Dock anchoring systems are the most important, yet overlooked, aspect of docks and boat moorings. Wind, wake, ice and debris can all quickly dismantle and destroy an ordinary dock. All our anchoring is designed with regards to Planning and Design Guidelines for Small Craft Harbors. The dock anchoring system must be chosen with several things in mind; local regulations, water depth and fluctuation, wave action, current and traffic as well as the local environment and weather.
Cable Dock Anchoring Systems
Cables and winches are one of the most versatile floating dock anchoring systems available. Deep water normally requires cable anchoring, as does large water level fluctuations. This dock anchoring system is typically the most cost efficient, however it requires the most user interaction. The more the water level changes, the more cable adjustments are needed to maintain the integrity of the dock anchoring system. This system can accommodate the integration of shock absorbing systems, greatly increasing the strength of the system by reducing peak loads as well as decreasing the amount of adjustment required.
- Dock to shore – the most typical dock anchoring system due to local regulations, ease of installation, low cost and normally not a boat traffic hazard.
- Dock to underwater anchor – considered an addition to the normal dock to shore setup. Underwater anchors can substantially increase the stability and durability of a dock subjected to high wakes.
Pole anchoring is a moderately heavy dock anchoring system with low maintenance. Winches allow you to pull up the poles from the bottom and move and adjust the dock. Our docks utilize a 5″ 6061-T6 aluminum pipe guide and 4″ x 21′ hot dip galvanized heavy steel poles. A 3″ x 21′ pole can be added for deep water applications on smaller docks. Poles are sometimes added to cable dock anchoring systems when underwater anchors are not feasible or allowed.
Stiff Arm Dock Anchoring Systems
Stiff arms are economical but only useful when water fluctuations are minimal. They also require the dock system to be located close to shore, with the attachments all parallel. Static cables are crossed to achieve lateral strength and keep the stiff arms in tension.
Pilings are one of the most expensive anchoring options, but also capable of being one of the strongest. Piles offer extremely low maintenance but are not movable like other dock anchoring systems. They are able to withstand the heaviest loads and typically have the smallest footprint. Deep water and certain ground conditions with high water fluctuation may make piles impractical. Our docks are secured to piles with 9.5″ boxes lined with 1″ thick UHMWPE or heavy duty hoop guides with Stoltz Polyurethane Super Rollers.
- Wooden piles are prone to rotting, splitting and typically have the shortest usable life span of any piling materials. Wooden piles are the least expensive available.
- Steel piles are vastly stronger, but more expensive and will begin corrosion (in some form) immediately. Pile uplift is less of a concern due to the low friction surface.
- Concrete can be a good option, but lateral forces, freeze/thaw cycles and salt water can really cause problems with cracking, leading to the corrosion of the internal steel reinforcements and system failure.
- Composite piles are the strongest of any material listed here, but typically the most expensive too. Composite will not rot, rust or crumble and is also one of the few materials that does not leach preservatives into the environment. Also it has a low friction surface, helping to prevent pile uplift by floating ice. Check out this FAQ.