Drive On Docks: How to Build One

Whether your dock isn’t your style or is a total wreck, there are a couple of resources out there that can help you replace it. This includes people, building plans, and parts that will help you build and design your own dock.

Docks vary from extremely simple structures that are affordable and cheap to extremely complicated ones that cost a lot of money. 

How you decide to upgrade varies on your skills, your budget, and the type of shoreline you have. 

A drive-on dock enables jet skis and small power boats to be easily pulled out of the water for dry storage. In general, they are floating.

When to Use a Drive-on Dock?

These types of docks are typically used by people who have small motorboats or a jet ski. Dry storage helps extend the lifespan of the boat and keep the hull clean.

A couple of boat clubs and marinas provide their members with these types of facilities. 

Most of these drive-on docks are made of watertight, buoyant polystyrene blocks. There are both modular and unitary systems. Modular typically provides a couple of configurations. 

A couple of docks have U-shaped or V-shaped grooves for the keels of the motorboat. You can also slant several models through ballasting to facilitate removing the craft from the water. 

Most drive on docks are multipurpose. However, there are particular models that are made for a particular form of craft. 

Unfortunately, drive-on docks can’t handle vessels that are more than 6 meters long. A couple of these docks have rollers to help the recovery and launch of the vessel. 

When building a drive on dock, here are some tips to consider:

Consider the Winter Season


If you live in a region with a cold climate, you need to have a winter plan for your new dock. This is particularly true if the lake will freeze. 

A lot of kits are made to be removed during the fall season and installed again during the spring season. Though removal is your best bet, another option you can consider is to leave it and bubble it. 

For those who don’t know, the propeller of your boat draws warmer water up from the bottom of the lake and pushes it back toward the dock.

This leads to turbulence that prevents the lake from freezing and damaging your dock. 

There are a couple of problems you need to consider. Your boat might fail. This will allow the water to freeze and move the dock as the ice settles and heaves. 

If you cannot regularly visit the camp to examine things, or you cannot hire another person to do it for you, your best option is to remove the dock during winter. 

Pick the Right Decking Material


If you are constructing the dock from scratch instead of following a DIY venture, it’s important to pick the right material. It does not matter what style and type of dock you’re making. The materials can make or break your dock.

Keep in mind that the upper surface of the dock will take a beating as time passes by. Foot traffic, sand, wind, UV rays, and other outdoor elements will all gradually contribute to the wear and tear of your dock. 

Because of this, it is important to pick the most durable material you can find in the market. 

If you want to have a wooden dock, professionals recommend you use cedar boards. For those who don’t know, cedar boards have natural oils that are resistant to rotting. 

However, you can simply skip wood as well. Nowadays, most professionals prefer composite decking. This decking is made of a combination of plastic and wood fibers. 

They will not rot. They are extremely wear-resistant. Furthermore, they will not require finishing. 

Be Honest with Your Skills

If you’re planning to build a drive-on dock, you need to consider your skills and your situation. 

For instance, a DIY kit is an excellent and affordable choice if you’ve got the skills, time, and right shoreline. 

On the other hand, if you don’t know anything about building a structure or can’t handle a major task, your best bet is to hire a professional dock builder for help. 

Hiring a professional can be expensive. You need to consider the upfront costs. However, there are a lot of benefits you can get as well. 

Here are some of its benefits:

  • You can save a lot of time that you can use for other things.
  • Your dock will last for a lot of years.
  • The job can be done as soon as possible.

Selecting the Right Drive-on Dock

Oftentimes, it can be a bit challenging to pick the right drive-on dock for your property. In general, drive-on docks are composed of floating cubes, a bow support element, several central support elements, and one entry support element. 

The dock has to fit the boat’s length. While they’re cheap, the price can differ depending on their comfort and complexity.

Here are several key factors to consider:

  • Strictly speaking, boat lifts aren’t drive-on docks. A boat lift is a mechanical system that lifts the boat out of the water.
  • Despite being important, the roller on the entry support isn’t common on drive-on docks. However, an entry support roller drastically lowers friction and makes leaving the water easier. Because of this, you need to have a roller as much as possible. 

Keep in mind that a couple of brands provide drive-on docks with one or more rollers on all support elements. When planning to buy from these brands, make sure you bring hand sanitizers


Building a drive-on dock is quite easy. This is especially true if you have the tools and skills required. 


On the other hand, it might be best to hire a professional if you want your dock project to be successful.

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