How to Build a Wood Boat Dock

Myra Smith

The construction of a boat dock is very similar to the construction of a deck you would build at your home, with the addition of some specialized hardware. The dock being built in this article will be using 55-gallon plastic (food grade) barrels for flotation. The dock will measure 8 feet wide by 16 feet long.

inside corner brackets
  1. Locate your building materials as close as possible to where the dock will be floated, or plan to trailer to the launch site. Most pontoon boat trailers will work, if one is available to you. The finished dock will be heavy.

  2. Deck screws
  3. Start the layout of the dock by laying two pieces of the 2-by-8-by-16 approximately 8 feet apart. Cut one of the other 16-foot pieces in half to form the ends of your dock. Attach this fame together using the inside corner brackets to have a box-type frame. Square this frame and then attach the other two 16-foot pieces evenly inside your box frame to form cross members between your frame pieces. This procedure is the same as placing floor joist in a deck. Secure with joist hangers. Turn the frame over. Measure from corner to corner of your frame to be sure of it being square. Adjust the frame until measurements read exactly the same.

  4. Cut and attach the deck boards (the floor of your dock) to the frame with deck screws. Check with the square often. Repeat until you have the flooring surface of your decking covered. Drive three screws into each end of the decking and three screws into each cross member (underneath) this is the same principal as attaching deck boards to floor joist if you were building a deck. Turn the dock over.

  5. Using one of your 55-gallon barrels for measurement, place cross braces evenly spaced, forming a "pocket" for each barrel, using corner brackets. Attach the barrels to the bottom of your dock with either metal or nylon bands. Cross the bands over the barrels forming an "X". Attach these bands with galvanized screws. Make sure the bungs in the barrels are tight.

  6. Launch the dock into the water and float it to its location to be anchored. Tie the dock off to the shore using steel cables. Install any dock edging, bumpers and boat cleats after the dock is in the water.

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