3 Considerations for New Marine Contractors When Building a Floating Dock

Building docks and jetties can be a very fruitful and profitable business for marine contractors living near a boating community. The industry is relatively to enter, even for contractors on a budget, since building a floating dock is not a capital-intensive venture. However, you need to familiarise yourself with legislation and guidelines for building docks. Furthermore, an understanding of the local environment and water levels might separate you from other contractors when seeking new clients. This article reviews some considerations when building a floating dock on a waterfront.

Quality and Type of Material -- When choosing the 'floating' material for your pier, consider durability and the effect of elements such as sunlight and, of course, water. Also, the material should be resistant to damage by insects and other animals. Therefore, variants of PVC are the most common float material used on waterfronts. Other builders may prefer galvanised steel frames fitted with encasement. Ideally, any material you use should have encasement or coatings that prevent damage within a certain period of time.

Further, the float unit should have the adequate buoyancy to prevent sinking when excess weight is exerted on the platform. There are several calculations available that can aid in determining the buoyancy of the material used.

Anchoring -- As the water rises and falls, the pier will follow accordingly, and thus, builders must consider such factors when designing their anchoring mechanism. Tides and winds also tend to push and pull the floating dock. Therefore, try providing some space between the pier and the shore so as not to destroy the dock or adjacent property when harsh environmental conditions occur in the area. A  rule of thumb is that the anchors should be at least twice the weight of the floating material. You have the option of custom-making the anchors or buying pre-cast types. The number of anchors needed is determined by the size of the dock. You can also include ramps or steel cables to support longer docks.

Connectors -- A floating dock made of wood will expand and contract, causing nails and screws to loosen. Therefore, experts recommend that bolts be used instead because after fastening they are unlikely to loosen. Dock suppliers provide connectors and other hardware for reinforcing the floating dock. You can also use fasteners made explicitly for docks, which are stronger compared to more general types for all-purpose use. Backing plates and screws are vital when connecting two sections of the pier or anchoring the dock to the shore.