7 Dock Customization Ideas
You’ve just installed a beautiful new dock on your waterfront property — now it’s time to make it your own!
While it’s easy to find customization ideas for decks and patios, docks tend to be overlooked. But the truth is, docks have just as much potential for personalization. Let the pros at Decks & Docks Lumber Co. walk you through 7 customization ideas you can use to create your dream dock.
Installing railing makes your dock safer for kids and uncoordinated adults alike. You may also choose to install dock railing simply because you like how it looks.
Dock railing is available in:
- Wood Composite
- Stainless Steel
- Steel Cable
With so many materials to choose from, it’s easy to design your dock exactly how you want. Just keep in mind that many commercial docks are required to have guardrails of a certain height. These requirements don’t typically apply to residential docks. If that’s the case where you live, you can do as much or as little with your railing as you’d like!
If you plan on owning a boat, you’ll need to install dock cleats first. These devices, which can be made from metal, wood, or plastic, are used to tie your watercraft to the dock. The type of cleat you choose will depend on what you intend to use it for. A large fishing boat will require a strong cleat made from galvanized steel, while an aluminum cleat will usually get the job done for a small boat.
Most dock cleats are straight, but tying a line to a straight cleat can be tricky. That’s why many boaters prefer S-shaped cleats — it’s much easier to loop your lines around the curves.
Mooring cleats are a surprisingly customizable dock accessory. Not only do they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, but they also come in several unique styles, including:
- Solar: Solar-powered cleats have built-in lights that charge during the day and illuminate your dock at night, making for easier boarding and unboarding.
- Folding: If you’ve spent a lot of time around boats, you’ve probably stubbed your toe on a metal cleat at least once. As the name suggests, folding cleats can be folded down flat when not in use, greatly reducing the risk of tripping and toe-stubbing.
Once you have a power pedestal on your dock, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. Equipped with breakers, receptacles, and 360-lights, these convenient accessories provide light and power to your marina or private dock. Some even act as phone, Internet, and television connectors, turning your dock into a home away from home.
Power pedestals are so customizable that it can be difficult to know exactly what power capacity and which features you need. If you’re stuck, just ask the marine accessory experts at Decks & Docks — we’ll help you find the right pedestal to enhance the safety and comfort of your dock.
Another important safety-enhancing customization is dock lighting. You want enough light to see, but not so much that it keeps your neighbors awake at night!
To achieve that perfect ambiance, you’ll want to avoid tall, bright lights that shine down directly onto your dock. Instead, it’s best to line the edges of your dock with short piling lights, about 24-35 inches high.
Dock lights don’t just prevent accidental falls – they can also keep your boat from accidentally bumping into your dock. Putting a colorful underwater light at the end of your dock can help you steer your boat to the correct side at night.
Whenever you make major structural changes to your dock, you want to be sure that you’re staying up to code. But when you install new lighting, you also want to be considerate of those around you. Talk with your neighbors or marina manager about what you plan to do if the lights will affect them.
Fish Cleaning Stations
Anglers, rejoice! Fish cleaning stations are easy-to-install dock customization you can use to prep your catch and discard the fish waste right back into the water. Since you’ll be using it to gut and fillet, you’ll want to be sure that your fish cleaning station doesn’t have any cracks, crevices, or holes where bacteria can hide and grow.
Fish cleaning stations can either be portable or permanently welded to your dock. You can also add accessories to make the job easier, such as:
- Knife racks
- Cup holders
- Sinks & faucets
After you swim in any body of water, it’s a good idea to rinse off any bacteria, fungi, salt or slime that may be clinging to your skin. An easy way to do this is by installing an outdoor shower on your dock. They’re affordable, sleek, and don’t take up a lot of space – the perfect solution between dips in the lake or the ocean!
If you plan on using your dock for swimming, installing a ladder is a must. Even if you don’t swim, it’s still good to have one in the rare event someone falls off and needs to get back up to the dock easily. For even easier access, you could also choose to install steps that go down into the water.
Whether you install ladders or steps, you’ll want to make sure that they’re made from water-resistant materials. Metals and woods require frequent maintenance to prevent corrosion and rot, so it’s better to use marine-grade PVC or vinyl.
Find Accessories for Your Dock Customization at Decks & Docks
Whether you use your dock primarily for fishing, boating, or just relaxing with family and friends, there’s a dock customization to match your lifestyle.
When you’re ready to add some extra flair and functionality to your dock, stop by your local Decks & Docks Lumber Co. and browse our wide selection of accessories. Or, if you still aren’t sure where to start, simply give us a call — we’re more than happy to offer our advice!
- About the Author
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James Hertler has served professional builders and homeowners on the Jersey Shore since 2006. With decades of industry experience, his team provides deep product knowledge and specialized service. Professional deck builders and marine contractors will find that they understand the business and work hard to make every job run smoothly. Homeowners working independently or with a contractor will find him a great resource from planning to delivery. All of their customers will find that James goes the extra mile to help turn a construction project into a beautiful outdoor living space.