Understanding the Different Options for Boat Docks: Which Ones are Right for You

Posted by Alumi-Span Docks on 8/30/2023
Understanding the Different Options for Boat Docks: Which Ones are Right for You
Have you been waiting for the right time to build your boat dock?

Unsure what dock option is best for you?

As the summer heat starts to wind down, we’re moving into great weather for dock building! With all the different types of boat docks, how do you know which one is right for you? Take a look at our quick guide to dock options!

Before You Choose, Consider…

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.

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

Laws & Ordinances. Some lakes have regulations on maximum dock length or rules about taking the docks out in winter.  Make sure to do your research and find out what is required by the lake, county, and state where you live.

Time for Maintenance. How much time do you have to perform yearly maintenance on your dock?  Are you able to spend time staining, etc. or do you need a dock that is maintenance free?

Options for Boat Docks

Shoreline: There are many ways to start your boat dock from shore.  Aluminum end caps, sea wall brackets, ramp brackets, and extra leg sets are all different ways to begin your dock.  One of these options can meet almost any shoreline need.

Water Levels and Currents:  Water levels will determine the height of upright poles you need.  If the water level fluctuates, having a little extra pole for adjustment is a good idea.  Strong currents or wave action may mean you need to secure your dock with a few augers.  

Lake Bottom Conditions: There are many different options to deal with the variety of lake bottom conditions.  Docks on lakes with solid sandy bottoms often are able to use all bottom plates.  In contrast, mucky situations can use a variety of options such as large bottom plates, boards, or even a combination of plates and augers.

Laws and Ordinances: The length of your dock may be limited by laws or ordinances on your particular lake or for the state.  In addition, the amount of lake frontage you span with party platforms, etc. can be limited based on property lines.  Staying within the legal parameters when creating your boat dock design can eliminate a lot of future problems.

Time for Maintenance: There are many different decking material options.  If you have time to keep up on maintenance, there are a couple of wood options, treated pine and pre-stained cedar.  If you want to spend less time maintaining and more time enjoying your boat dock, maintenance free options such as extruded vinyl or anodized aluminum are great choices. 

Learn How to Build a Michigan Boat Dock!

Alumi-Span Docks offers both videos and installation guides to help you learn how to build a boat dock in Michigan. You can also buy all the dock parts you need straight from our website. Have questions? Call us at (855) 523-2444 or submit a contact form here.