Choosing the right floating docks

A floating dock is a structure built on buoyancy chambers, allowing boats to moor so that they can be reached on foot. Floating docks can be used on their own (for example, along a riverbank) or they can be assembled to form a complete port facility for the development of marinas. They can be fitted with mooring accessories, such as cleats, or as terminals for distributing water or electricity. In regions subject to tidal range, a floating dock is essential in order to maintain a constant height for embarking and disembarking. They can also be used as work areas in ports, marinas and shipyards.

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  • How to choose the best floating dock

    To choose the best floating dock for your needs, there are a number of key criteria to consider. Your choice of floating dock will depend not only on the intended use and applications but also on the desired modularity. You will need to think about what materials you should use as well as the dimensions of the dock.

    Key criteria:

    • The intended use and applications
    • The desired modularity
    • The materials used
    • The dimensions
  • How to choose a floating dock according to its use?

    The applications for floating docks vary, for example mooring a boat, sailboat, jet-ski or rowboat. They can also be used as a work area for shipyards, ports or marinas.


    A floating dock intended for mooring must be equipped with mooring points suitable for strong traction. The floating dock itself will be designed to allow mooring to a quay or bank. Its surface will be relatively small in order to optimize the available space.


    In the context of professional use as a work area, the floating dock must offer a large surface area and be robust. Buoyancy will be of great importance because the loads to be supported can be significant. Likewise, this type of use can lead to strong traction, so the mooring equipment must be sufficiently sized.

    HSB Marine mooring dock

    OTTO jet-ski dock

  • Why choose a modular floating dock?


    A modular floating dock is made up of independent elements that can be combined as needed. Most often, these are plastic buoyancy modules with built-in fasteners. It is possible to modify the shape and size of the surface of the floating pontoon obtained. In the case of a temporary installation, this also allows much easier transport and storage. And in the case of a more durable installation, like a marina, the modularity makes it possible to adapt to various situations: you can increase or reduce the dock surface according to the size of the boats to be accommodated or the number of people who need to use the dock, etc. Another advantage to modular docks is that they are much simpler to maintain, which limits downtime


    There are however some disadvantages to modular floating docks: the more you enlarge the surface of a modular floating dock, the more you increase its instability because the rigidity of the whole is less than in the case of a floating dock in one piece. The ability to withstand traction is also limited.


    • Adaptability
    • Simplified transport, storage and maintenance



    • Less stability
    • Low tensile strength
  • How to choose the materials of a floating dock ?

    PONTECH concrete dock

    A distinction must be made between the materials constituting the buoyancy reserves and the surface materials. To ensure buoyancy, boxes filled with air or foam are used. Most often, they are made of metal (galvanized steel or aluminum), concrete or plastic (PET).



    • Advantages: very stable and durable, dimensionally stable, non-flammable, does not rust
    • Disadvantages: weight and size make it more difficult to move and maintain


    • Advantages: stable, durable, non-flammable
    • Disadvantages: oxidation, deformation, regular maintenance required


    • Advantages: lightness, adaptability, minimum maintenance.
    • Disadvantages: lower stability and tensile strength.


    For the surface coating, mainly metal, plastic and wood are used. Metal is a resistant material, but can be slippery. Plastic allows for many shapes but is less sturdy and durable. Wood is very aesthetic but it requires regular and tedious maintenance.

  • Why choose a floating dock for dry mooring?

    MARINEFLOOR drive-on dock

    A floating dock for dry mooring (“drive-on dock”) is designed to support the weight of a small craft while keeping it out of the water. It is particularly suitable for jet skis and small boats. It keeps them dry, which limits attacks from seawater and promotes their longevity. The shape is suitable, with a gentle slope down to the water and a V-rail shape in the center, often fitted with wheels or rollers. This makes it easy for the watercraft to slide onto the floating dock when you want to park, and to slide back off when you want to use it. In the context of jet ski rental, for example, the use of such a floating dock saves considerable time.

    Made of plastic, the coating of this type of floating dock is designed not to damage the bottom of the hull.

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1 comment
  • Luke Smith says:

    It’s great that you mentioned how a floating dock is essential in order to maintain a constant height for embarking and disembarking. We just moved to a lakeside property and I think it would be nice if we have a dock too. With that in mind, we need to call a floating dock builder.

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