Building a Floating Dock


You are about to hear how George built our floating dock out of scrap – in his words.


As you have probably seen by now we are masters at recycling and repurposing.

No longer in need of the old cabin – it did not take long for the cannibalizing to begin.

Wanting a dock, we quickly focused on the 8′ x 16′ treated deck on the cabin. Home Depot sells dock floats online of various dimensions for rated support.  We researched online to determine the weight of dimensional lumber and recommended amount of buoyancy – we chose overkill – after all, you don’t want any of the wood in contact with the water when you are on the dock with the maximum number of friends.

The added weight of my morning coffee shouldn’t cause my feet to get wet.

We pulled the deck off the old cabin and flipped the top boards, to give it a new look. We ordered our floats, hinges, and cleats.  *See items below.

Next the ramp. The vision was a Tee shaped arrangement with a ramp hinging at the shoreline and the center of the dock to move up and down with the water level.  The challenge was to make a self-supporting ramp 12′ long that was lightweight.

As a person that accumulates “stuff”…  I just happened to have a 2 section aluminum extension ladder which was missing at least one rung on each section.

I am not sure how rungs disappear from a ladder, but I bet it is exciting when it happens.

I laid both sections side by side with a treated deck board up the outside of each and treated boards between lengthways down the middle to bring it to 40 1/2 inches.

A large hole was drilled in line with the ladder rungs about every other rung.  A piece of galvanized pipe pushed all the way through rigidly attaches both ladder halves side by side with the treated wood up the middle.

Then drilling a smaller hole through the outside boards allows running a galvanized 3/8″ all thread rod through the pipe – bolting it with nuts and washers, locks the whole frame together solidly and leaves three wooden ribs to attach the deck boards with screws. The finished ramp is 42 inches wide with minimal weight.

Now the challenge –

The shoreline is a good distance away – extremely steep, surrounded by trees with no flat space to access it but one, the spillway on the far side. To get to it we must travel up our long winding drive, onto a gravel road for about 1/8 mile then down a state highway.

Fortunately, none of these carry much traffic. We attached the wheels from a two wheeled dolly to the back corners of the dock,  then hitched the wheeled dock to the tractor and set off.

Without mishap on road or highway – into our property – through the pasture and finally over to the spillway.  Rolling the dock toward the water – the floats were bolted, floated out further and another set of floats added until finally all the floats were attached and floating and the dock was launched.

Next, to get it in place.

With a rope tied to a cleat, we walked it along the shoreline back to the house side of the water and tied it off to a tree.

The only items we purchased were the floats, hinges, cleats and a tilt up swim ladder.

This dock has already seen several “first catch” moments and has served as a great place for some evening refreshments.

It is serving its purpose in its new life admirably.


From Home Depot online







From Amazon





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  1. Molly

    Well done! We will never forget Ozzie’s first catch and some skinny dipping from two wild boys one October!!! And in some more peaceful reflecting moments, great convo and vino!


      Maddy – We have a great photo of you on our wall enjoying that dock! That is such a great picture of you two!


      Mary – we had such a great visit with you guys. You are welcome back anytime! Steve still has to catch “Grandpa”!

  2. Mary Kay

    Sitting on that dock, feeding the fish, getting doggie kisses as I do, is one of my favorite things to do when I visit!

    This is so timely too, as building a dock for our pond is on this summer’s to do list. Great detail George 👍

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