by Dave Pedersen
Every year there seems to be more reasons to spend more time on your lake home dock as it becomes more unique and fun from morning to night.
The traditional dock may stay the same, but what can be attached is every changing, including sectional systems allowing you the opportunity to create your own space. Docks have become a gathering, entertaining and relaxing space for more and more lake homeowners.
“People are spending more time on their docks, mainly due to the comfort that is now available,” says Cindy Gray from FLOE International. “I used to have a bench on my dock and I would sit there for about 10 minutes and then leave. Since I have purchased FLOE’s aluminum swivel/rocking dock chairs, we live on the dock. We bring our coffee down there in the morning and enjoy many sunsets sitting on the dock.”
Donavan Rasmusson started working for a company called ShoreMaster based in Fergus Falls, 30 years ago. He is now an owner of Lake Area Docks and Lifts with stores in Pelican Rapids, Brainerd, Battle Lake and Cross Lake.
“Your dock used to be only used to get to your boat lift, now it is your entertainment center,” said Rasmusson, who adds that a lot has changed in the last 10 years.
Two years ago the company added furniture along with curved sections. New products include paddle board and kayak racks attached alongside the dock. He says dock space has not lessened to accommodate all the accessories.
“All benches and furniture are what they call off deck, hanging over the water,” notes Rasmusson. “The toys and equipment you play with, including water mats, can be stored on adapted sides so they don’t take up floor space.”
Along with curved sections to alter the design and make bigger platforms, most of the top dock manufacturers offer several different styles of decking used to highlight what you want. Rasmusson says, “My most popular product is the wood grain aluminum decking by ShoreMaster that looks like cedar.”
Voyager Industries based in Brandon also offers dock design and construction allowing for endless configurations without sacrificing stability. Voyager sells a special line of furniture just for docks. A swivel chair comes with a foot rest. Seats are in the form of a sling which dries off rapidly, unlike a cloth cushion.
“Dock sections and quick attach accessories can be added at any time to ensure your dock investment will meet your future lakefront needs,” said Tom McMahon from Voyager Industries. “Most recently, Voyager Dock launched a two-slot paddle board rack that quickly integrates with Voyager Dock Systems.”
Comfort has been introduced to dock accessories, resulting in more enjoyment on the dock.
“Today, especially with modular dock systems where you can create many different configurations with sundecks, the dock has become an extension of people’s living space,” says Gray. “A lot of people will have multiple docks on their property for different activities such as swimming, water sports and fishing.”
An example of how lake homeowners are customizing their docks to a desired shape is Wave Armor floating docks, built to allow you to easily attach additional accessories and components. There are floating Wave Ports for boats, canoes and personal water craft. You drive the crafts right up on the port that blends in with the dock.
“We have 10×5-foot sections that attach together,” said Kati Werner at Wave Armor. “We also have lower-down sections so you can have feet in the water. You can attach a kayak assist section to help you in and out.”
Dock accessories can create a visually appealing, decorative and festive atmosphere. Some examples include using bumpers with rounded corners that change the design, putting attractive hexagon solar lights on top of poles, and utilizing wedge sections that create a small slip for boats and lifts where there is limited space.
A company called Lifeform LED manufactures underwater LED lighting systems to add color even at night. The five LED configuration dock light starter kit produces intense light output shining both far and wide.
“Not only does the light improve your dock safety, they attract fish, make night swimming fun and take hanging out on the dock at night to a whole new level,” said Dennis Sand from Lifeform LED. “You can add up to 14 additional lights anytime.”
Boat lifts are also becoming more user friendly. FLOE is the first on the market with its Maxis Canopy System. With the push of a remote button the end of the canopy raises to allow room for towers and bimini covers when entering the lift.
The canopy sides are extra deep for great side protection and have mesh ends and sides for better air flow. The tilt is 11.5 degrees, which is just enough to get in a tower.
FLOE also has a new item called Float-N-Roll. It’s a float that goes inside the lift so you can float your lift to any location. Once you get it in place, you use a cordless drill on the level legs.
Other big sellers in accessories for dock companies are steps versus ladders and flag poles, allowing people to more prominently show their patriotism.
People want convenience and maintenance-free products, that is why people with older docks made with cedar and carpet decking are going back to re-deck with maintenance free materials.
While the lake home may always be the area that gets the most attention, putting some TLC into your dock and boat lift space can transform your shore into a more welcoming, attractive space. ~L&H