The island of Martha’s Vineyard in the state of Massachusetts is known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, clear waters, and historic lighthouses. One common sight on this island is people using their boat docks to dock their boats. From simple wooden floating docks for smaller boats to larger steel fixed docks with ramps, these people have developed a myriad of boat docks for a variety of purposes. Unfortunately, not every dock that someone had built has been up to standards, and some have even been dangerous.
Before you decide to build a boat dock in your backyard or on your property, it is important to keep the following things in mind:
1. Consider the location of your dock in relation to where you will be docking your boat
You have to think about how people will access the dock. If you live on a property with deep water, like most homes around the Vineyard, it is best to build a fixed steel dock with ramps and pilings below it that go into the ground.
This type of dock can withstand the strong currents, and people will be able to access it easily using the ramp. If you live on a property with shallower water and sandbars, floating docks might be more effective. This type of dock is much simpler and cheaper to build; however, they are not as strong as fixed steel docks and require much more maintenance.
2. Decide on a material for the dock, such as wood or steel
A fixed steel dock is easier to build and stands up better to strong currents, but they are very expensive compared to wooden docks. Wooden docks do not last as long and require more maintenance than metal docks, but they are much cheaper and easier to build.
3. Determine what type of ramp you would prefer – floating or fixed
Floating ramps are a good option for shallow water with sandbars and in locations where a fixed dock cannot be easily accessed. However, if the tide is going in or out when people are using the ramp, they might not properly attach to the boat and fall into the water. You also need to make sure that the ramp is strong enough and will be able to hold up a boat’s weight.
4. If you are building a floating dock, decide whether it should have pilings below it that go into the ground
Floating docks do not need pilings because they sit on top of the water. If you are building a floating dock, it will be important to have strong pilings that go from the base of the dock into the ground so they can withstand pressure from waves and tides.
5. If you are building an elevated deck with steps leading down to the water, consider how close they should be when coming off of your property line
If your dock is elevated, you will definitely need steps that lead to the water. It is important to consider where they should be coming off of your property. If they are too close to the property line, people might not be able to access them without trespassing because there won’t be enough room for them to place their boats in the water.
6. Don’t forget boat dock bumpers
If you are building a wooden dock, it is important to have strong boat dock bumpers at both ends of the dock so people can safely tie their boat up without getting too close to the edge of the dock. Bumpers are also very cheap compared to other types of dock materials, so it is a good idea to have them even if you are using another material.
Dock building companies should be able to provide you with all the latest information about boat docks and their different parts. Make sure that they know how deep or shallow your water is, where your homeland meets the shoreline, how much wind will be blowing by where your dock is, and any other important information they need to build you a safe dock.