-The Problem of Complacency
- Where to go?
- Storm Prediction
- Making of a Good Dock
- What About Floating Docks?
Makings of a Good Dock The essentials are strong pilings and adequate width. Pilings need to be of sufficient height that they're likely to remain above the level of the storm surge, and if they're too close together, as the water rises, your dock lines will end up leading straight down. The illustration below shows what happens when you don't have enough space for adequate line length when the water rises.
Check the pilings down below the high tide line where they are likely to be eroded. If they are, you can guess what will happen. Pieces of lumber bolted to a wood dock, or lagged to a concrete pier are totally inadequate, so don't expect them to hold anything.
The best dockage consists of a slip that is four-cornered with large wood pilings, whether you're paralleling the bulkhead, or on finger piers. Wood pilings are good because they bend with heavy shock loads, sort of like a mooring whip. And speaking of the later, don't expect these to overcome the effects of wind and waves -- they won't.
The illustration above shows a more or less ideal dockage arrangement for a boat against a bulkhead. Below, a good arrangement for finger piers.
Note that the bow pilings are set well off the ends of the piers, allowing for adequate bow line length, and the ability to keep the stern well away from the dock. The width between pilings is enough to allow for enough slack in the lines without the boat hitting against them.
What About Floating Docks? If they are made of wood, forget it. These don't stand a chance. Newer floating docks are usually steel framed, and so long as they're not threatened by wave action, they should be okay. The main problem with floating docks is that you have a lot of boats which are basically all moored to the same structure. If part of it goes, usually the whole thing goes. Plus, you have no pilings to tie to. You're completely dependent on how well the mooring cleats are attached.
The good news to come out of this is that with good, thoughtful consideration and preparation, the chances of your boat surviving are very high. And the more you know and learn about these terrible storms, the higher that probability becomes. >> Back to Part 1