How to Build a Dock

How to Build a Dock


One of the best parts about living on the shore of a pond or river is exploring the waterways whenever you like. Unfortunately, without a dock, that also means you’re tromping through the mud to get your canoe, kayak or boat out of the water. You don’t need to hire a contractor, though. Here are some easy to follow steps to help you build a dock so you can enjoy everything your waterway has to offer.

Get Your Permits

Before you start buying supplies or designing your dock, check with your local permitting office and make sure you don’t need to obtain a construction or environmental OK before you can start building. The exact details of the permit will vary depending on where your property is located. In some areas, you might not be able to make a permanent dock.

Don’t start building before you cover all those bases. Skipping this step could cost you a lot of money in the long run.

Choose the Dock You Need

Your next step is to figure out what type of dock you need. Will it be a permanent structure with pylons driven into the river or lake bed? Do you need a removable or temporary dock that floats on pontoons or airtight drums? How many watercraft are you planning on attaching to it — just one at a time, or multiple boats?

Figuring out what you need and how you’re going to use it will make the next step easier.

Draw and Design

Step three is to design your dock. If you’re artistic, you can draw up the design yourself. If you can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, consider investing in a design program like CAD (computer-assisted design) to let you create your masterpiece. CAD programs also allow you to try different creations at the click of a button instead of having to start over every time a new idea crosses your mind.

Start Building

Once you’ve got all the necessary permits and have a design secured, your next step is to collect your materials and start building. Gather a few friends, too — jobs like this always go faster with extra pairs of hands.

If you’re building a permanent dock, you’ll start by driving the pylons into the river or lake bed. From there, you can construct the frame, then lay down the decking.

If your dock is temporary, you’ll start by setting up your airtight drums or pontoons. From there, the steps are the same.

Either way you choose to go, make sure you empty your pockets and leave your phone on shore before you start building. You will likely fall in, and you don’t want to lose anything of worth.

Enjoy Your New Dock

Once the dock is built, all that’s left to do is enjoy all your hard work. Put your boats in the water without having to get your shoes wet ever again. You also get a great perch to fish from or just a great place to watch the sun go down.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.