How Do I Build a Fishing Dock?

How Do I Build a Fishing Dock?
If there's a pond on your property that's stocked with fish, you've probably thought about building a dock. With a dock, you can tie up your boat away from shore and improve your access to the water. A fishing dock can be built with simple tools and regular lumber and it can be finished in less than a day.

If you live up North, wait until your pond freezes over and build your dock on the ice. When spring arrives and the ice melts, your dock will be right where you want it.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1/2-inch electric drill
  • 9/16-inch wood drill bit
  • 1/2-inch ratchet with 7/8-inch socket
  • 7/8-inch wrench
  • Hammer
  • Hand saw or chainsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • 36-inch-square piece of 1/2-inch plywood
  • 19 boards, 2 inch by 10 inch by 16 feet long
  • 36 boards, 1 inch by 6 inch by 16 feet long
  • 16 pieces of wood, 2 inch by 6 inch by 16 inches long
  • 6 styrofoam flotation devices, 20 inches wide by 10 inches thick by 8 feet long
  • 4 corner brackets (20 inches high and 16 inches long from the corner to each end)
  • 32 machine bolts (hex heads), 9/16 inch by 3 inch
  • 32 nuts, 9/16 inch
  • 32 washers, 5/8 inch
  • 4-inch galvanized spiral nails
  • 3-inch galvanized spiral nails
Step 1
Cut the 19 boards of lumber. Using the Things You'll Need list as a reference, lay out the lumber with your tape measure and carpenter's pencil, then cut it to size with a circular saw. Cut four of the 2- by 10-inch planks to exactly 16 feet. The remaining 15 planks should be shorter than the 16-foot ones by twice their thickness. To get this dimension, measure the thickness of one of these planks and double it, then subtract this amount from 16 feet. Cut the remaining planks to this size.
Step 2
Assemble the frame. Arrange the four planks that are 16 feet long so they're pointing at the water. The remaining shorter planks will run parallel to the shore. This allows you to insert the flotation devices perpendicular to the water so friction is minimized when you launch the completed dock.

Put your 36-inch-square plywood where the first corner will be and set a corner bracket on it. Line up the end of a 16-foot plank with the bracket and mark the bracket's screw holes onto your plank with a pencil. Use your 1/2-inch drill and 9/16-inch drill bit to make holes in the plank at your marks.

Fasten this end to the corner bracket by pushing 9/16-inch machine bolts through the bracket and plank and securing them on the opposite side with 5/8-inch washers followed by 9/16-inch nuts. Tighten these up with your 7/8-inch socket. Now line up an end of one of the shorter 2- by 20-inch planks with the free side of your corner bracket and attach it in the same way.

Repeat these steps with the three remaining corner brackets to create your frame (make sure the two planks that are 16 feet are opposite each other). Check the frame for squareness with your carpenter's square and move it until it's close enough. Now use scrap pieces from your cut down 2 by 10s as spacers, by laying them flat on both sides of each corner and on top of the bottom half of your frame.

Rest the two remaining 16-foot planks on top of these spacers and attach their ends to your corner brackets like you did on the bottom (put the top 16-foot planks on the same sides as the bottom ones). Attach the shorter planks to the corner brackets in the same way to complete your frame.
Step 3
Install the flotation devices and floor joists. Set the six flotation devices on the ground inside your frame. You'll need to put a set of them end to end on each side and in the middle. Shorten one flotation device from each set with your hand or chainsaw until all three sets fit inside your frame (make sure they're perpendicular to the water).

On the sides of your frame that are perpendicular to the water, put a pencil mark every 16 inches to lay out the position of your floor joists. Line up your 1- by 6-inch boards with these marks and use your hammer to nail them into place at each end with two nails measuring 4 inches. Now use your 2- by 6- by 16-inch pieces as retainers to hold the flotation devices in position. Do this by attaching them vertically to your floor joists that are resting on top of the flotation devices.

Use two of the 4-inch nails to nail each retainer in place putting four on one side, four on the other and eight in the middle. The retainers must extend below the top of your flotation devices to lock them in place.
Step 4
Install the decking. Use 3-inch nails to attach the remaining 1-inch by 6-inch by 16-foot boards to your floor joists. Your decking should be perpendicular to the water so it crosses the floor joists. Use two nails at each floor joist and lay the boards next to each other as close as you can get them. Ask for help to push the dock into the water, making sure not to lift it when you do.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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