How to Build a Floating Dock

How to Build a Floating Dock

Floating docks are an excellent way to make water access more convenient. Installing a floating dock allows you to add lifts and launches for boats and personal watercraft (PWC), relax on the water and get into the water more efficiently. Floating docks are popular dock choices — they sit easily on the water and don’t require legs to hold them in place. If you want to elevate your waterfront experience, investing in a floating dock can transform your access to the water.

If you’re interested in getting a floating dock, you might be considering building it yourself. Choosing between a DIY floating dock and a pre-assembled floating dock can be challenging. You need to consider budget, time, effort, quality and more. Building a floating dock from scratch takes lots of hard work and materials — if you’re interested in building your dock on your own, we’ve got all the information you need. Use this guide to learn the basics of building a floating dock and the benefits of getting a high-quality floating dock kit for your waterfront needs. 

Items to Consider Before Building a Floating Dock

Items to Consider Before Building a Floating Dock

When looking for materials to help you build a floating dock, there are several factors you’ll need to consider first. Water type, dock location, dock usage and maintenance are all things that will influence your dock requirements and use. If you pick the wrong dock type for your area and needs, you’ll spend more on repairs and replacements long-term. Considering these factors will help ensure your dock’s functionality, stability and longevity. Evaluate these conditions to ensure your dock fits the environment you place it in:

  • Water type: The water your floating dock sits on will significantly affect its durability. You need to select the right dock for your water conditions to ensure it works safely and lasts years. The deeper the water, the better-suited floating docks are for the job. Frequently-fluctuating water levels affect the dock you need — if it drops too low, stability is compromised. Additionally, water salinity influences dock material. The higher your water’s salinity, the more durable and corrosion-resistant your dock materials should be.
  • Location and tide: Dock location and tides also influence your dock needs. Tides, high winds, extreme weather conditions and beach hazards or obstructions will affect where you can install your dock and the water conditions it will face. Tides alter water levels and increase the stressors and instability your dock deals with. 
  • Dock usage: Your intended dock use will influence the dock size, layout and design you pick. Decide if you’re using your dock for recreational purposes, such as fishing, boat access and swimming or for commercial uses, like docking larger craft and water-based activities. Dock layout, slip-resistance and bearing capacity will all affect what you use your dock for. Some dock owners like to use their dock to hang out with friends and family, while others want it to board their personal watercraft. Pick a dock with the layout, features and accessories that fit your dock use needs. 
  • Materials: Dock materials include platform materials, floatation devices, accessories and hardware. You need to select materials that will resist the corrosive effects of salt water, UV radiation, water damage, weathering and more. The right materials will keep you safe while you use the dock and ensure you can enjoy your dock for years without issue. Materials will affect all aspects of your dock, from performance to maintenance. Weigh your options carefully and try to find materials that will be low-maintenance and durable. 
  • Maintenance: Designing with maintenance in mind is critical for making the most of your dock investment. Think about corrosion resistance, durability and ease of maintenance when building a dock. Water type and dock location will affect durability — you might need a dock that can resist rough conditions and saltwater. Harsh weather conditions and UV radiation can also affect dock deterioration and ultimately increase maintenance. The more care your dock needs, the more time and money you’ll have to devote to it. 

Doing as much prep as possible beforehand will help you reduce stress and expenses during the build. You want to have everything planned out so there are no snags while you’re constructing the dock. Take your time and ensure you have everything in order before building your dock to maximize efficiency and reduce stress.

The Process of Building a Floating Dock

How to Build a Floating Dock

Building a floating dock provides you with your ideal space for water activities. Investing in your own project can be rewarding, allowing you to create your custom design to your needs. While it’s a rewarding process, keep in mind that a DIY floating dock is a challenge, especially if this is your first time taking on a similar project. You’ll need to approach your dock with care to ensure it’s safe and functional. Without a systematic approach and careful precautions, you’ll end up spending money and time on an unstable, unsafe dock. 

Building a floating dock involves lots of time, effort and materials. You need to ensure everything is installed correctly to prevent safety hazards. If you have little-to-no experience with construction projects like this, consider buying a floating dock kit. They come with everything you need and help you avoid the potential safety issues of a DIY job. 

Use these steps to help you build the best dock for your needs. 

Preparing to Build a Floating Dock

1. Building Preparation

Before building anything, you need to get all your planning, permits and materials in order. Without a detailed plan for all three of these aspects, you won’t have a good starting point for your dock. Get everything in order to ensure your floating dock meets all your use and legal requirements before beginning assembly. Make sure to get these aspects in order:

  • Dock purpose: Decide your dock’s purpose. Figure out if you’re going to use it for recreational activities, boat-docking, swimming, fishing or other pursuits. Your dock purpose directly affects its layout, size, accessories and design. Know what you want from your dock so you can begin planning materials, budget and permitting. 
  • Permits: You need to check with your local government to get any necessary permits in order. Many areas require you to have a permit for your dock installation. Additionally, your site might have restrictions on your dock size, placement, use and materials. Contact local authorities to learn what dock restrictions they have in place — if you fail to get the proper permits or meet local dock regulations, you’ll likely face fines or have to take your dock down. 
  • Materials: Consider your water type, dock use and environment when selecting materials. You want high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials that can withstand heavy weathering and water. Pressure-treated lumber and aluminum are common deck materials. These materials are more resistant to rot, decay and wear. However, you will still need to maintain them regularly and watch for corrosion, breakdown and marine life if they’re regularly in the water. Hardware made from galvanized and marine-grade stainless steel are excellent choices when corrosion-resistant properties are necessary.

Dock Platform Assembly

2. Dock Platform Assembly

Your dock platform is the foundation of your floating dock structure. Once your dock purpose, permits and materials are ready, you can start working on assembly. Gather all your materials ahead of time so you can work efficiently. Double-check measurements and supports to ensure accuracy and safety. Follow these steps to complete your platform assembly safely:

  1. Measure and mark: While you need rough measurements to get the correct material amounts, you’ll want to start your platform assembly with specific measurements. Measure and mark out where your floating dock installation will be. Take water depth, hazards and required access into account when measuring and marking. 
  2. Construct frame: Once you know where you want your dock to sit and its size, you’ll start constructing your frame. Use your pressure-treated lumber or other deck material to build the structure and use galvanized or marine-grade stainless steel screws or bolts to connect it. After building and connecting the frame, reinforce the frame corners with marine-grade metal braces, such as galvanized steel, to improve structural integrity.
  3. Install decking: After completing the structure, attach the decking material. While connecting the decking material, space the boards out evenly, ensuring there’s enough room for water to drain. Use the hardware to secure your decking to the frame. 
  4. Install bracing and cross members: Finally, install your bracing and cross members. These components go underneath the dock platform to provide additional support. These supports help distribute weight evenly and prevent sagging — proper bracing and cross members make your dock safer and increase its life span. 

Floatation Component

3. Create a Floatation Component

A dock’s floatation component keeps the structure buoyant while on the water. Different dock floats have unique properties — some provide better floatation and environmental protection, while others are cheaper. Weigh all your preferences when selecting your dock float to get the best installation for your dock. Once you’ve got the dock platform assembled, you can begin building your floatation component: 

  1. Select dock floats: Look at dock floats that fit your necessary size and weight capacity. Without the proper weight capacity, your dock won’t float with people and watercraft on it. Estimate the maximum total weight your deck needs to carry and choose floats that exceed that just to be safe. Foam-filled and encapsulated floats are popular choices due to their durability and buoyancy. 
  2. Position floats: Once you have your floats, you need to position and attach them. You’ll connect your dock floats to the underside of the platform. Make sure you place the floats evenly — proper spacing is critical for ensuring adequate buoyancy and safety. Once done, you can secure the floats to the dock with marine-grade stainless steel or galvanized hardware. 
  3. Connect floats: Properly positioned floats can be fixed to the rest of the dock with your hardware. After connecting the floats to the dock, apply a marine-grade sealant to them. If you choose not to seal your floats, they won’t hold up to the water and weather long-term. The less durable your components, the less safe and stable your dock is. 

Add Dock Accessories

4. Add Accessories

Accessories can enhance your dock’s functionality and aesthetics. Investing in quality accessories improves your dock experience — you’ll get more out of your dock and will enjoy it longer with the right add-ons. Consider these accessory options when finishing up your floating dock:

  • Cleats and bumpers: Cleats help secure boats and PWC, while bumpers protect your dock from collisions. Both of these accessories improve dock security and make it a better place to dock your watercraft. Use more marine-grade stainless steel or galvanized hardware to secure your accessories to the dock.
  • Ladders and stairs: Ladders and stairs are helpful for improving dock accessibility. If you’re using your dock for swimming, ladders make getting into and out of the water more convenient. Stairs up to your dock make it easier to get onto the dock from the boat or shore, especially if you or your dock users need some assistance. Securely attach them to the dock to keep users safe. 
  • Lighting: Installing the appropriate lighting makes your dock safer and easier to use. They’ll make evening dock access easier so you can use the dock safely. A state-certified and licensed electrician can install electrical outlets to power equipment or charge devices if needed. 
  • Lifts: Boat lifts and kayak launches make using your watercraft easier than ever. They’ll securely hold your vessels in place when not in use and make loading and unloading convenient. Your boat or watercraft will lower and raise itself on the lift instead of you having to do this manually. 
  • Seats and benches: Seats and benches are ideal for docks that will double as recreational spaces. They provide stable, comfortable spots for friends and family to relax while on the dock. Pick seats and benches that will withstand water damage and weathering — the sun will fade many benches with time. Secure your seats with durable hardware, so they stay in place 24/7. 

How to Anchor a Floating Dock

5. Anchor the Dock

Anchoring your dock is vital for keeping it in place. Without proper anchoring, your floating dock will drift or even float away. Follow these steps to anchor your dock in place securely: 

  1. Choose anchors: Find the correct anchors based on your dock size and the water conditions. Different anchors work best in different situations, so getting one that can handle your dock weight and environmental conditions is important. 
  2. Place anchors: Your anchor placement depends on the dock layout and your desired positioning. You can place your anchors at each corner or as the manufacturer recommends. 
  3. Secure anchors: Once you know where your anchors go, secure them in place. Double-check your placement and then begin securing the anchors. Ensure you’ve secured the anchors correctly — if they aren’t, they won’t effectively hold your dock in place. 

Benefits of Floating Dock Kits

Benefits of a Floating Dock Kit

A floating dock kit comes with several excellent benefits and few downsides. Investing in a high-quality floating dock kit takes the stress of a DIY project off your shoulders. Pre-packaged kits and modular dock systems provide versatility, convenience and durability to anyone looking to build a lasting floating dock. If you want to reduce labor and time spent on your floating dock while increasing safety and longevity, then a dock kit or pre-made modular dock is the way to go. 

Let’s explore the advantages of a ready-made floating dock for your waterfront:

Excellent Warranty

Floating dock kits from professional dock companies like EZ Dock come with excellent warranties. Having a quality dock warranty ensures the materials are well-made and safe. In case of any component issues, the manufacturer can assist with warranty-covered repairs and replacements. Having a dock with a warranty safeguards your investment and helps improve your dock experience. 

Easy to Assemble 

Instead of picking, gathering and building the dock components yourself, a dock kit has everything you need in one place. EZ Dock floating dock kits are user-friendly and easy to assemble. EZ Dock innovative coupling design holds dock sections in place securely, helping them withstand water and weather stresses easily. 

Additionally, kits come with detailed instructions and all the required hardware so construction is simple and efficient. Components are pre-cut, ready-for-assembly and modular. With a high-quality, ready-assembly kit and clear instructions, anyone can put their floating dock together — no experience required. 

Less Maintenance 

EZ Dock floating docks are made from superior polyethylene, which doesn’t rot, splinter or need paint. They won’t fade with the sun, deteriorate with water exposure or corrode easily. With slip-resistant surfaces and excellent weather resilience, you can spend less time on maintenance and repairs and more time on the water. With EZ Dock floating docks, you need to perform little-to-no maintenance. You can occasionally use a pressure washer, soap and water to give your dock a deeper clean if you think it needs it. 

Higher-Quality Material

Investing in a floating dock kit from EZ Dock provides you with higher-quality dock materials. Recycled rubber components and polyurethane materials ensure the dock lasts years. These kits are carefully designed to withstand the wear of water and weather. You’ll get more out of your dock when you invest in kits from reputable dock companies than you will with standard materials you put together yourself. 

Easily Adaptable

EZ Dock floating docks are much more adaptable than standard DIY docks. Our docks and dock kits are easily customizable once installed, allowing you to change up dock configurations and accessories as needed to fit your changing water uses. Whether you want to install additional sections, attach kayak launches and boat lifts or add accessories like ladders and benches, the kit’s modular design makes it easier to customize and expand your set-up over time. This adaptability ensures your dock remains versatile and can accommodate all sorts of activities and watercraft. 

Get the Highest Quality Floating Dock

Get the Highest Quality Floating Dock Today 

EZ Dock floating docks make designing and assembling your dock easier and safer than ever. Our docks are unmatched in quality, delivering superior versatility, longevity and safety every time. You can trust our industry-leading warranties and dock construction to keep you safe and stable on the water. Instead of spending time and money figuring out how to build a floating dock from scratch, use our convenient floating dock configurations to design and assemble a strong dock in no time. 

If you’re interested in getting the best-quality floating dock, request a quote with us online! Our expert team will work with you to help you get the right dock and dock accessories for your needs. Enjoy your EZ Dock floating dock no matter your water type or weather — we have everything you want to maximize dock versatility and strength. To get your EZ Dock floating dock, contact our team or find a distributor today!