Whether at the beginning of a day of boating or at the end one of the most convenient things at the boat ramp is being able to pull up to a dock to load or unload people and supplies. Although pulling the bow of the boat up to shore works, it is usually wet and muddy and requires lifting items up into the boat. With a dock, passengers can step from a clean surface down into the boat.
Traditionally boat docks have been built by driving pilings down into the bottom of the water and then building a solid wooden frame and decking. Recent advances in design now have many docks being built with aluminum frames that then have air-filled flotation chambers placed under the aluminum decking. This lightweight dock can be allowed to float such that it moves with the rising or sinking level of the water. This design presents a number of advantages over the traditional wooden dock.
- Durability - water is a natural enemy to wood and over time even pressure treated wood docks will begin to deteriorate under the constant exposure to water. Aluminum and PVC used for flotation chambers are much more tolerant of this exposure and are not susceptible to the rusting or wood rot that affect wooden or steel components. Aluminum also eliminates splintering which can make the wood decking a hazard to boater's feet.
- Ease of installation - Because of the light weight and floating characteristics, aluminum docks are much easier to install than wooden docks. Construction consists simply of connecting the aluminum pieces together and installing the flotation chambers. At this point the dock only needs to be connected to the shore to keep it from floating away. Gone are the need for pilings, concrete footers and heavy wooden framework.
- Portability - One big disadvantage of a wooden dock is that once the pilings are driven, that is where the dock is in its permanent place at its permanent height Because they are simply fastened on one end to the shore, aluminum docks are able to float up and down with rising or falling water to keep the best distance between the deck and the surface. If the current location of the dock proves to be inferior, it can simply be disconnected from the shore and either dismantled and moved or simply floated to the new location. Many aluminum docks even have wheels underneath, allowing them to be rolled when water levels dip excessively.
While the traditional wooden dock still looks good in pictures and brings back nostalgic memories, the advantages of aluminum continue to make it the better choice for docks. For more information, contact companies like TR Aluminum Designs.