Size and Layout
The size and layout of your custom boat dock design should be tailored to your specific requirements. Consider the number and size of boats you plan to accommodate, as well as the activities you’ll do. A layout with ample space for maneuvering and storage ensures convenience and enhances safety.
“One of the biggest mistakes we see is making the dock or slips too small,” says Daniel Miller, vice president of operations for Chattanooga Dock Builders in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“Take the LOA of the largest boat you imagine ever using at the dock and add three to four feet to get the slip length. The extra three to four feet allows for some wiggle room so the swim platform or outboard motor aren’t sticking out of the slip. …Don’t forget to take into account head clearance on the dock and make sure your roof is high enough for bimini tops, wakeboard towers, and lights or antennas to clear.”
Choosing the right materials is important for the longevity and maintenance of your custom boat dock. Consider the climate and maintenance requirements when making your selection.
According to the pros at Duncan Seawall, Dock and Boat Lift, LLC, in Sarasota, Florida, the general rule is to pick high-quality and durable materials to build your dock. Typically, pressure-treated wood is one of the most popular options today. However, you can also experiment with other materials that could offer more benefits. These include:
HDPE: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is durable and easy to work with since it doesn’t require special tools. HDPE doesn’t absorb water or liquid, meaning it is rot-resistant. This material is best used for the understructure and the actual dock plank.
Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight and long-lasting option for dock-building. Its durability and strength are a couple of reasons why aluminum is a popular option.
Wood: Wood can be an affordable option if you are on a budget. Wood is aesthetically pleasing and easy to work with. However, it requires a lot of maintenance, including annual painting, staining, and replacing rotted or warped wood planks.
“Composite decking is perfect for family docks,” adds Matt Greenfield, a writer for Today’s Homeowner who specializes in home improvement projects. “Homeowners won’t need to worry about water damage, scuffing, or splintering. The wide range of color options that come with composite decking can be a real bonus for homeowners who want their dock to match their home.”