The Learning Centre

This area of our website is designed to provide you convenient access to a variety of resources that will help you with your dock purchase and life at the water!


The descriptions and explanations are skewed to relate to the marine dock industry and is our opinion only. Not necessarily to be used as the alternate ans

Here are a list of helpful links and resources related to Environmental and Federal Compliances


FAQ'S

Can I buy your frames separately and add my own decking?

No, we do not sell our frames without our DeckWave® decking. There are too many issues with putting all sorts of products that will not last or fit properly in our frames. A failure of a decking product that is not ours would  reflect negatively on our company. There is also the issue of safety and security of the boat tied to a substandard decking product.

Can I put my dock together myself?

Pipe Docks - Definitely, our docks only requires the use of 9/16'' wrenches and is very intuitive. A big savings can be found by doing the installation yourself. Because our frames don't weigh a lot, typically 2 adults can put together our pipe dock systems. We offer for every customer a full orientation.

Floating Docks- Because floating docks are generally bigger. Frame sizes up to 6x14 can usually be carried to the water’s edge by 2-3 average strength adults. Once at the water edge the floats are bolted on and the decking is slid into place. The section can then be pushed into the water and floated into position. The weight of each float may only be around 30 to 40 pounds and the weight of the heaviest decking panel is only 22 pounds.

Can you deliver and install my dock or lift?

Although we manufacture docks and boat lifts in Innisfil Ontario we do not offer installation by means of DockinaBox® employees or staff from this facility. We have have developed some trusting and long lasting relationships with a specialized group of installers that meet our standards of quality when installing our products. Most dock manufacturers do the same as well. We do not subcontract the work out or make any profit on your installation. Therefore our installation partners give the best price and service. It should be noted though that we do hold our install partners accountable and if there is ever a complaint it is dealt with immediately and thoroughly to ensure satisfaction.

Do I need to anchor my floating dock down?

For a floating dock the general guide is to anchor the end of the dock in a criss-cross fashion so when the dock tries to move to one side it will be forced to stay in its’ original position. The mounting method on the shore is also a form of anchoring the dock, using the structural rigidity of the frame to stop the end of the dock from moving. It is not recommended to use only shore mounts because in rough conditions it could cause damage to the frame, hinges, or both. (See also anchors and stiff arm section of glossary). The boat size is a factor of the load the dock may see. If a long deep boat is tied to the dock, then incredible side loads in wavy conditions may occur. In this case more anchoring may be needed. The installation of an ASA may also be advised.

Do I need to anchor my pipe dock down?

If a pipe dock is in rough waves, or when side loads are high you should anchor it down. Example a 24 foot boat tied to the dock in 5 feet of water anchoring the dock down is advised. The method of holding down a DockinaBox® pipe dock is by placing a heavy weight (about 245lbs) on a taught chain bolted underneath the dock. With our angled leg design and pipe penetrating into the lake bottom, this works very well. Weights do not work as well in a straight leg design as in some cases the weight will pull over to the centre towards the pivot point and in wave’s this further tipping over the dock.

How deep of water is needed for a floating dock?

Generally when the water is at a low time of year a minimum of 1 foot is sufficient. Sometimes when the water is too deep (over 15 feet or more) anchors going almost straight down to the bottom of the lake will not work so well. The anchoring is also achieved by hinging to the shore or by means of cables, stiff arms, or both.

How do I attach my dock to the shore?

If it is a pipe style dock, you could rest it on the shore of attach it using shore mounting brackets. It is always best to keep the mounting locations as flat as possible and avoid walking down on a steep angle to the dock, then walk up a ramp to get on a dock as this can create a tripping hazard. Avoiding steps are also a good idea.

If you have a floating dock resting the ramp on the shore would not be the best idea as the floating dock is now not secure. In almost all cases the ramp in a floating system is attached to the show with hinges. This serves two purposes, one to stop the dock from floating away and allows the ramp to butt up to the mounting point that allows a smooth transition. The second reason is the mounting point being solid allows the hinges to angle down so when the water level drops the ramp is always connected to the same point.

How do I calculate how much flotation I need for a floating dock?

This has always been an interesting question. Sometimes people ask how many floats are under the dock. The better question should be what is the buoyancy per square foot on the floating dock? A 6x14 foot dock could have the same buoyancy with 2, 4, or 6 floats. It is all a matter of volume. That being said a really tall float could have lots of volume, but it is better to have a wider float area than taller float area. For Example 12 inch high floats Vs floats that are 16 inches high. Note: when heavy wood frames are used more floatation will be required. Generally 30Lbs per square foot buoyancy is used in lighter residential floating docks and 40Lbs per square foot buoyancy is used in heavier commercial floating docks.

How high should I place my Pipe dock above the water?

This is a debatable issue. The safe answer is, high enough that the wave action will not knock over the dock. Or as a guide if on a bad day the waves are 4 feet from trough to peak then 24 inches plus a safety factor of an extra 6 inches should work in most cases (see vented decking or DeckWave®).

Access to a boat which would be tied to the dock should also be taken into consideration. With DockinaBox® vented DeckWave® decking and some rough water hold down kits the docks can service conditions where the peak of the wave actually flows through the decking.

How long should I make my dock?

The typical answer to this question is, as far as you need to go to get into deep enough water without obstructing navigation and having the neighbors complaining. As a rule the dock should go out far enough so that in the fall when the water levels drop you still have preferably about 3-4 feet minimum of water depth at the end of the dock. You also want your dock to go far enough for your boat safely park beside the dock or drive into a boat lift. If you're going to be diving off the end of your dock then about 8 feet of water depth or more would be recommended. When diving from a dock you always want to ensure the area underwater has nothing that could injure the persons diving. Typically diving off the dock is done more on floating docks due to deeper water conditions. It is also a good idea to contact your local Ministry and verify any docking requirements (see ministry contacts)

How long should the ramp to my dock be?

Ramp length is often misunderstood and not a subject properly addressed in the market. If there is an angle down to the dock then the length of the ramp becomes an important component of your dock purchase. Whether it is a floating or fixed dock system, if a 2 foot drop is present then a 10 foot ramp length is acceptable. If the drop approaches 3 to 4 feet then a 14 to 16 foot ramp may be needed. When the drop approaches 5 to 6 feet a 20 to 24 foot ramp may be needed. Some aluminum docks are able to span up to 24 foot, as aluminum is much stronger. Most wood docks are not able to span even 20 feet as they lack the strength in their material which creates limitations and excessive weight. This is why wood docks usually have a smaller ramp which is not ideal. For example a 5 foot drop with a 12 foot ramp would carry an angle of almost 45 degrees and would make it harder for you to climb the ramp if not impossible for some.

How much weight do I need to anchor my DockinaBox® pipe dock?

This is an interesting question as water is not compressible. For example, if the frame is weighted down with let’s say 500 pounds, what would happen if the dock is placed low to the water? The wave energy could blow the boards right out of the dock regardless of how well they are attached and if they do not blow out then the waves could flip over the dock. The frame could also bend from the weight. A vented style surface like DeckWave® will allow for a lot of energy to pass through with less of an impact or drama. Anchoring  the dock down is usually done through many different techniques and DockinaBox® uses all the required methods. It should be known that under water concrete will only have a net downward weight of .57%. I.E. a 150 pound weight under water is only 86 pounds. So the larger the weight used is more preferred. Therefore a 245 pound concrete weight is roughly 140 pounds under water. Our experience shows that this is optimal and our round shape can be easily rolled into the water (see rough water hold down).

What do I do with my dock for the winter?

What you do with your dock for the winter would depend on the type of dock you own. If it is a temporary style pipe dock it is recommended to be removed for the winter. If it is left in for the winter a few things can happen. The water in the tubes can crack the pipes when it freezes and expands. The Spring ice break up can shift or tear apart the dock. If a floating dock type is used and you’re not in an area where the ice shift happens, then the standard protocol is to remove your ramp section for the winter and loosen the chains. If the floating dock can be made light enough (I.E. Removable Decking) then removing the complete system and placing it in a safe area, away from where the ice can cause damage to the dock system is a good idea. Another option would be to float the dock to a quiet bay.

What is a Floating Dock?

This is referred to as any dock system which has some form of floating device underneath. They can range in size and layouts. Floating docks are used where the water variation is more than 30'' during the boat season. Floating Docks must be anchored or they will float away. In order for a floating dock to be enjoyable it must be stable. Stability is a combination of many factors such as length, width, height, low centre of gravity, weight, and stiff structurally rigid frame. We usually recommend a width of at least 6 feet and length of 14 feet at minimum. Extremely heavy docks that are made of wood and float on long polyethylene plastic or steel tubes, can also be stable, but do not give you ease of removal for the winter season. DockinaBox® ha designed their floating docks to be physically manageable. This is done through the removable decking feature. Because floating docks always stay at the same height above the water, attaching a ramp that can articulate (angled down to the floater) when the water drops is important. The length of the ramp (see ramp length) can become an important factor. If rough wave action is constant, then being on a floating dock may not be enjoyable. Also the forces of nature can take its toll even on a well-built system. The general protocol is to remove the ramp for the winter and loosen up the chains that anchor the dock.

 

What is a Pipe Dock?

This refers to a dock which is on pipe legs. It is considerably more stable than a floating dock and is preferred. The benefits are that they’re more cost effective and have more flexibility in selecting design layouts. Pipe dock systems are usually lighter and designed to be removed for the winter. DockinaBox® carries three different levels of pipe docks relative to their application. One of the downfalls of a pipe dock system is that it is generally limited to where the water is less than 8 feet deep and the lake bottom is fairly solid. 

If the bottom is soft and allows you to sink when walking more than 6 inches then a mud pad may be required. If the sinking is substantial or water depth is over 8 feet, then a floating dock would be the alternative. Proper care and application is required to determine which dock system is best. Pipe docks are used when the water variance is about 30” or less throughout the boating season.

What is a swell and why should I be concerned?

On smaller lakes this may not be an issue. A swell is somewhat like a tide. This can be caused by wind pushing in one direction for a long period of time. This happens on bigger lakes such as the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay. Care must be taken when in these areas as when the water rises and a storm comes in towards your area, the water level can rise in some cases more than one foot and if waves are present on top of the swell this is where you should be concerned. Therefore make sure you place the dock well above the water. It might take a season or two to dial this in.

What is an anchor shock absorber?

ASA. This is a special elastic type of EPDM rubber designed for holding the dock snug. It consists of a fixed group of chain links that when the elastic material is pulled it can create over a hundred pounds of tension in a movement that is limited to approximately one foot. This feature helps to hold the floating dock in a constant state of tension centered between the weights and also quiet down the hinged connection. It is a good idea to adjust the tension of the chain length for when there is a drop in water levels and this should be re-tensioned as the water level drops throughout the season.

What is screw in decking and clip on decking?

Screw in decking can help on light duty products to help give it more stiffness;  but the docks are now excessively heavy and less manageable. These dock systems are sometimes shorter (eight feet long) to help to offset the weight. Even the lightest of these docks are still around 130 pounds a section or more. The clip in style of decking is a general term for decking that uses a small clip or small bolt with a washer to attach the decking to the frame. This is not a very reliable system as the screws and bolts used to hold the decking in place tend to come loose, break or fall into the lake. The hardware sticking out above the decking can also become a safety hazard with people stubbing their toes or tripping and hurting themselves. This is also tedious to remove having to crawl around on your knees. This is why you hear of people having their decking boards blown out in wavy conditions. This method usually requires individuals to squeeze their way underneath the dock and crawl from side to side on each panel to remove them. After time the clips and lock washers can fall into the lake and aren’t always replaced. A boat can exert a tremendous amount of force on the panels and the cleats. Relying on clips and small bolts with washers to hold the decking panel in place can be risky for your boat. All dock systems that drop the panels in from the top can only rely on this method to hold their decking down. Clips and screws can also become a visual eyesore with regards to the esthetics of your dock.

What is slide in decking?

Slide in decking is the more secure method, as the only way to remove the decking is to slide it out of the track from one end or the other. You can also slide decking panels out by disconnecting the points where two dock sections meet. Cleats can be attached to all of our decking products and cannot pull out of the panel. (See DeckWave® decking). At DockinaBox® we have never had a cleat pull a decking panel out of the frame, giving you extra piece of mind. Also sliding out a panel is far more manageable than getting up off your knees lifting a 50 pound panel made of wood.

It is always advised that you ask the dock company what the warranty is on their decking and what if any actions void the warranty. Is it still covered under warranty when holes are drilled through the surface for things such as attaching accessories, or even if a cleat pulls through the panel, or pulls the panel out completely? We are happy to report in almost ten years our issues on warranty are almost 0% out of hundreds of thousands of square feet sold.

What is the lead time to pick up my order?

Because we manufacture all our docks in Innisfil Ontario Canada we would be able to fill most orders the same day. We stock all sizes in our 3 series of docks at our Innisfil facility. It’s not uncommon for us at the beginning of the season to have well over a 1000 docks ready to go . In May of 2017 our total facilities square footage will be over 21,000 square feet.

NOTE: Although we have components ready to go, we do have to schedule customer picks up usually a week in advance during the busiest parts of the season (May and June).

What type of vehicle should I bring to pick up my order?

As our products stack and pack quite well, a typical section of 50 feet of dock or even a 4,500 pound lift would fit in or on top of a small 5 foot wide utility trailer that is at least 8 to 10 feet long. Usually the small parts go in the trailer or vehicle and the frames or lift goes on top sticking out the front. On a lift the longest parts are bundled and can be up to 12 feet long. It is best to talk to us first about your vehicle requirements. Sometimes a small pickup truck is too small as the box size can be smaller than 6 feet. We also recommend you bring an assortment of well-made heavy duty ratchet straps and tie downs. Due to insurance requirements, we are unable to help tie or secure your order.  Depending on the size of your order, a second person is recommended to assist with placing items inside your vehicle. We also do not recommend putting docks and lifts on roof racks. Twine or string is not a recommended method of tying your order down.

Why don't you sell wood decking?

Due to over forestation and the banning of certain pressure treated lumber, in combination with the lack of long lasting wood available in today’s market, we developed DeckWave® decking so it slides into our frame from the ends. Generally in the industry 2 sizes of wood are used (2x6 & 5/4x6) neither of these fit well in our frames as the 2” is too large and 5/4” has a very loose fit. The other issue is that wood has a tendency to cup, warp, split, twist, and crack at locations where accessories (cleats, whips) are attached compromising the safety of both your dock and boat. The other issue is that when the boards are slid in during the Spring they will sometimes not want to come out in the Fall due to the swelling of the wood. Although the price of wood seems to be an attractive option for some people, the long term cost and maintenance proves to be more costly over the life span compared to composite decking products. The weight of Deckwave® decking is usually less than half the weight of wood panels. As of late wood is now being considered an undesirable decking choice.

Why use steel hinges instead of aluminum?

Steel hinges are considerably stronger and take much longer to wear out. DockinaBox® steel hinges are made in house and we have a very tight clearance. The hinges used mostly in the industry tend to have larger holes that create a sloppy connection. Aluminum for a hinge just won’t last and are not proven especially when thin material is used.

Why would I criss-cross my chains on my floating dock?

Criss-crossing the chains stops the dock from moving to the left or right and is standard protocol for chain anchoring methods on floating docks. As the water level drops re-tensioning the chains will be required. Usually the chains work best if put at a 45 degree angle or more, but not straight up and down from the lake bottom to the floating dock.