Basics of Boat Dock Construction
Unless you have Bob Vila-worthy skills and plenty of time, building your dock is usually best left to professionals. Boat Dock Construction Charleston SC has the experience and tools to ensure the project is done right, with straight cuts, boards that don’t cup, and a sturdy structure that won’t float away. Ideally, you want the bottom of your dock beams to be a few inches above the maximum waterline. This ensures that a standard-size boat can easily be docked.
Choosing the right design is a key part of creating a boat dock. It is important to consider the type of environment in which the dock will be built, including factors like wind conditions, water levels and soil types. In addition, the amount of traffic the dock will need to support should also be taken into consideration. There are many different types of docks available, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some are more permanent than others, and they are designed based on the types of boats that will be moored to them.
Piling docks are your typical marine dock, and probably what comes to mind when you hear the word “dock.” They use pilings, large wooden beams, to connect the dock to the ground underneath the water. They are the best option for supporting larger boats, as they can rise and fall with changing water levels and weather conditions. However, they require a great deal of maintenance to keep them functioning properly. Often, they are subject to damage from boats, waves and currents.
Fixed docks are a more traditional choice. They are attached to the bottom of a lake, river or ocean and remain at a consistent height. They can be used to moor boats and are a great option for those who want the security of knowing their boat will be safe on the dock all year round. They are often used to store boats, and they can be fitted with a variety of other amenities.
Floating docks use barrels, steel tubes or air chambers to float on fluctuating water levels. They are very popular, and they are easy to set up and remove when the season changes. They are also a great choice for those who are looking for a more environmentally friendly dock.
Crib docks are a more permanent dock design that can be constructed by professional installers. They are made of large treated timbers that look a little like crates. These cribs are placed on the lake bottom at about 10 feet apart, and they are filled with rocks to provide a sturdy base for the rest of the dock. They are typically the most expensive option, but they are a great choice for those who need a durable and sturdy dock that can withstand the elements.
The material a dock is built from is a major consideration. It should be strong enough to hold a boat and other recreational boats when moored, and it should be stable enough to resist movement in windy and wavy conditions. Depending on the use of the dock, it may also need to be waterproof or at least water-resistant. Wood, steel or concrete are all good choices for the dock’s frame and outer posts. For decking, the best choice is cedar because of its rot-resistant properties. Cedar is expensive, though, and may not be practical for some budgets. Other options include pressure-treated pine or spruce (as long as local regulations allow treated wood in lakes), and synthetic plastic dock planking made from a blend of wood fibers and polymers that resists rot and splinters.
The bottom of the dock’s beam and joists must be kept out of the water as much as possible, but it is also important for the dock to be at the right height to accommodate boats and to enable people to enter and exit the water easily. A good balance is to locate the bottom of the beam a few inches above the maximum water level.
It is a good idea to consult a waterfront contractor in the planning and building of a boat dock. He or she will be familiar with the local conditions in the lake, river, pond or ocean where the dock is to be constructed, and can make sure the structure meets all the requirements for safe and useable docking.
A dock must be anchored so it doesn’t spin around in windy or wavy conditions, and the anchors should be made of galvanized metal for corrosion resistance. Whether the anchors are pre-made concrete or poured on site, they should be fastened to the shoreline support posts with thick, galvanized chains, crisscrossing them so that one anchor is adjacent to each of the corners of the dock.
Many dock builders overlook the need to mark for fasteners, but this simple step can save a lot of time and frustration in the long run. It is a lot easier to drive nails and screws consistently straight and evenly spaced when you mark for them with a tape measure and pencil lines than trying to judge them by eye alone.
Some states set size restrictions for docks, so it is important to consult state and county regulations before constructing a new dock. In addition, homeowners association (HOA) rules can also influence the type of dock you can build. For example, some HOAs require docks to be built from a specific material or cannot be enclosed using roofs or sides.
In Connecticut, for instance, docks are regulated by the Land and Water Resources Division (LWRD). The goal of the permitting program is to protect coastal resources, promote safe navigation, and balance private rights of access with public trust waters. The LWRD imposes requirements such as the minimum number of pilings required to support fixed piers, the maximum overall length of a dock, and the distance the seaward terminus of the dock can be from a federally or locally designated channel, fairway, or anchorage area.
A permit for the construction of a dock must be obtained before beginning work. This permit is typically issued by the local county or township building inspector and must demonstrate compliance with all state, county, and city land use and shoreline regulations. The permit application may require detailed plans, including the elevation views of the dock and piers. For a floating dock, these may include the floor plan, framing plan, and details for how the floats will be connected to the dock pilings. For a supported pier, the plans should include a structural engineer’s stamp and details of how the pier will be connected to the dock.
For existing docks, modification or maintenance work may be eligible for a general permit (COP). However, COPs will not allow the construction of new residential docks, and they must be located where there are no resource, navigation, or public trust concerns. Docks that were constructed before June 24, 1939 and have been continuously maintained without significant modifications or repairs are considered grandfathered, and therefore do not require a COP.
A small residential floating dock can be permitted by a standard activity permit, provided it meets the size and location requirements and complies with other design standards and survey requirements. This type of dock is generally only allowed in areas with adequate water depths for boating.
When it comes to a boat dock, there are some very basic construction principles that must be taken into account. Whether your boat dock is for mooring boats or is simply for a place to relax and enjoy the view, there are several key factors to consider. It is also important to determine the purpose of your dock in order to ensure it complies with local ordinances and requirements.
The construction of a boat dock is usually similar to the construction of a traditional deck in terms of weight distribution, beams, and joists. However, there are some differences relating to the fact that a portion of the dock will be submerged under water. These differences can often be addressed through the use of certain materials and proper planning.
It is recommended that the initial construction process begins by preparing the foundation for the dock. This can be done by either laying a concrete pad or installing a steel frame. This will allow the dock to remain stable and secure, even in rough weather conditions. After the frame is complete, it is time to add the decking material. Wood, concrete, or steel are all popular choices for this purpose, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Once the decking is in place, it is time to install the railing. This is usually completed in the same way as the railing on a deck, with the exception that it must be secured to the frame using appropriate screws or nails. It is also a good idea to choose a dock railing that is highly visible, as this will help prevent accidents and injuries.
One extremely popular trend in dock design is to incorporate seating directly into the structure itself. This can be done by using modified wood boards, and this can eliminate the need for additional furniture that will quickly wear and require replacement in a waterfront setting.
A well-constructed dock can provide years of enjoyment for families and friends alike. It is important to remember that the initial investment can be quite high, but it is a worthwhile investment when you consider how much it can enhance the quality of your waterfront experience.