Tips on Buying a Floating Dock

by Shawn Raasch


A floating dock is a convenient addition to any waterside abode.

Always in the correct spot, it moves with the water level, making a lake, pond or river accessible anytime. Choosing a quality dock that will last for many years is easy when given a few guidelines.

The first thing to consider is ease of installation and removal, especially in areas that require docks be taken out of the water each winter. There are floating docks available that can be removed or installed by one person in as little as two hours without entering the water. It may take an entire day or longer to do the same with a fixed dock. Removing a fixed dock often requires people to enter the water, pull up the anchors, and then disassemble the dock, handling its heavy planks.

Deciding on the appropriate dock layout is another important step. A manufacturer should be able to provide choices that accommodate the proper width, length or shape needed. Layouts may include T-shaped, T-shaped, straight, or for unique uses, a custom design.

One option is a modular dock. It is sold in sections and assembled like building blocks, using connectors. Sections can be added as budget permits, or arranged into a new configuration to accommodate an owner's growing inventory of watercraft.

Another thing to examine when choosing a floating dock is whether it is constructed of low- or no-maintenance material. This can offer tremendous time and labor savings, especially at the beginning of boating, fishing or swimming season. Docks made of plastic, such as polyethylene, do not need painting or staining and won't rot or cause splinters like wooden docks. A safe, slip-resistant dock surface is another important feature.

Finally, the right dock should be environmentally friendly as well. Docks made of Styrofoam blocks can be eaten by hungry wildlife or deteriorate over time. Choosing a dock made of recyclable, air-filled polyethylene eliminates pollution from bits of Styrofoam breaking off into the water.

The right dock can provide years of fun and flexibility. With these tips for finding a floating dock, owners will be able to maximize time in and around the water.

Editor's Note: Shawn Raasch is a sales assistant with modular floating dock manufacturer Schafer Systems, Inc.

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