Anchoring Floating Docks With Pipes: How To Protect The Docks During Winter

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Anchoring Floating Docks With Pipes: How To Protect The Docks During Winter

8 September 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


When the sea calls, Americans answer. In 2010, almost 10 million people were considering boat ownership, and over 7 percent of all Americans above the age of 16 already owned a boat. If you live by a body of water, you can easily keep your boat docked there. Floating docks have some unique advantages over fixed docks, as they automatically adjust to high and low water conditions. Floating docks are anchored by down-pipes. Talk with a marine construction contractor to better determine which type of dock will be best for your needs.

Here's how to maintain the pipes during the winter to keep your dock in pristine condition.

How Floating Docks are Anchored in Place

Floating docks are able to automatically adjust to water conditions because they are not permanently held in place by anything. Instead, they are anchored down by pipes that are dropped to bottom of the body of water that it is situated in. The pipes are not driven in. Instead, they bury themselves slightly in the sand or the muck at the bottom through their own weight.

The only thing that is permanently welded onto the docks is the pipe sleeve, which holds the down-pipe in place. The dimensions of the pipe sleeve and the pipe will be dependent on the size of the dock that needs to be anchored down. Once the floating docks are anchored down, you won't have to worry about it at all until winter comes along.

If you want to move the dock, simply remove the pipes. You can easily remove the pipes with your bare hands. At times, the pipes may have sunk a little too much into the sand or the muck. If this is the case, you may need to purchase a strong jack from an automotive supply store.

How Winter Affects Floating Docks

One of the main disadvantages of floating docks is that they run into slight obstacles during winter. During winter, the pipes anchoring the floating dock needs to be removed before the body of water where your floating dock is situated on freezes over. If the water freezes over, ice shifts will cause the pipes to bend out of shape. This can cause irreparable damage to the entire floating dock, as the pipes may end up splitting the wood or damaging other parts of the dock.

How to Protect Floating Docks During Winter

To prevent the floating docks from becoming completely wrecked, you have two options. You can either find a protected area, like a sheltered bay or a side of the lake that is unaffected by prevailing winds, to park the floating dock or you will have to take the dock out of the water.  

If you can find a sheltered place, tie a rope to one of the tie down rings on the floating dock, and fasten it onto the shore. Make sure to check up on the water conditions and the dock conditions throughout the winter to make sure that it is not becoming damaged or at risk of becoming damaged. If no such place can be found, tie a rope from the bow of the boat to the dock, and tow it to a safe place.

Constructing a floating dock for your boat is easy. It doesn't take a lot of time or any expensive equipment or materials. However, it does take effort to maintain a dock throughout the years and to keep it in relatively good condition. During warmer seasons, you really won't have to do much. You only have to worry about your floating dock when the temperature starts to drop. Once the ice shifts the pipes out of place, there is nothing you can do. The dock will no longer be usable or repairable.