Design & DIY

How to stabilize a tippy floating dock

photo of a small floating dock on a lake with a ramp leading to it Photo by Shutterstock

Does your floating dock pivot like a teeter-totter when folks step off the boat? For maximum stability, a floating dock should be long, wide, and heavy, with a low centre of gravity and its flotation near the edges.

If your dock is at least 8′ wide—the minimum builders recommend—check the location of the floats. Can they be moved closer to the edges? If your design is essentially a deck perched on top of floats, it will have a high centre of gravity. Build a wood subframe below to house the floats and add weight. Now your dock has a lower centre of gravity—and more stability. 

Sometimes, you can improve performance by connecting dock sections in a T- or an L-shape. Sometimes that just creates a wobbly letter-shaped dock. Bottom line? Any floating dock that’s less than 6′ wide will probably never have a stable relationship with people. Maybe you should repurpose it as a ramp for a new dock that is long, wide, and heavy.

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