Many waterfront owners would like to have a dock, but are in a jurisdiction that requires a dock permit. Often these permits can be expensive, difficult to acquire, or both. However, in most locations, a waterfront property owner is allowed to pull a boat up on shore and leave it there indefinitely. so, one solution is to get a boat that works like a dock, or a dock that can be licensed like a boat. in order to qualify as a boat it must be an approved vessel according to the guidelines of the U.S. Coast Guard. in other words it must be a boat from a safety and licensing standpoint. in some jurisdictions it might be required that your vessel be certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
This technique will also work for lakes and waterfront properties that do not allow floating docks at all. by mooring a dock that is disguised as a boat and installing a gangway you now have in effect a dock even though a governing body would recognize your dock officially as a vessel.
One of the leading edge ways to construct a boat that can be used as a dock is by using what is called Rolling Barrel Technologies which is the use of 55 gallon polyethylene plastic drums as the flotation system. The reason Rolling Barrel Technology is so effective for a dock/boat set up is because it is light in weight so it is easily moved with something as little as a 10 horse power outboard motor. The other reason is that the 55 gallon drums are tremendously buoyant and will be as stable as any dock with similar dimensions. Typically these floating docks come in widths of 4 to 17 feet and have lengths from 8 to 32 feet. for the dock surface, any common deck material can be used.
Often docks use pilings to hold them in place. However, a permit may be required for the pilings. Instead of pilings, the end of the dock can be anchored in place with two anchors that cross underneath the dock. in this way the anchor lines are out of the way of boats pulling up to the dock. If there is some tidal movement, attaching the anchor with mostly chain instead of rope can minimize drifting.
There are two other benefits of using floating dock of this type.
1) The cost. Typically these rolling floating dock setups will be less expensive than a typical dock setup.
2) The portability. several commercial rolling floating dock models have highway rated wheel and axle systems that allows the dock to be connected to a standard trailer hitch on a car and towed out of the launch ramp on onto the highway. this works great for seasonal situations where the water freezes during the winter months.
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