A Pipe Dock refers to a dock which is on pipe legs. It is considerably more stable than a floating dock and are more cost effective. They have more flexibility when selecting design layouts and are usually easily expanded/added to. Pipe dock systems are usually light weight and designed to be removed for the winter. There are also tower designs that allow them to be cantilevered up in the winter. Since pipe docks are not submerged under water they have little impact on the environment. DockinaBox® manufactures different series of pipe docks each for specific water conditions and usage.

A pipe dock system is generally used 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 more than 6 inches when walking then a mud pad may be required. If the lake bottom is super soft or the water depth is over 8 feet, then a floating dock would be the best alternative.

Pipe docks are the right choice of dock where the water level variance is about 30 inches or less throughout the boating season.

Here are the most frequently asked questions by cottagers:

How long should I make my dock?

As a rule the dock should go out far enough so that in the fall when the water levels drop you still have a minimum depth of 3 feet at the end of the dock. You also want your dock to go far enough for your boat to safely park beside the dock or drive onto 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.

What do I do with my dock in the winter?

Really it all depends 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 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 (removing the decking) then moving the complete system out of the water and placing it in a safe area, away from where the ice can cause damage to the dock is a good idea. Another option would be to float the dock to a quiet bay.

Why are so many manufacturers moving away from wood decking?

Although wood decking has been a staple in docks for a long time the lower density and quality of new growth wood has led to the shift way from wood as a desirable decking choice. These new alternative decking solutions provide greater safety and generally have a longer life expectancy than wood product. They are lighter and easier to manage, more durable than wood and most of all require almost no maintenance.

What is the difference between Truss docks and Smooth Side Extrusion docks?

Truss docks are an older design of dock that has a good strength to weight ratio. In order to have an adequate structural torsional rigidity it does require a high frame height and excessive diagonal bracing. To hide the truss look, many manufacturers attach a clad wood or composite to the frame making it more attractive but also considerably heavier and therefore less manageable. Modern hollow or multi-chambered smooth sided extrusion docks are much lighter (manageable) and have a cosmetically attractive appearance while having an excellent torsional rigidity in some cases without the use of cross bracing. Although the truss design is less desirable now, it has been produced for a very long time and manufacturers of these docks continue production for existing customers who are looking for replacement sections. This why some manufacturers have multiple design styles of pipe docks to choose from.