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Choosing the Proper Frame for a Low Maintenance Floating Dock in the Great Lakes Region

When choosing a floating dock for your home or marina why not take the proper precautions up front to make it maintenance free? There is a common misconception that floating docks will not live in the great lakes region due to the ice and harsh weather conditions. This is incorrect on many levels because there are a few companies that still take the time and energy to build a quality long lasting dock that you can enjoy all year around without extra costs and maintenance associated with most dock manufacturers.


It is always smart to consult a local builder due to their experience in the region with land layouts, how the wind and water move, and how the ice shifts. Also you will want to take service in to consideration, if something were to happen during this time you would want it fixed in a timely and cost efficient manner. If your dock builder is hours or days away this makes it more difficult for you to get repairs and service you need to avoid any further damage to your luxury investment.


Make sure it looks structurally sound enough to withstand rough waves brought on by high winds. Also think about the fact it will have to deal with some Ice heaves that can leave the dock bent to an un-repairable condition. Using anything less than 2”x 3” American made hot dipped galvanized steel for all parts of dock including bracing will leave you open to the possibility of bending and breaking. Try to stay away from small rod bracing and lower grade foreign steel. While these type of docks work well in other parts of the country they are not acceptable for year round Great Lakes installation unless you have 100% protection from elements or plan on paying to remove and put back in every year.


Also when discussing the integrity of a dock, the less sections you have to connect the stronger it will be. When tying 10’ and 20’ sections together you will have a weak spot that can be susceptible to weather damage. If your builder has the ability to deliver an all one piece dock whether it be 30’40’,50’ or even 60’ your dock will have a better chance to deflect waves and ice as it will not have any sections that can bend or break.


You do not buy a dock to work on it, you buy a dock to enjoy it and create memories with family and friends, keep your boat safe and enjoy the water. So when you do decide to make that investment in your dock, try to make it the last one you will ever have to buy. Also try to make it as maintenance free as possible so you can spend your time enjoying your dock and not working on it and paying for surprise issues that can come up when trying to save a few bucks on a lower grade dock.