How to Build a Dock

Assembling a boat dock requires moderate carpentry skills, handiness and the right tools. Plans are available online and for sale at hardware stores. Though building a boat dock is within reach, consider building it with assistance for the best results.


  • 2×6 or 2×8 inch pressure treated lumber
  • 4×4 inch wooden or metal posts with ready made brackets
  • Eye bolts
  • Screws
  • Galvanised Nails
  • Rubber bumper


  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Paper and pen
  • Tape measure

Preliminary considerations

  1. Work out the required size of the dock. You will need to have good knowledge about the dock’s intended surrounding area.
  2. Decide whether you want a floating or free standing dock. There is a slight difference in the two (they’re generally constructed in almost the same way).
  3. The length of your landing area will depend on the depth of water.
  4. The boat dock must be placed at a specific distance from the land. You will need to know that distance.

Designing the dock

  1. Make a drawing of the dock plan it may also be obtained from hardware stores or the internet.
  2. Docks usually have a long section that extends out from land and a larger area for lounging.
  3. Basic dock designs have 4 feet wide and 12-16 feet long section that comes off land.
  4. The larger section is a 12 feet square for lounging.
  5. Gather all tools and materials needed before starting the project. Double check to ensure you have everything you’ll need so you won’t have to stop in the midst of assembly to obtain an object.

Building the dock

  1. For the 4 feet wide by 12 feet long section, lay three 12 feet long 2×6 boards.
  2. Cut the boards 4 feet long and screw them into both ends of the three long boards.
  3. Ensure boards are spaced evenly by attaching long boards on both ends of the 4 feet wide board.
  4. Lay the third board in the middle.
  5. Screw floor boards on top of the frame you’ve just constructed keeping the long boards perpendicular to the long bottom boards.
  6. Repeat procedures 1-5 for the lounge section.
  7. Space framing boards 16 inches apart. These should form a set of parallel boards in a grid where the floor boards will be placed in a perpendicular manner.
  8. To hold up a free standing dock, drive 4×4 inch wooden or metal posts into the soil beneath the water at the corners of the dock.
  9. Cover the edges of the dock with rubber bumper material to protect the boat from being scratched against it.
  10. Construct a railing if your dock plan has one.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are unsure about designing and building your own boat dock, consult a professional or buy plans from a home building store. If you are going to buy a plan, be sure to have the expertise to build it.
  • Follow manufacturer’s and building instructions carefully. Your safety and the integrity of your boat will depend on the precise execution of instructions.
  • Get assistance when building a boat dock. Once the pieces are attached they can be very difficult to move on your own.