What would a cottage be like without our beloved dock? The sun and breeze always seem to greet us at the dock. We love to cast a fishing line for ‘Big Bob’ the bass, whose illusive nature and the sanctity of the protected waters surrounding the dock perpetuate the folklore of his immortality. We
catch the sunrise with a morning coffee or the sunset with our favourite juice. The kids run, jump and scream endlessly until their lips are ultramarine. We painstakingly labour over the supplies scattered across the dock, just before we head out on a great adventure or anticipated activity. And let’s not forget Uncle Jim’s classic “HIT IT!” yell, as he springs upward from the dock with the precision of a jet fighter pilot, only to be wrenched mid-air by the accelerating boat and landing as if this is what he was born for. We either respond with cheering or the infamous holler, “Are you ok?”. Needless to say, we love our docks and the endless memories of time spent on and around them are warmly etched in our minds season after season. Is it any wonder that we are fascinated by docks and the decision to build or replace a dock is taken so seriously? That’s why we thought that the dock conversation was worth exploring further and so, we went to Murray Taylor of Taylor Docks Incorporated to answer some of your questions:
What types of docks are there and how much do they cost?
There are four main kinds of docks and each one can serve varying types of shoreline conditions and the particular needs of our individual clients, explains Mr. Murray Taylor, founder and owner of Taylor Docks Incorporated in Port Severn. These include permanent pile docks, pole docks, floating docks and tower docks. Some of the dock products require the annual maintenance of fall removal and spring install, some are disconnected from the shoreline and left to freeze in for the winter and permanent docks are simply left alone. It would be important to consult with us by phone or at your property for a site visit to determine the right product for your shoreline and budget at no charge. We manufacture and distribute these products at our Port Severn location and they vary in price starting from about $2000 for a very basic small dock and they go up from there to extremely elaborate docks, installations and boathouse construction.”
How do I know what kind of dock would be right for my property?
Floating docks serve a large variety of shorelines including soft bottoms, fluctuating water levels and deep water. They are not recommended for shorelines with extremely high wave action. They come in various sizes, float construction, and depending on the area may be left in for the winter as long as there is no large ice movement at ‘ice out’ time. We do not recommend the use of open styrofoam billets for floatation. Muskrats and other water creatures love them, making it pretty common to come up in the spring and see your shoreline covered in foam nuggets from the rodents making nests in the styrofoam. Our float systems can be either high density polyethylene or steel tube type floats for residential or commercial applications. For each type of floating dock we can recommend, design and supply ramps to transition from the shoreline to the dock, and anchor the ends with cement anchors on cross chains to keep the dock stable and from moving around. Before making a recommendation to our clients, we consider your specific shoreline, how you wish to use your dock, and your budget. Knowing these factors, we can recommend which docking system will be best for you.
The permanent pile dock is constructed by driving steel pilings into the lake bottom. This creates the foundation for a steel framework overtop and a deck provision. This type can be used for a dock or a boathouse and it requires no typical annual maintenance. It also has its own site specifics. It is not recommended for waterfronts that are subject to large swings in levels or where there is large ice movement in the spring. These systems are the most expensive choice for docks but are the best suited for sitting and relaxing waterside.
The pole dock is probably the most economical of the four choices. However, it also has its specific application and maintenance. The bottom of the lake must be firm because each section sit on pads at the base of the poles and hold the framework for the removable decking sections. It is restricted to 6-8 feet of water depth. Each spring the dock must be reassembled, and yes, it must be removed in the fall. Needless to say, this can be a very chilly process! The dock can be purchased in lengths from 8 to 16 feet and be arranged in a multitude of configurations. Taylor Docks has a crew available to remove and install and maintain these systems seasonally.
The tower dock is a hinged framework dock that resembles a draw bridge and is raised and lowered by way of a winch on shore. These docks are quite easy to store by removing the decking and raising them for the winter and lowering them in the spring. They are similar to post docks in their summer position but do not require getting into the water in the spring and fall to set them up. The ideal location would have shield rock to anchor the mechanisms and winch. The configuration can be straight or T-shaped at the end. We really do encourage clients to talk to us about all of these possibilities.
Do I need to get a dock permit? How do I go about this?
Determining what permits are required will depend on where your property is located and what type of dock work you need. Generally, we would collect as much property information as we can from the client and look into the required permits on their behalf. This will determine what restrictions we have regarding permissible sizes, what can be built in the water, the impact the dock will have in the water and on the environment, whether the dock will interfere with protected species, and more. All of these considerations must be addressed in order to come up with a plan for the waterfront and before construction begins.
When we are working with a client, our service includes the behind the scenes administrative work required to obtain the proper permits. It is essential that each authority is contacted and the appropriate permits are obtained before starting your dock project. Some of the places we check are:
1. The Ministry of Natural Resources permit requirements and process are currently being revised (at time of this printing), and any dock in excess of 15 square metres (161 square feet) requires a land use permit from the MNR.
2. Your local municipality (who you pay your property taxes to) will likely have permit requirements.
3. Areas that have a local conservation authority (i.e. North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority and Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority) or are under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada (anywhere on the Trent or Rideau Canal) must be contacted.
4. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans also has a self-assessment guide (available online) which we reference to determine whether we require their authorization.
Taking care that all of the required permits are in place will ensure that any improvement you make to your waterfront will add to the continued enjoyment of the water and the value of your property.
Taylor Docks Incorporated