Back Button

How to Build a Fixed Wooden Boat Dock

Alex Zang

If you have waterfront property, you may have considered adding a dock. It can be expensive to hire contractors to build the dock for you, so one option is to gather the supplies and build it yourself.

Your dock may not rise very high out of the water.

A few different types of docks exist; floating docks, which bob up and down in the water; and fixed docks, which are attached to the shore and are more stable. Fixed docks are primarily used on lakes.

  1. Contact the city planning department and ask if any special permissions or forms are required before you commence building. A construction permit or area clearance may be required.

  2. Cut a section of 12-inch PVC pipe. It should be long enough that it sinks 3 feet beneath the bottom of the water and extends 1 foot above the water. You need one section of PVC pipe for each post you add to your dock.

  3. Figure out the frame of your fixed dock. Place footers at each corner, and additional footers for every six-foot section of dock. A 12-foot dock features five footers--four in the corner and one in the center.

  4. Push the PVC pipe into the ground until it is sealed off from water. Use a bucket to remove water from the PVC pipe.

  5. Put the 6-by-6-inch post into the middle of each PVC pipe. Square each post; the flat sides should run parallel with the flat sides of the post across from it.

  6. Mix concrete according to instructions, then pour it into the PVC pipes until they're full. Let the concrete mixture settle over night.

  7. Mark each post to choose the height of the dock. Connect a piece of string between the posts to level your dock.

  8. Cut off the extra sections of post using a reciprocating saw.

  9. Cut small 2-inch wide by 8-inch deep sections into each post for your frame boards to run in.

  10. Place frame boards (2-by-8-inches) into the notches in each post.

  11. Use a drill with a 1/2-inch drill bit to drill holes into the top of the framing boards and posts. Use steel bolts to secure the frame into place.

  12. Attach joist hangers to all the framing boards that run parallel to the shore.

  13. Put decking lumber on top of the framing boards, running perpendicular to them. Nail these boards into the frame. Your dock is now complete.

  14. Warning

    Only use battery-powered tools when working close to water.