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How to Anchor a Boat Dock

Kevin Ann Reinhart

Anchoring systems for boat docks vary. Several factors must be considered before deciding on a docking system. The water depth and distance the dock must be from the shore to operate efficiently and safely are important. If the dock will be subject to frequent changes in water level or heavily stressed by high winds and heavy wave action, the anchoring system must be adjusted. Better anchoring leads to a longer lasting dock that needs less maintenance.

Anchoring a dock with wind and water level in mind.
  1. Install a cable and winch system with a swivel pivot adaptor for a dock that will be subject to extreme water level changes. A ramp or walkway from dock to shore holds the dock in place while the swivel pivot adapter allows the dock to move laterally or vertically. Side cables with winches allowing cable adjustment are strung from the dock's front corners and staked on shore.

  2. Install a cable and winch system with wheel jacks and a T stake where water levels rise and fall but the length of the ramp running to the shore must be restricted. The wheels allow the dock to be moved in and out when necessary while the T stakes at each wheel keep the dock stationary at other times.

  3. Install a solid length pole through a 4- to 8-foot aluminum sleeve in areas with heavy winds, high waves and seasonal water level fluctuations. Poles are sunk diagonally a few feet out from the back corners of the dock and fitted with self adjusting weights that move up and down with the sleeves fitted within the poles. This system creates multiple anchoring points to distribute the forces acting upon the dock.

  4. Install a stiff arm/outrigger system where the directional flow of water is moderate and the water is too deep to use the pole and sleeve system. This system anchors the dock a set distance from the shore and eliminates the need for cables because the water remains relatively calm all year.

  5. Install a stand-off system in areas where the dock must be moved during periods of high and low water levels. Dual arms with a cable and winch system lift the walkway/ramp and the stabilizing arm connected to the front right side of the dock when repositioning is required.