How To Build a Floating Dock

Floating Dock Theory

The simple theory of dock floating is that more width, length, and weight added to a floating dock, the more stable it becomes.  For example, 4' x 10' dock fingers are not as stable as a 10'x10' dock section.

The Term Freeboard for Boat Docks

The term freeboard means height deck above the waterline.  most residential designers aim 12" to 24" of freeboard. Dock floats with 12" and 16" height will be within the average freeboard range. If your prime use of the dock is to moor a boat, then a dock freeboard height needs to be adequate for loading and unloading a boat.   An added benefit for a lower freeboard is that it will increase the stability of the dock.

Calculating buoyancy for Docks

The basic general rules for calculating buoyancy for a residence floating dock is 30lbs per square foot and 40lbs per square foot for commercial docks.

for example

Length x Width = Square feet of dock
Square feet x 30 lbs (10lbs Materials & 20 People weight) =  Total buoyancy 
Divide total Load by dock float model number
Example:    10' x 14' dock = 140 sq. feet
140 sq. feet x 30 lbs. = 4200 lbs.
4200 lbs./ 525 lb buoyancy dock float = 8 floats

You Can use the wizard below to calculate the floats for you

Dock Drum Placement for Stability

Placing the dock floats around the perimeter (corners) of the dock provides the best support and stability. Dock Fingers generally require additional flotation at the end of the dock, to reduce deflection.  Encapsulated Dock Float placements are also recommended on heavy load areas such as the back of the dock where the gangway or dock ramp is placed

Dock construction in 3 easy steps 

1) Build the dock as close as possible to the water and construct the outer box (ALL HARDWARE needs to be hot dipped galvanized)

2) Place the dock floats into the constructed outer box. This is done before the floor joists are placed. Mark the places where the floor joists will go. 

3) Finishing the decking, Make sure all wood is treated lumber


  Copyright Carolinadocks & Floats, LLC. All Rights Reserved.