When we were at my parents’ house for Christmas, my brothers and Jed worked together to build a DIY boat dock for the backyard. My parents live on a small lake, and for my entire life we’ve launched the canoes and fishing boats off the muddy shore or a sad little log. Those days are over, my friends. The boys teamed up after my brother Matt came up with the idea, and made it happen. Matt was kind enough to write out the plan so you can make your own DIY boat dock if you’re so inclined. Thanks Matt!
Uncle Matt’s DIY Boat Dock Guide
- 5 @ 2x6x8 pressure treated cedar (Home Depot)
- 16 @ 2x6x4 PTR (pressure treated cedar) – The pressure treated wood is very important for outdoor construction projects due to its weather resistance and high density strength to ensure you can enjoy your dock for many years.
- 4 @ 6′ galvanized fence posts with a 3” diameter
- 8 @ galvanized flat brace brackets (These attach the post to the deck itself.)
- 4 @ 5 gallon buckets
- 4 @ 80lb bags of Quickrete commercial cement
- 32 @ 3&1/2” galvanized steel screws (1/2” head)
- 32 @ 3&1/2” galvanized nails to secure the deck boards to the frame
- 6 @ 3&1/2” galvanized Philips head screws with washer
- Cordless 18 volt screw driver
- 1/8” drill bit
- 7/16” head
- Circular saw (to make adjustments if needed)
- Pick ax (for digging through rock areas)
- 1/2” wrench (tightens posts to the brackets)
STEP 1 – Preparation of concrete bases for the frame.
- You will need to get each 5 gallon bucket filled approximately 1/4 full with water, slowly add the cement mix as you stir the mix together. Continue the process until the bucket is approximately 3/4 full, and at this point you will put the post dead centered in the bucket and allow 24 hrs to dry.
- As the foundation for the dock drys you will need to measure out 7″ lengths (this will be a blue print for where you will need to dig the holes for the buckets. Remember you will need to give at least 6 inches of play on each side of the hole to account for error and movement.
- You then will need to do the same for the width of the dock but this time it must be exactly 4′. Leave room when you dig for movement and adjustments. Lastly the depth should almost cover the bucket completely to ensure that dock is rock solid.
- Once the concrete is set and solid take them to the holes but do not bury them yet; ensure that the spacing apart is correct.
Step 2 – Framing
- Line up two of the 2x6x8 boards and two 2x6x4 boards, use the use two 3&1/2” screws to build the frame by drilling a pilot hole then driving the screws in. This will create a basic rectangle.
- Next grab another 2x6x8 and align it down the middle of the frame and use the same process to secure it to the frame.
Step 3 – Assembly
- You will need 3 people to complete this part, two holding the frame from each end and one person securing the frame to the brackets on the post.
- Each bracket should be about a foot from each respective end of the frame.
- Drill in the self tapping 3&1/2” in screws into the four holes on the bracket into the wood frame. *You will start on one side then go to the side diagonal to you and secure it. Continue the process until all 8 brackets are secured.
- Use the level to ensure that all sides are at 0 degree tilt. Once you have adjusted to make sure it is a flat surface then you will use the 1/2” wrench to tighten down the poles to the brackets. *Make them very tight.
Final Step – Completion
- Once the frame is secured to the poles, you will need to fill in the space around each bucket to make them rock solid.
- After you do this get all of the 2x6x4 boards and place them on top of the frame, but leave about 1/10” distance between each board. This will help keep the dock free from standing water and mud.
- Nail down each board, one nail per side of will secure them easily. Finally test you dock out for strength or loose connections and adjust if needed.
- Stand on you new deck legs should width apart, hands on your hip, and eyes staring confidently into blue yonder with confidence and pride. Then just enjoy your new dock/deck with your family for many years to come.
What DIY project is next on your to do list?
How are the posts in the water supported? Are they just resting on the lake bed in 5 gal buckets filled with concrete? Thanks for taking the time to read this.