of that down here... other than in margaritas...

Problem with that approach is the pivot-point effect: you may get part of the boat up on the slope, but the paddler might still be in -literally -deep water. If the boat begins to pivot on it's keel around its longitudinal axis -it's been known to happen (yours truly) -the paddler may spend their time bracing, backpaddling to try it all over again, or dumping, because, unlike the beach slope, there is no shallow bottom beneath the boat.

OTOH, when we paddled in Portland on the WIllamette River earlier this year, Alder Creek Outfitters had a raither conventional floating dock we used for launching -and it had but perhaps 4" of freeboard. Initially fearful of dumping -all our launches have been from beaches -we were quite pleasantly surprised at the ease of getting in and out of the boats off this low dock. And it makes putting the boat in the water, and taking out, pretty easy because of its low clearance.

I'd suggest the latter for you: you can purchase large blocks of styrofoam that'll float a LOT of weight, and use that for bouyancy, and build a floating dock you can easily use to


-Frank in Miami

Yesterday I saw dozens of…
different type jet ski drive on ones and was thinking of this post.

There was one particular one that I saw several of that was so low to the water and had a narrow (about a kayak width) in the center that a kayak could pull right up on, that would be perfect.

I was thinking that a couple of grab loops on each side would allow the paddler to paddle up and on as far as possible than using grab loops pull all the way on while still sitting in the yak.

They looked like they were made out of polyethylene or fiberglass.

I would check with West Marine or Boaters World.



I sent you an email
But wanted to make sure you got this link. This is a handbook from the National Park Service of plans, sketches and pictures of various kayak launches. There are also links within which can show you various manufacturers of those types of launches. Look to pages 50-51, this is one of those floating plastic launches which I believe you are talking about, and includes some great photos and tips on how to construct one, along with pros and cons of the design. Good Luck!


your replies are another
reason why PNet rules!

Thanks to all for the replies. The instruction manual from the NPS is full of information. At this point I’m studying all options and all the new options pointed out in this thread and have already shot off some e-mails to the manufacturers of the plastic modular docks.

Thanks again!


following up on the dock
This is what we decided to go with:


If it makes it easier for the kids to get in then they will paddle more, might make it easier for me too :slight_smile: