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MattMatt

Best Floating Dock - 48' x 8'

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MattMatt

After two years of permitting nightmares (thank you Washington State), we now have permission to add a 48' x 8' floating dock as a "T" to our existing 21' fixed dock. Looking for suggestions from the crew on the best floating docks.

Our lake freezes in the winter and the ice crushes everything so the dock will either need to "float" on top of the ice, or come apart so it can be pulled from the lake in the winter. We also get some pretty decent waves during windstorms so it needs to be strong. I'l looking at modular options like EZ Dock or Candock, or a custom built wood/metal dock.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Reviews?

Here is a pic of our existing dock.

genMid.839837_22_1.jpg

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granddaddy55
9 hours ago, MattMatt said:

After two years of permitting nightmares (thank you Washington State), we now have permission to add a 48' x 8' floating dock as a "T" to our existing 21' fixed dock. Looking for suggestions from the crew on the best floating docks.

Our lake freezes in the winter and the ice crushes everything so the dock will either need to "float" on top of the ice, or come apart so it can be pulled from the lake in the winter. We also get some pretty decent waves during windstorms so it needs to be strong. I'l looking at modular options like EZ Dock or Candock, or a custom built wood/metal dock.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Reviews?

Here is a pic of our existing dock.

genMid.839837_22_1.jpg

Their not comfortable to the bare  feet but what about the heavy duty grate material they use to build fix docks, the openings should allow for water to splash up thru the deck surface reducing the impact or forces ftom storm surge 

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minnmarker

@MattMatt  I have two EZ dock sets (large L and a T for PWC berthing) and one Shore Master floating straight (that goes next to the Malibu lift).  Here's what I can tell you about the EZ docks:

They are very strong and ice does not harm them at all.

The issue we have with ice is the docks getting dragged away by the ice flow in the Spring.  If the shoreline ice melts on the other side of the lake first and then we get a wind in that direction nothing will stop the ice sheet.  I am planning to go up next weekend and take a chain saw and cut a fracture line around the docks.  This can help the docks break loose form the main ice sheet.  We tie them between shore and an off-shore anchor because the shoreline is Rip Rap.  If you have a sandy or marshy shoreline you can just drag them up on shore and tie them.  The shore lines are 100 lb. lines that will snap if the ice pulls them and the anchor line has a 150 lb. sacrificial link so the anchor does not get dragged out with the docks if they go (ask me if I lost and engine block anchor like that...).  If the docks (we raft them together) get dragged out we just have to go find them in the Spring.

If you have a lot of wave action over 1 foot I would not recommend floating docks.  Like if the prevailing wind is into your shore line.  Week end chop is not an issue as long as you're comfortable with the dock moving up and down if you spend time sitting on it.  Also, be very careful planning how the floating docks attach to your rigid dock.  You'll need to build in a flex point like a ramp.  No such thing as a fixed point connection.  The floating docks WILL MOVE around.  We have ramps that rest on landscape timbers.

If you have PWCs the EZ Dock PWC systems are great!  Much easier launch and berth the PWCs than with cantilever lifts.

Bottom line, I'm going to get rid of the large L EZ dock at some point.  Not sure when because they DO NOT wear out. I just want something more stable for people to hang out on on weekend when there's a lot of rollers from wake boats :whistle:  On the other hand, the EZ dock set with the PWCs is the best!

Recommend you do what your shoreline, bottom profile, and wave action dictate.  EZ Docks are extremely durable as long as you keep them from bouncing off rocks for extended periods of time.

 

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MattMatt

I'd rather not use a floating dock, but Washington State won't allow us to put in pilings due to the new shoreline regulations and because the winter ice will rip them out (at least that's what I'm being told by our engineers). Our shore DOES get the prevailing wind after its whipped the water for several miles. For that reason I'm leaning towards heavier wood/metal docks in hopes they won't bounce so much, but then again, on windy days nobody's on the lake so maybe it's not an issue. Please keep the ideas coming.

Edited by MattMatt

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Michigan boarder

How deep is the water?  Can you install a removable pier?

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MattMatt

Removable pier? Hadn't thought of that one. The water is 15-20' deep at the end of the dock in the summer (6' less in the winter). The bottom is mostly sand/mud with small rocks. From a quick Google search it looks like the legs of the dock just sit on the bottom until you pull everything out for the winter? Might be an option. Thanks for the idea.

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minnmarker

How about roll in?  Depends on your shore line and bottom profile.  You may not be able to go over 15 feet deep but they are stable.  The kind with the cross chains are the most stable in deep water.  Porta Dock is the best roll in brand in the Midwest. I'm switching to when I want to replace the EZ Dock.  http://www.porta-dock.com/aluminum-roll-in-docks.php

In Summer you may have to move them as the water rises and falls.  Hopefully that doesn't happen fast - at least the rising.  In Winter you just winch them up out of the water.  About the same price per sq ft. as EZ Dock.

If you're on the leeward side of a large lake you will not be happy with floating docks of any kind.

Repeat ^^^^^^^^

Edited by minnmarker
addition

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Michigan boarder
24 minutes ago, MattMatt said:

Removable pier? Hadn't thought of that one. The water is 15-20' deep at the end of the dock in the summer (6' less in the winter). The bottom is mostly sand/mud with small rocks. From a quick Google search it looks like the legs of the dock just sit on the bottom until you pull everything out for the winter? Might be an option. Thanks for the idea.

Man that's deep.  I'd say no go unless you went with a roll-in, but even then it would be really difficult, especially if you have sand/muck.  If you are dealing with 6 feet, different story, but 15-20....you can't just poke your head down to fix a problem (leveling, something stuck, etc.).

1 minute ago, minnmarker said:

How about roll in?  Depends on your shore line and bottom profile.  You may not be able to go over 15 feet deep but they are stable.  The kind with the cross chains are the most stable in deep water.  Porta Dock is the best roll in brand in the Midwest. I'm switching to when I want to replace the EZ Dock.  http://www.porta-dock.com/aluminum-roll-in-docks.php

In Summer you may have to move them as the water rises and falls.  Hopefully that doesn't happen fast - at least the rising.  In Winter you just winch them up out of the water.  About the same price per sq ft. as EZ Dock.

If you're on the leeward side of a large lake you will not be happy with floating docks of any kind.

Repeat ^^^^^^^^

I think it's too deep.  Lotsa chop and floating docks is not fun, unless you are just using them to quick get on and off the boat.  And your nimble.

What do the neighbors do?  Is there anyone that you can learn from along your shore?

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minnmarker
38 minutes ago, MattMatt said:

I'd rather not use a floating dock, but Washington State won't allow us to put in pilings due to the new shoreline regulations and because the winter ice will rip them out (at least that's what I'm being told by our engineers). Our shore DOES get the prevailing wind after its whipped the water for several miles. For that reason I'm leaning towards heavier wood/metal docks in hopes they won't bounce so much, but then again, on windy days nobody's on the lake so maybe it's not an issue. Please keep the ideas coming.

My uncle is on Lake Wenatchee.  He got his pilings in before the new regs.  I think they are 12" diameter steel pipes.  Big!  He also got a rock pier put in to make a mini harbor.  Can't do that anymore...

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WAwinegrapes

Check with your neighbors!  they probably checked with other neighbors before installing.

 

ALso just what will your boss (WA State) allow you to install?  Maybe there are restrictions as to what is allowable and more importantly NOT allowed!

 

How much does lake go up and down?

 

Expensive, but concrete with foam core, are most stable.   Kinda like Seattle floating bridge. and most expensive.  but will last a lifetime.  Can be anchored by piilings, under water anchors, or anchored from shoreline!

Edited by WAwinegrapes

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minnmarker

I talked to the dealer/installer at the boat show and the Porta-Dock heavy aluminum roll in can go to 12 feet wide (stable) and 15 feet deep.  As long as your bottom profile is relatively flat (parallel to shore) it should work well.  Sand or muck not a big issue.  If the wheels sink in the mud just put a couple truck inner tubes under the dock and let them float the wheels out of their holes when you want to move or remove the dock.  Cost here is about $6000 for 24 feet long with a 12 x 8 foot T at the end.

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MattMatt
7 hours ago, WAwinegrapes said:

Check with your neighbors!  they probably checked with other neighbors before installing.

 

ALso just what will your boss (WA State) allow you to install?  Maybe there are restrictions as to what is allowable and more importantly NOT allowed!

 

How much does lake go up and down?

 

Expensive, but concrete with foam core, are most stable.   Kinda like Seattle floating bridge. and most expensive.  but will last a lifetime.  Can be anchored by piilings, under water anchors, or anchored from shoreline!

Most everyone on the lake got their docks in before the new rules. All fixed docks on pilings. The couple of floating docks I've seen on the lake bounce like crazy on the smallest wake which is why I'm thinking really heavy floating docks like the city has at their boat launch.

The water level only moves twice a year when they draw it down 5-7 feet for the winter. Otherwise it's the same height all summer.

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Cole2001

Find some sort of plastic company who makes the pontoon floats commercially and just build a wood frame around them. They will most likely be the sturdiest next to the concrete ones. With these docks I would make more of an F shape design with a wide slip, so that you can centre the boat to prevent damage. 

Edited by Cole2001

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minnmarker
17 hours ago, MattMatt said:

Most everyone on the lake got their docks in before the new rules. All fixed docks on pilings. The couple of floating docks I've seen on the lake bounce like crazy on the smallest wake which is why I'm thinking really heavy floating docks like the city has at their boat launch.

The water level only moves twice a year when they draw it down 5-7 feet for the winter. Otherwise it's the same height all summer.

The concrete ones are going to cost a lot and you may have to put bubblers under them all winter.  If the ice is still in I would stop by the city docks and see what they do with them in the winter.  If they drag them up the ramp (which I assume you cannot do) then they may not be an option.

If the lake level is consistent all Summer then you don't really need floating to adjust to different water levels.

Another thought on roll ins.  If they drop that lake 5 feet for the Winter then you could leave part of your dock system in the water and only have to pull the rest of it in part way.  Edit: But it should still be well out of the water after the water level goes down.

Edited by minnmarker

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Bill_AirJunky

The docks we use.  http://www.knightboatdocks.com/products/aluminum-docks/

Ours are 165' long, 19 slips, out on the main lake, vulnerable to the wind & waves. We pull them out in the winter due to the ice, which got to be about 13" thick this year. The bubblers at the marina on CdA didn't even begin to keep up with that. Luckily those were behind the island, protected from any moving ice. It crushed a neighbor's boat lift that was sitting up on the beach...... apparently not far enough away from the ice.

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Sailvi767

Does your lake have a lot of surfers? My dock maintenance is way up since surfing started growing. Surf waves can do a number on floating docks. They put some odd torsional stresses on docks.

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MattMatt

I haven't been excited about the idea of a floating dock, so thank you crew for the validation and suggestions.

Here are the designs from our engineers (who I'm starting to think have never actually seen a dock, let alone used one). Unfortunately this project is for our 20 unit condo complex so I'm not the only decision maker which is how we ended up with this silly design to begin with.

From the sketch it looks like the water is only 5-7 feet deep, but from swimming out there I know its at least 10-15

Dock%20design1.JPG?raw=1

Dock%20design2.JPG?raw=1

Edited by MattMatt

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Bill_AirJunky
5 hours ago, Sailvi767 said:

Does your lake have a lot of surfers? My dock maintenance is way up since surfing started growing. Surf waves can do a number on floating docks. They put some odd torsional stresses on docks.

Yep, same here. The two outside sections we have on our dock are built to take that abuse, but spendy. Sections closer to the shore, not so much, but less expensive.

So Matt, are you talking about doing this dock on Moses Lake? Or in the Sound?

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Cole2001
2 hours ago, MattMatt said:

I haven't been excited about the idea of a floating dock, so thank you crew for the validation and suggestions.

Here are the designs from our engineers (who I'm starting to think have never actually seen a dock, let alone used one). Unfortunately this project is for our 20 unit condo complex so I'm not the only decision maker which is how we ended up with this silly design to begin with.

From the sketch it looks like the water is only 5-7 feet deep, but from swimming out there I know its at least 10-15

Dock%20design1.JPG?raw=1

Dock%20design2.JPG?raw=1

Silly question. Do you need to use engineers? I feel like you would be better off just going to a local dock company and having them design it, they do it every day.

Also, why are you set on that design? 

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jrvs23

If you can put in concrete anchors why couldn't they be used as footings for a wood dock/pier?  Have a dock company put it in and take it out every year with a small barge and your condo association dues paying for it. This seams much more complicated than it needs to be. A common thing for associations to do with too many opinions and not enough sense.

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MattMatt
1 hour ago, Cole2001 said:

Silly question. Do you need to use engineers? I feel like you would be better off just going to a local dock company and having them design it, they do it every day.

Also, why are you set on that design? 

I'm not set on the design but I might be stuck as we already have a permit for it so I might not have a choice. The HOA has been working on this for years and I only bought my condo a few months ago after they had already spent a STUPID amount of money with an engineering firm. Part of the issue is that we are also doing a ton of shoreline repair which is a permitting nightmare.

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Cole2001
27 minutes ago, MattMatt said:

I'm not set on the design but I might be stuck as we already have a permit for it so I might not have a choice. The HOA has been working on this for years and I only bought my condo a few months ago after they had already spent a STUPID amount of money with an engineering firm. Part of the issue is that we are also doing a ton of shoreline repair which is a permitting nightmare.

Ah I see, I was thinking this was more of a private thing. I was starting to think you were crazy.

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