On many lakes throughout the U.S. and Canada you will find docks which are installed in the Spring and removed in the Fall. Stationary docks that are supported on the bottom of the lake on poles generally come apart in sections that are fairly light and can be carried out by hand. Sometimes large plastic wheels are permanently attached to the bottom of the dock poles. Often the fixed dock is light enough and rigid enough that a 30′ long section can be rolled right out of the lake and stored on the beach for the winter.
Floating docks typically use Inflatable Floating Platform and therefore are either made entirely of polyethylene, or possess a wood, aluminum, or composite deck that sits on top of the plastic floats. Floating docks weigh considerably more per foot than fixed docks. This extra weight makes it more challenging to produce a long rigid structure which is light enough to be carried out by hand. Usually the longest floating dock sections are limited to about 10 feet. For very long docks, the ten foot sections are connected with flexible connectors. These docks are generally removed if you take the sections apart and hand carrying them from the water, one 10 foot section at any given time. For those who have a smooth beach, you might be able to drag the fully assembled dock up the beach with the ATV or SUV. Sometimes people will use PVC pipe as rollers underneath the dock so the dock does not have to drag on the sand.
You will find manufactures now making floating docks that may have a single rigid section that depends on 32 feet long. These docks are made of structural aluminum bolted together to form a 24″ tall truss running both the length and width of the dock. Polyethylene floats are caged within the truss system and a lot common dock materials can be used the deck. These truss type structures are light enough and powerful enough to enable wheels to be mounted beneath the dock. If the dock is designed to be rolled in the beach, polyethylene wheels can be mounted similarly to people utilized on stationary docks. When the shoreline is simply too steep or it is not useful to store the dock across the shore, a highway rated axle, wheels, and tires may be installed. The axle is galvanized and the bearings are often protected using a military technology that was created to maintain positive air pressure within the bearing cavity for just one year of Drop Stitch Fabric. A square or rectangular aluminum tube may be mounted under one end from the dock. This tube works as a receiver to get a 6′ long trailer tongue which will insert about 2′ and then pin in place. There is a trailer coupler on the extended end from the tongue that is made to connect to a trailer hitch having a standard 2″ ball.
The dock may be towed over the water to your standard boat launch ramp where the tongue is inserted into the receiver turning the dock in to a floating trailer. An easy duty truck or SUV backs down the launch ramp until the coupler may be floated over the trailer ball. The coupler is locked on as well as the truck pulls the dock from the launch ramp much like it had been a boat on a trailer. The dock can be towed down the highway two miles or 200 miles. Temporary trailer lights should be installed depending on the distance and terrain traveled.
This new “Rolling Floating Dock” technologies have dramatically reduced the irritation of installing and removing floating docks. Especially benefited are those waterfront sites which can be very steep and have little if any beach. Floating Docks can be found that are approximately 17′ wide but can be folded up within the launch ramp parking lot to only 8.5′ wide so no special highway permits gbpman needed. Some docks may also include a large second deck. Big docks that are easy to install and take away can make up for the beach that many lake front owners wish that they had.
Some manufacturers can even license the dock as a boat letting it be motored across the lake having an outboard and tiller handle. These docks become a safe, fun, and mobile platform for swimming and fishing. While technology is racing around us, it is nice to view that some of that technology is giving us safe places to relax on Inflatable Drop Stitch with this minds comfortable understanding that the work of closing up for that winter will likely be quick and simple.