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How do you install your own dock?

When purchasing a dock, a floating platform or a boat lift, many of you ask about installing it: "Can I install my dock myself?"


The answer is "yes, in most instances".

Although currently, a large proportion of modern floating structures can be installed simply and quickly by their owners with no particular experience, there are always exceptions. Let's take a look at the key points that make installation simple or complex:

  1. Which components make DIY possible?
  2. Docks, floating platforms and boat lifts
  3. Anchoring
  4. Accessories
  5. Replacement and spare parts
  6. Components requiring a professional
  7. Some advice
  8. Other available resources

Which components make DIY possible?

The ease with which a dock or floating structure can be installed or dismantled depends mainly on the components to be installed. We differentiate between the three following categories:

  1. Modular docks and boat lifts

These docks comprise lightweight cubes that are easy to handle, or larger and heavier sections that sometimes need several people to carry them. In both instances, installation is relatively simple because it is based on a building blocks game.

  1. Foundations and anchors

in the majority of cases, anchors are easy to install with no particular experience. In certain cases, and only involving permanent anchors such as stiff arms or HEB beams, a foundation or special techniques may be necessary. This may require professional support.

  1.  Fixed docks

Fixed wooden (or steel) docks are more complex to fit without the right equipment or expertise. Docks such as these will always need a professional fitter.

 

Modular docks, floating platforms and boat lifts?

Modular solutions, whether docks, floating platforms or boat lifts, are designed to be easy to install by a non-professional. Their modular design means it is equally easy to change their configuration, carry or repairs, or enlarge the floating structure.

Designed according a principle similar to that of building block games, they are no more difficult to put together than an IKEA® flat-pack. The modular design makes the dock particularly light, and hugely simplifies maintenance. As an example, a Sunny Dock double cube weighs only 11kg. Furthermore, installation instructions and the necessary tools are generally provided on delivery.

So, although modular structures are deemed to be light, their weight varies depending on the size selected. For example, a 2x3 m section of RotoDock weighs 200kg. Even with the structures, however, their modularity makes handling them easier. Once in the water, a structure of this weight can simply be moved manually or towed by a boat.

Anchoring?

The anchoring of a dock is a delicate question which depends both on the project, its position and its use.

  • Docks for "private usage" often have anchors that are easy to install. They can generally be fitted without calling in a professional.
  • "Technical" docks may require more complex anchoring, which you can install yourself. We should mention in particular installation on HEB beams, which may prove more complicated since installation requires professional tools and specialist techniques. We generally recommend bringing in specialists for these types of anchoring.

 

Accessories?

Accessories, like the docks, are equally easy to install as a DIY project. As an example, a swim ladder simply screws onto the floating cube and to the pins provided for this purpose. Installation of the majority of accessories requires no specific equipment, and fitting instructions are provided on delivery.

 

Replacement and spare parts?

The modular design of modern docks also makes them easy to maintain, and repair as necessary. It is very easy to replace any damaged components yourself.

Generally speaking, it is rare to have to bring the supplier in. Although certain repairs require specific tools, for example "on the spot repairs", such interventions are the exception. Modular docks are, in fact, exceptionally resistant.

Finally, let's emphasise that manufacturers generally do everything they can to ensure that the design of spare parts varies as little as possible over time. The majority of suppliers are thus able to guarantee stock and spare parts availability over several years, along with very long-term support.

 

Which components require a professional?

To complete the picture, let's also look at those structures that it would be difficult for you to install without professional expertise.

  • Wooden docks. NBC docks must be installed by a professional using the right equipment.
  • Complex anchoring. The anchoring of certain floating docks is too complex you to install it yourself. Plus, such anchoring often requires specialist tools.
  • Floating pools. Pools in a natural environment require submerged components to be installed. Therefore, unlike docks and other "simple" floating structures, floating pools must be installed by experienced fitters.

If you are looking for certain autonomy of installation, we recommend that you opt for a modular dock and, if necessary, bring in assistance when fitting complex anchoring. Take another look at our dock buying guide for more information.

Other advice

For further advice, please contact a reseller, or get in touch directly with the Dock Marine technical team. As experts, we will give you the best advice when it comes to installing your own dock. Our teams will do everything they can to support your installation.

 

Do you have more questions?

Do you have a dock or floating structure project? Do you have concerns or questions about installation, maintenance or transport without assistance? Contact us to discuss them.

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