How to Make Your Dock More Accessible for Everyone

If you want or need to make a handicap-accessible dock, you should adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. A more accessible facility means more people can enjoy the water. Below, learn more about how to create accessible docks for water activities.

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What Is the Americans With Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with a disability. This law means many facilities have to be accessible to people with disabilities. All government agencies, any company with 15 or more employees and any business that relies on the public must follow the ADA. This list includes:

  • Stores.
  • Restaurants.
  • Public parks.
  • Airports.
  • Public transportation.
  • Hotels.
  • Parking garages.
  • Sports stadiums.
  • Schools.

What Does the ADA Mean for Boating and Fishing Facilities?

The ADA requirements also apply to public recreational facilities like fishing piers and docks. This regulation means you may need to install additional products to help make your facility accessible to people with disabilities. Additional items could mean gangways, sloped pathways and handrails. 

Structures of an ADA-Compliant Boating or Fishing Dock

Let’s go over some basic requirements that will help make your dock more accessible. 

Gangways With Transitions

Gangways are necessary anywhere a dock is not easily accessible from the shore. EZ Dock gangways are strong, durable and easy to clean, and they come in various kits to best suit your needs. One transition kit allows for an ADA-accessible transfer between the gangway and the shore or dock.

Additionally, the EZ Dock EZ Trail is an environmentally friendly floating walkway that completely meets ADA guidelines. Learn more about it to see if this could be the solution for you.

Railings and Handrails

Railings are a great safety feature for everyone, especially when it’s windy or the water is rough. EZ Dock modular railings conform to ADA guidelines and give people of all abilities a firm place to hold on to. Combine these handrails with lights for more safety.

Edge Protection

Edge protection is a short barrier about 2 inches above the platform surface that prevents wheelchairs from falling off the dock or walkway. Installing these makes for an ADA-compliant and safe dock.

Boat Slips

To adhere to ADA guidelines, you also need several accessible boat slips. If you have up to 25 slips, at least one must be accessible to everyone regardless of ability. Up to 50 slips requires 2 accessible ones, and they should not be limited to one area. The number goes up the more total slips your facility has. 

Browse Dock Accessibility Products

EZ Dock has many products that can help make your facility more accessible, such as polyethylene or aluminum gangways and various railings. All our docks are barefoot-friendly and slip-resistant.

We strive to do more than just meet the minimum guidelines — we want to give everyone access to the best experience possible on the water. Browse our dock accessibility products and learn about our award-winning accessibility standards.

Get in touch with us today to request a quote, or visit our blog for more information on how to construct an ADA-compliant dock.