December 1, 2005
Q: We’ve recently purchased a cottage on a lake in Pennsylvania,
but need a new docking system. The one we have is wooden, very heavy and
thus not easily removable. We have an 18-foot I/O ski boat that will be
docked at the dock most of the season. We plan to use the dock to swim
and fish from, as well. The waterway receives moderate boat traffic with
some reasonable sized wakes. What docking system do you recommend that
would be easily removable each year, stable, durable and safe? Any
advice would be appreciated.
Photo by ShoreStation, www.shorestation.com
– Gary Pollock; via e-mail
You might be well served by a dock with wheels, which would allow the
dock to easily be rolled in and out of the lake. But be aware that most
roll-in docks only work in specific conditions. It is best to have a
smooth, sloping shoreline that is not too steep or rocky. The lake
bottom needs to be fairly solid and not over 8 feet deep. If your
location meets this criteria, you would be a good candidate for a
If your location doesn’t meet this criteria,
consider a standard, stationary, sectional dock. In most applications,
it can be installed very quickly, with two people working
section-by-section. Complete layouts, with accessories, can be installed
in less than 30 minutes.
With any dock purchase, it is best
to consult a local dealer who is familiar with your lake’s specific
characteristics. Reputable dealers also typically receive training from
manufacturers such as ShoreStation (the company for which I work).
are some accessories you should be looking at, including boat hoists
(with push-button hydraulic lift) to provide safe, convenient storage
for your boat. For fishing, you’ll want some seating options such as a
bench or swivel chair and lights. For swimming you’ll need a ladder for
getting in and out of the water.
For safety’s sake, it
would be a good idea to plan your layout so the swimming area is well
away from the hoist or boat docking area. With only one boat, this could
be as simple as just designating one side of the dock for swimming and
the other side for boat storage. If you have young children, you might
want to consider an L- shaped layout that allows even greater protection
for the swimming area. If protection from boat traffic is not a
concern, you could consider a swim platform, which is basically a
free-standing dock section that can be put out in deeper water,
extending your swimming area out into the lake.