dock design

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Dan Listermann, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Dan Listermann
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Cincinnati

    Dan Listermann Junior Member

    We bought a river camp and I am looking at building a permanent dock with a floating section. I have access to lots of 15 gallon barrels and 55 gallon as well. I was going to use the 15 gallon for the float dock to keep the center of gravity low. The permanent dock would be made of 55 gallon barrels filled with dirt.

    I supppose that the state ( Indiana in this case ) would want to offer their input.

    Any experience?
  2. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Concerns: rust, ice, environment, rights of way, local ordinances and building permits.
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Barrels are available in Plastic. There are also many floating docks made of cubes that interlock. How big is dock and what is your budget?
  4. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    First things first: in most parts of North America, you need a permit to put in a dock. Check local laws, of course. Permits tend to be a lot easier to get if you get them before you start. No kidding, people often get this backwards. Once you've started without a permit, there are all sorts of bad things that happen- "fines", "zoning violation hearings", "court summons", etc. So start with a sketch of the property- pull it off Google Earth if the resolution's good enough- and add, to scale, the proposed dock. Take photos of the shoreline. Make notes of the condition of the bottom- any fish habitat you need to avoid? (The more thought out your plans and the better your documentation, the happier the bureaucrats will be and the faster your application will go through.) Take all this to the permit office, be prepared to wait a few weeks, and be prepared to make a few changes to your plans. They're not trying to make life inconvenient for you- they're trying to make sure you don't accidentally cause erosion problems to your shoreline, or wipe out the local fish spawning grounds, or piss off your neighbour for a property line infringement, or put a lot of money and work into something that'll get wiped out in the first winter.

    Now, when it comes to the actual design and building of a dock, I know of no better place to start than the CottageLife Dock Primer. Free pdf download:

    It includes loads of excellent information on how to come up with a design that's appropriate for your waterfront, and on what to look for (and what to avoid) if you want to build long-lived, low maintenance docks for minimal cost. Further readings are also suggested, for those who like to plan before building. The section on permits and approvals is unique to Ontario but the rest of it applies anywhere.
  5. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    Good advise. I suggest that you call your County Planning Department as they usually are the lead agency (true in Calif. and Oregon) They will mail you all necessary forms and guildlines and a list of other agencies that will require their approval. Don't have a design set and ready to go before you do this. Do not count on using steel barrels. I built a floating dock 35 years ago using redwood lumber and stryofoam billits. Still there, no damage except a few muskrat bites. stryofoam never absorbs water.

  6. RivrLivn
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: US

    RivrLivn Junior Member

    If you are putting this dock on a river and you don't need your dock covered, just strip an old pontoon boat. They make the best and cheapest floating dock for a river. I live on the river and sometimes I have flows of 50,000 to 60,000 cfs. The toons work great for this, plus less debris gets caught when the spring floods come and all the trees start coming down stream.
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