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How to Choose a Floating Dock

What you should look for in any floating dock.

October 2, 2012
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Floating docks provide convenience, especially in areas where the water level fluctuates. Modular composite docks have made installation and customization easy. We asked Curtis Downs, of industry leader EZ Dock, what you should look for in any floating dock.

1. Freeboard
“When you pull up alongside a dock, the surface should float 13 to 18 inches above the water for ease of boarding.”

2. Anchoring
“If the bottom is sandy and the water calm, we can pound or water-jet pipes into the bottom to hold the dock in place. Clay can be tricky and so can rocky bottoms. You may have to engage a pile driver. Some docks have to be anchored to the shore with arms fastened to seawalls.”

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3. Gangway
“Most of our docks are installed with a gangway, not fixed to a pier. A few have a fixed dock along the seawall, then a floating dock along the pier. We provide fittings that ride up and down as the tide levels change.”

4. Corrosion
Resistance Make sure fittings are stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized, which is superior to “electroplated.”

5. Conformity
With all the different hull styles, the bunks must be adjustable. EZ Dock’s bunks can be set to adjust for pontoons, deep-deadrise performance boats or flat-bottom boats.

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6. Roll On
A roller eases running up on the dock and also smooths backing off.

7. Heavy Weights
Large boats may need extra flotation. EZ Dock uses water ballast to lower and raise the platform and bunks.

8. Maintenance
Apply anti-fouling paint, hire a diver or go overboard yourself to scrape growth and maintain buoyancy.

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Heads Up
Almost all locales require permits to install docks.

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