Build a Wood Boat Dock in 5 Steps

Boat docks, whether built on a river bank or lake shore, can be an ideal place to moor a boat, a place for fishing, for sunbathing, or for throwing a swim party. To build a wood boat dock, just follow the 5 steps outlined below.

Step 1 - Determine Your Dock Size

You will need to determine your dock's length and width, along with the depth of the water in which you will build your dock. The length will depend on the distance out into the water you'll need the dock to extend, and the water's depth will tell you how long your pilings are to be cut. Finally, you'll want to know the size of the deck area you'll want for fishing, lounging, and for boarding boats that will be moored there.

Step 2 - Build Your Dock

Once you have determined your dock length and width, collect the lumber you'll need, then begin building your deck. Length of the pilings should be 2' plus the water's depth, plus the length of the piling that will be sunk into the lake bed. Material you'll need will include:

  • 4x4 pieces for deck surface, vertical posts, and for pilings you'll drive into the lake bed
  • 2x4 pieces for deck railing and deck base
  • 2x6 planks for deck surface

In constructing your dock, first build your boarding and lounging deck on land near the spot where your dock will rest in the water. Cut 2x6 planks of equal length for the deck. Then, with a speed drill and galvanized screws, fasten your planks to 4x4 cross pieces.

Step 3 - Drive Dock Pilings into the Lake Bed

Drive 4x4 pilings into the lake bed. These pilings will serve as a secure base to which you will attach your deck. If the lake bed material is hard or rocky, you may find it necessary to hire a contractor to drive these pilings.

Step 4 - Attach the Deck to the Vertical Pilings

Fasten your decks to the pilingss, using 3" galvanized wood screws and your power screwdriver. Then move the deck you've constructed into the water near your pilings and attach them to the pilings, using 3" galvanized screws. The deck, when attached to the wood pilings, will stabilize the pilings and keep them from shifting.

Step 5 - Attach the Deck Railing

Construct deck railings by first attaching vertical 36-inch 2x4 boards, onto your deck, using 3" galvanized screws. Leave an opening in the railing where you plan to enter a boat that will be moored at the dock. When your vertical 2x4 pieces are secured to the deck, attach horizontal 2x4 boards to your vertical pieces with 3" galvanized screws.

Now your deck and railing are finished and you can attach bumpers along the outside of the deck to keep moored boats from being damaged by striking the wood deck. For bumpers you can use old auto tires secured by rope to the deck's rail.