Choosing the Best Dock For the Cabin

Expert tips for choosing the right deck for your waterfront.

By Brent Coleman & Ernest Lorensson, Cabin Living Magazine

Lakeside living is great, but most people agree that actually getting out onto the lake makes it better. Landscaping a lakefront cabin typically includes putting in a dock that will help you reach deeper water to allow for swimming, fishing, boating – or just enjoying sunlight playing on the waves.

Whether you need a dock for a new cabin that you just built or bought, or you need to replace your creaky old dock that has reached its expiration date, be sure to check out what the experts have to say before you start dock shopping.

Step #1a: Needs analysis

Okay, where to start? The first thing is to determine what you’re going to use your dock for, says Cindy Gray, VP of Sales and Marketing for FLOE International. Your intended use will dictate size, shape and style. “Do you want a large sundeck to accommodate a lot of people relaxing on the dock?” Gray says. “Or, if you’re only using the dock for boat access, you many only need a simple, straight dock.”

Then again, how many boats do you have? If you have multiple boats, you may want slips to make it easy to get in and out of your boats. And if you plan to tiedock9 your canoe, kayak or small fishing boat up to your dock, be sure the dock is longer than your boat, and wide enough to allow plenty of room to set down gear and for people to get in and out of the boat.

People with larger motor boats likely will need to shop for a larger, fixed dock, the size, cost and construction materials of which can vary greatly.

If your family of four is just going to swim and fish from your dock, you might go with a dock that sits low in the water and is 7½ feet from the shore to the end of the dock and as wide as you feel you need.

Step #1b: Rules & regs

Another top priority: Consider that there might be state or local regulations and restrictions that you will have to meet. Some private lakes, for example, only allow floating docks set on encapsulated foam drums or floats.

Dock shoppers should talk it up before buying, says John Krogman of Connect-a-Dock Inc. “The first place to start if you’re buying a cabin or putting in a dock is to ask a neighbor, ‘Hey, what do I have to do here?’ ” Krogman says. “Lots of times, Realtors will know.”

Next, look around your lake and see what other people’s docks look like. Krogman, of course, would hope you’d see floating docks. But, he says, “If you look around and don’t see any floating docks, there’s probably a reason,” such as big waves or widely fluctuating water levels.

Building a fixed dock or installing a floating one might require a permit. If you’re on a reservoir, you might need to check with two, maybe even three, regulating agencies. Keep in mind that your local municipality may dictate what size dock you can build. Flaunt those restrictions and you may end up facing a fine, and an order to remove the dock. You should also take care that your dock doesn’t block your neighbors’ ability to enjoy the waterfront, too.

Continue to Step 2 through 4 here!

Re-Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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