How to Select the Best Place to Locate Your Boat Dock

Floating boat docks are not stand alone structures, yet they are the only kind of boat dock that is practical for Grand Lake, where water levels change according to nature and the necessities of Grand Lake management.

This is important to think about, because they must be built in conformity with the nature of the shoreline – where the land meets the water.  No two sites are the same, so one of the first things to consider is how your dock should be designed to fit the characteristics of the shoreline.

If the shoreline is steep as it meets the water, then your dock may need a longer walkway with occasional steps or tiers to properly align it with the entrance to your dock. Obviously, it’s easier and less costly to site your boat dock on a shoreline with minimal incline that will accommodate most any kind of walkway.

Next you must evaluate your site. Is it on a windy point with a lot of wave action? Or is it tucked away in a quiet cove or bay? Is the shoreline mainly bedrock or do you have a sandy or mucky shoreline? These items make some difference, especially regarding the typical winds experienced on Grand Lake. Wind bracing is a general requirement for boat docks here.

A floating boat dock requires expertise in anchoring it offshore to prevent it from drifting along shore to another owner’s property.  Your dock designer and builder will be able to show you the width necessary on the shoreline for the two or more angling  braces that must be set on the shore to hold your boat dock in line and with the shore. These things concern the design, construction and expert placement of your boat dock, and are best left to an expert.
Probably the most important aspect you should consider is that your dock is designed and built to accommodate the various uses you and your family want for your dock. The most obvious thing is that you want a place to moor your boat. So, your boat’s size and its draft below the water line must be considered. Measurements might need to be made to assure the site is suitable for deep draft boats. And the height of your boat will dictate the height of eave of the boat dock’s roof and the headroom inside your  boat dock. If you prefer your boat to be lifted out of the water in your absence, your dock will need to be designed and built with space needed for a boat-lift.

Your needs and what you have in the way of waterfront property dictate the shape, size, and type of dock. If you want a place to swim, fish, launch a canoe or a kayak, the water depth can be important to you for this as well.  You may want an open deck area for sunbathing and soaking up the sun. Or maybe just to leisurely sit and watch the world go by. All these needs and wants and others yet to be considered will go into the planning and construction of a boat dock.
Other things to decide upon before the dock is designed and built are the kind of material for the roof – baked on enamel roofing will substantially reduce your long-term costs for maintenance while having a pleasing appearance as well.  Wood decking of waterproof treated wood, well-sealed with an epoxy stain or paint will likewise make a difference in the long-term maintenance of the deck as well as having a non-slip surface when it’s wet.  The estimated need for storage areas or closets never seems to be enough, so this should be built somewhat larger than is expected to be needed.

Obviously, finances also play a role, but as we will see, docks are usually modular in construction methods and devices, allowing you to add and rearrange dock sections over time. So rather than compromise your dreams with a substandard dock, complete your dream in stages as your finances permit.
Tips for Sighting And Planning a Boat Dock by Bill Morgan, Grand Lake Dock, LLC. Happy boating.


The Most Secure Way to Tie Up Your Boat No Matter How Big or What Kind It Is

Securing your boat to the dock whether by ropes or other rigging is usually fairly simple, but sometimes weather conditions such as waves, wind, currents, wakes and such can make it difficult on Grand Lake. Knowing how to secure your boat to the dock properly will save you a lot of grief.

Many boaters prefer a three-strand nylon line because it can stretch under a load, it doesn’t shrink, and it comes in several lengths and diameters that will fit your boat’s size, weight, and cleat horn height.

The length of your bow and stern lines should be about two-thirds the length of your boat. Spring lines used to keep your boat parallel to the dock are run aft from the bow to the dock – this is called an after spring – and forward from the stern to the dock – this is called the forward spring. Spring lines should be as long as the boat.

For example, you may have a 21’ boat. You should have 15’ white three-strand lines for the bow and the stern, and 20’ lines for the spring lines.

You may have a sailboat – let’s say a 30’ sailboat. To secure this, you would use blue double braid dock lines. This is the best size for available pre-made dock lines. The bow and stern lines would be 25’ long pre-made lines, probably trimmed back to 20’. If they’re trimmed back be sure to whip the ends with waxed whipping twine. The spring lines should be 35’ long trimmed back to 30’ with the ends whipped similarly to the bow and stem lines.
The same general rule that applies to anchor lines, also works well for dock lines. The rule of thumb is 1/8” diameter line for every 9’ of boat length. Larger lines will wear longer, but stretch less. Stretch is important for absorbing the shocks caused by waves and wakes of passing boats.

This chart indicates the size of line that’s been found best for various lengths of boats.
Boat Length                                                                                  Dock Line Diameter
Up to 27'







Even if your boat is shorter than 20’,  a 3/8” line is a convenient size to handle with the understanding that small lines will stretch more and wear out prematurely. But lines that are too large may not fit on your deck cleats, nor will it have sufficient stretch to absorb shock loads.

At home with your boat in your own slip, it’s best to customize your permanent lines. Then when you return home, there's no adjusting or fiddling with the lengths of the lines. You simply throw them over the cleats or bollards on your boat and you’re done.

Permanent dock lines – those lines permanently attached to the hardware of your slip --  must be protected from chafe, the enemy of all lines in constant use. Leather, rubber or fabric chafe gear is used where the line passes through the chocks, and possibly a chafe sleeve on the eye where it goes around the cleat on deck. At the dock, lines should be protected from chafe using eye splices and shackles.

Tips for Securing Your Boat
If you're docking your boat at a boating destination away from your home dock, following these tips can keep everything safe and secure.

Travel lines - When you set out with your boat, make sure you have travel lines with you in case you have to make an unplanned stop, require a tow, or need to replace any lines you've lost or left at other docks. Bring two bow lines, two stern lines and two spring lines and make sure they're longer than what you use at your home dock.

Travel or transient dock lines are generally purchased pre-made with an eye splice at one end and a whipped end on the other. The eye in the end is easily passed around a cleat or piling by someone on the dock and the other end is then adjusted on board. There are dozens of combinations of diameters and lengths.
Securing  your boat to a dock. The most effective and widely used knot for securing a boat to a dock, whether tie up to a piling, a ring, or a cleat, is a weather hitch, also known as a double half hitch. This knot (hitch) tightens under strain, it also allows for easy adjusting by sliding the hitch up or down the line to the tension or length you wish, and it will not work loose. A weather hitch (double half hitch) is very safe and easy to release quickly.
Never short tie - Lines used for docking need to be long enough to accommodate extremes, strong currents and high/low tide if applicable. There should be enough slack in the lines for prevent stress and breaking.

Fenders - Check fenders when docking to make sure they're secured to the boat.

Tips for Best Securing Your Boat to a Boat Dock by Bill Morgan, Grand Lake Dock, LLC. Happy boating.

Great guy that builds a great dock!  
No cheap construction here, these things are built stout.
I would recommend him to build your next dock.
—Butch Kennemer

GRDA Administrative Compliance Rules

Grand Lake Dock keeps our customers aware of Permit Compliance.
You may read or download this PDF containing GRDA Administrative Compliance Rules.

Download "GRDA-Lake-Rules-2013.pdf"

I contracted with Grand Lake Dock to rebuild my boat house. My boat house had been damaged by a tornado and was in very sad shape. The roof and sidewalls were damaged, and the building was completely out of square.  Grand Lake Dock fixed it up beyond my expectations. It now looks beautiful inside and out.

A couple things I really liked about Grand Lake dock. First, was their attention to detail.  Second, and more importantly, was getting it done right the first time. There were a lot of times Grand Lake Dock could've just patched and covered up, or said something was just good enough, but they didn't cut any corners, and made the boat house look wonderful.

I also used Grand Lake Dock to put in a remote-control system for my marine rail system. They installed a new brake motor and remote-control unit that I can operate from my boat.  It is very slick and it works perfectly.  Now, when done boating, I drive my boat on the trolley system, push a button on the remote control key fob, and the trolley system takes my boat out of the water and into my boat house, couldn't be any easier.
—Craig Johnson
Tulsa, OK

Grand Lake Dock will obtain all required permits for construction of your dock and assure all proper permits are in place for you upon our completion of your dock.

For our further information, we've also added this letter below provided by the GRDA organization.

Boat Dock Owners,

Perhaps you have seen the question in a Grand River Dam, Authority advertisement, or a sign at a boat show this past winter: What's Up with Your Dock?

 It is a simple question, but one that is intended to lead to a few more questions to make sure you have done everything you need to make sure your dock is legal and safe.

1)  Is your dock properly permitted?
2)  Do you have your dock sticker properly posted on the boat?
3)  Have you had it electrically inspected?

These are all important questions for dock owners around the shores of Grand and Hudson lakes, especially those who may be planning to build a new dock or sell a dock with lake property.

That is because you must have a properly permitted dock to help make the property transition process a smooth one.

GRDA wants to help make your experiences a good one for lake visitors and residents and what's why we ask  the question: What's Up with Your Dock?

If you need some assistance in getting that answer, contact Janet DelliSanti in GRDA's lake permitting offices at (918) 256-0852 or stop by the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley.

Stewardship of the natural resources under its control, as well as support for the recreational industry around the shores of Grand and Hudson lakes, are central to he GRDA mission.

Working the lake area dock owners is one way GRDA fulfills this important part of its mission.

Grand Lake Dock is glad to answer any questions you have about this information.