At Smith Mountain Lake dock construction is almost always underway somewhere. Whether you are building a brand new dock for your lake home, or repairing and improving your existing one, this article brings some fresh ideas to the table. Lori Wolak at The Lake Channel presents safer, more economical and helpful material/construction possibilities.
If you are thinking about building a new dock or adding to an existing one, make sure you consider the using some of the newer technologies available. Two things worth serious consideration are the new plastic drive-on docks, as well as plastic decking materials.
Drive-on docks are gaining popularity very quickly. They are very easy to use, just drive on to load, and roll off to launch. No more struggling to get the vessel centered on a lift and then having to crank it up. No more worries about the water level changing so much that you can’t get the lift down to the water. Drive up dry docks are also simple to install. They can be attached to almost any kind of existing dock or bulkheading.
The typical drive-on dock design includes adjustable polyurethane rollers for easy drive on and roll off, as well as drainage holes so your boat stays dry when docked. The cupped form safely cradles the hull of the craft.
Drive on docks also provide easy accessibility. They allow you to walk around the boat or PWC, unlike the standard lifts. This makes it easy to put on and take off the the cover, or service a boat or a personal watercraft.
No more placing harnesses and cranking. No more scrubbing hulls or fouled engines. Easy drive-on lifts can be used to replace traditional lifts, davits or trailers for outboard boats, stern drives, jet boats and inboard ski boats of all shapes and sizes.
Drive-on docks are modular, portable and changeable. You can change the configuration as your needs change. Because they are modular, you can just change the pieces that need to change at any time. They work in deep water or shallow water, salt water or fresh water, and can be used even in areas that experience tides or waves. Durability and low maintenance make this an easy choice for a new lift.
For standing docks, new plastic decking materials are now offered. Plastic will not rot, split, crack, splinter or need to be replaced like wood. Plastic will never need to be painted, stained, waterproofed or sanded. A quick wash off with a hose or pressure washer is all that is ever needed to clean plastic decking. You can achieve a cleaner look to a dock, since most plastic decking has no exposed nail heads.
If wood or metal get scratched, the material underneath can rust or rot more quickly. The color in plastic decking goes all the way through, and is typically protected by UV stabilizers. This means you don’t have to worry about fading or exposing anything underneath to the elements. Color also influences the temperature of your dock. Light colors reflect heat so they stay cooler. This important to bare feet, and it also it protects the dock. Plastic is easy to walk on barefoot in the summer because it doesn’t heat up as much as wood products. The wood grain patterns are also slip-resistant which is very important for a dock. By using plastic, you can ensure no splinters in your feet or stepping on loosened nails.
Plastic decking is also an environmentally sound choice, as it is recycled from post-consumer waste (such as milk jugs) which helps to divert solid waste from landfills. Also, by using plastic lumber you are conserving wood resources. Over the life of the plastic you will have saved several trees. Also, plastic is not toxic to the environment like CCA treated lumber, which can leach arsenic into the environment or directly onto skin.
Thanks to Lori Wolak and the friendly folks at The Lake Channel for this helpful article.