Choosing Pilings and Anchors in Dock Construction

A dock is a structure that’s used for berthing watercrafts. Like any deck, it takes a beating over time from sun, rain, waves and foot traffic. So choosing the right material is important.

Dock Construction

Pilings in dock construction create a strong foundation for the structure by transfering the heavy load of the dock to the solid soil or rock below. They can be made from a variety of materials and come in different lengths. The type of piling you choose depends on water conditions, bottom conditions and contours, the dock’s size and intended use, as well as your budget. Checkout for more information.

Wood pilings are inexpensive, easy to install and rot-resistant. However, they require periodic replacement due to water pressure and bending from loads. Steel and concrete pilings are better able to withstand heavy loads without bending. They are also more resistant to corrosive chemicals found in salt water, making them the ideal choice for marine environments.

The water’s salinity can impact the lifespan of a piling. For example, freshwater is less corrosive than salt water and can shorten the lifespan of some types of pilings. In contrast, steel pilings are suitable for both fresh and salt water environments.

There are several ways to install dock pilings, but the most popular method is jetting. In this process, a high-pressure water pump blows a hole in the bottom of the lake or river to set the piling. The hole size depends on the structure, but a 4-6ft deep hole is generally enough for most docks. The hammering method involves forcing small and medium rocks or shells to the side to break through a layer of clay. This is a time-consuming method and can be difficult in muddy bottoms.

If you’re building a waterfront property, consider using the Ecopile for your dock foundation. This vinyl-fiberglass composite piling is stronger than traditional wood pilings and was designed for the rigors of marine contracting. In addition, it can be filled with concrete to add extra strength if needed. This may add a little to your total project costs, but it will save money in the long run by eliminating the need for costly repairs or replacements. The Ecopile is also more affordable than metal or concrete pilings and comes with a lifetime warranty.


In dock construction, the deck is one of the most important parts. It provides the base for many other elements of a dock, such as benches, stairs, ramps, and walkways. It also serves as a launching point for boats and kayaks. It is therefore important that the deck be made of a sturdy material that can withstand harsh conditions, such as wind and waves.

Dock decking materials come in a variety of options, including wood and composite. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the best material depends on a client’s needs and budget. For example, composite decking is less expensive than traditional pressure-treated pine, but it is more difficult to maintain. In addition, it is prone to moisture and insect damage.

Wood is an attractive choice for those who want a natural look, and it blends well with the surrounding environment. It is durable, but it must be treated regularly to protect against insects and the sun’s rays. If a client is looking for a low-maintenance option, they may want to consider a composite or aluminum deck.

A pier is a structure that extends into water, usually at right angles to the shoreline. It is a convenient location for mooring or berthing large sea or ocean-going vessels and container ships. It can also be used to load or unload cargo.

Piers are constructed using concrete, steel, or timber framing. They are commonly built in a rectangular shape to offer maximum berthing space.

Many waterfront areas have specific requirements for dock construction. A permit is required for building structures over the water, and it is important to file a plan before beginning construction. It is also important to check the regulations of the area before starting construction, as some areas are protected and require special planning.

The height of the dock is another important consideration. Ideally, the bottom of the beam and joists should be a few inches above the lake’s maximum water level. This ensures that the dock is safe for boat and kayak launches and that it can be easily reached from land.


If your dock is going to survive a windy or wavy day, it’s got to be anchored. But, there are several different ways to anchor a dock, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Pile anchors, which use concrete blocks, are the most common and provide excellent stability for a floating dock. They are also easy to relocate if necessary, making them an ideal solution for areas that change frequently in water level and windy conditions.

Another popular option for a floating dock is the cable-and-anchor system. This type of mooring relies on a length of thick galvanized chain that is connected to rebar or an eyebolt on the dock using a quick link and then shackled to a concrete anchor at the bottom of the lake bed or seafloor. The chain is then swung around the anchor to provide stability and resistance to lateral dock movement. Some dock builders choose to crisscross the chains through each corner of the dock and through the rebar or eyebolts, which can help make the system more durable. If you do this, be sure to leave some extra chain length to prevent the chains from becoming too short and creating stress.

For a more permanent structure, some homeowners and builders opt for pole and sleeve anchoring. These systems consist of rigid vertical sleeves attached to the dock that run long galvanized poles through them. The poles then bury themselves into the lake bed or seafloor, but can still be withdrawn with a winch and cable when the time comes to move the dock for the winter.

Other methods include a helical anchor, which screws into the lake bed or seafloor to provide greater holding power than traditional buried anchors. These are often used in rocky areas where other anchors are not viable, as they can be set at a lower depth than conventional anchors. This type of anchor is not recommended for tidal or reservoir areas, as it can disturb sensitive habitats.


When building a dock, it is important to consider the elevation. This is because it can help protect the dock from damage caused by fluctuating water levels and winter ice. The best way to ensure this is by constructing the structure a few inches above its maximum water line. You can determine this by checking runoff or going through records. Ideally, you should check with a professional before starting construction.

You also need to consider the height of the water at low tide and the depth of the substrate. If your dock will be constructed on intertidal flats, you should design it as a fixed pier rather than a float to avoid resting on and disturbing the sediments. These flats are gently sloping areas of muddy, silty, and fine sandy sediments, generally devoid of vegetation. In addition, they have varying amounts of salt in the water and are often used by marine plants.

A dock is a structure that provides berthing space for ships and boats. It is used for transporting cargo and carrying out repairs. It can be located at a river port or seaport, and may be built either on land or over the water. Different kinds of cargo are handled at each type of port, so the docks should be designed accordingly.

In general, a dock should be sheltered from strong winds and water currents. In addition, it should be well-positioned to facilitate the movement of vessels. To do this, the entrance channel needs to be adequately dredged. This can be a challenge for inland port docks, but it is much easier at seaports.

Moreover, a dock should be constructed in such a manner as to minimize its encroachment into public trust waters. This is because the submerged lands and waters below the mean high-water line belong to all citizens. In some cases, a dock may need to be repositioned or rebuilt. This work can be conducted under a permit-by-rule, but it must meet several requirements to ensure that floodwaters flow freely and to protect aquatic life.