6 Classic Boat Dock Designs for Lakes

Posted by Alumi-Span Docks on 10/1/2019
Do you own lakefront property?

Are you considering buying property before next summer?

Maybe you’re considering a multi-purpose dock with built-in seating, or a simple dock just for boating and swimming. Whatever you’re hoping for, it’s important for you to know how to build a boat dock so you can enjoy lakefront living dock for years to come!

The type of lake or river on which you live or vacation will ultimately determine the type of dock you build, as will the local ordinances. You may also consider what you’re using the dock for – mooring, swimming, fishing, entertaining, or all of the above.

  1. Piling docks – This dock is a permanent structure made of wood, concrete, or steel pilings, which are driven into the ground for support. A steel framework is then constructed for the dock’s walkway, and then covered in wood, concrete, or composite decking.
  2. Pipe docks – Unlike piling docks, pipe dock’s features are less permanent, and are generally made with aluminum. Pipes resting on the lake’s bottom can be built in several shapes – straight, L-shaped, T-shaped, and U-shaped. Check out our dock designer here to see more!
  3. Floating docks – This type of dock is just like the name suggests – a dock that floats as either a modular floating piece, or a framework sitting atop floating barrels. This is a great DIY project for savvy boaters.
  4. Lift up docks – Also called articulating docks, these are like one-sided drawbridges. During the winter, this type of dock can be lifted out of the water. This is a great feature if your local ordinance prohibits keeping your dock in the water during the off season.
  5. Double-Decker docks – This type of dock has a slip on the bottom level, while the upper decks can be used for entertaining, slides, and even jump platforms (for deep lakes). These are permanent fixtures, and take up a lot of space.
  6. Crib docks – This type of dock is a permanent structure and is fairly expensive. The large, crate-like cribs are placed in the water and filled with rocks. They’re used as a foundation to lay the rest of the dock on top.

Learning How to Build a Boat Dock? Don’t Forget…


… Laws and Ordinances
As with any building project, you might need a permit. Make sure to do your research and find out what is required by the city, county, and state where you live.

… Lake Bottom Sedimentation
Before you choose a dock style, consider the bottom of the water! Is it flat and sandy? Rocky? Research which type of dock will suit the lake bottom type best.

… Shorelines
What does the shoreline look like where you live? Grassy? A steep descent? Rocky? This will also influence the type of dock you construct.

… Water Levels and Currents
Is there a lot of boat traffic and strong currents where you live? Do water levels fluctuate often? Consider the water level of your lake before you build.

Need More Help?


Our experts can help you figure out which type of dock and which type of decking is perfect for your use. We have a dock design tool to help you see your dock before you build. We can even provide you with all the accessories you’ll need to build and enjoy your dock for years.

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