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Build A Movable Pond Dock

Hitch up your tractor to put this portable dock in your favorite spot.

By Oscar H. Will III | Photos By Len Churchill, based on Photo Courtesy of Roll-In-Docks

DOWNLOAD: Materials list and plans for movable pond dock (3MB PDF file)

Enjoying your ponds from the shore is great, but using a dock for swimming, fishing or even just relaxing adds to the fun. If you’re going to build a dock, why not make it one you can move to different spots around the pond and even from pond to pond? These plans for a 12- by 4-foot dock will get you out over the water about 10 feet from shore. It features a hitch so you easily can pull it with your tractor when relocating it or storing it for winter.

In general, for this project, you will need treated (or cedar) dimensional lumber and deck boards, fasteners, steel bar, a dock stanchion kit and a dock wheel kit (both offered at roll-in-docks.com).

Enjoying your ponds from the shore is great, but using a dock for swimming, fishing or even just relaxing adds to the fun. If you’re going to build a dock, why not make it one you can move to different spots around the pond and even from pond to pond? These plans for a 12- by 4-foot dock will get you out over the water about 10 feet from shore. It features a hitch so you easily can pull it with your tractor when relocating it or storing it for winter.

In general, for this project, you will need treated (or cedar) dimensional lumber and deck boards, fasteners, steel bar, a dock stanchion kit and a dock wheel kit (both offered at roll-in-docks.com).

DOWNLOAD: Materials list and plans for movable pond dock (3MB PDF file)

  • Measure the water depth in your pond at a distance that is about 10 feet from the bank. This value will help you determine how long your dock’s legs need to be.
  • Order one stanchion kit for a 4-foot-wide dock with legs at least 2 feet longer than the depth measured above. Order a 4-foot-wide dock wheel kit.
  • On a smooth and flat surface, lay out in parallel (on edge) two 12-foot lengths of 2 x 8 pressure-treated board.
  • Cut two 2 x 8 pressure-treated boards to 45-inch lengths from one 2 x 8 x 8, and insert them on edge between the ends of the 12-foot boards. Fasten the 12-foot boards to the 45-inch boards with three 3-inch coated deck screws at each corner to make a rectangle, drilling pilot holes first.
  • From two 2 x 8 x 12 treated boards, cut two boards 141 inches long each. Measuring diagonally from corner to corner, square up the rectangle you made in the last step, and insert the 141-inch boards between the ends of the rectangle to make longitudinal stringers. Position the board ends centered at 15 inches from the inside of each edge board. Fasten to the end boards with three 3-inch coated deck screws.
  • Cut 13 treated 5/4 x 6 x 8 decking boards into 26, 48-inch lengths. Starting at one end of the rectangle, screw them to the top of the dock frame using eight 2-inch coated deck screws per board—two screws going down into the edges of each of the four longitudinal boards. At each end of the dock, be sure the last row of screws goes into the 45-inch end pieces to secure the frame.
  • Flip the assembly upside down.
  • Assemble your stanchion kit. Most kits include a pair of stanchions that will bolt to the outer longitudinal dock members and then also connect beneath the dock frame with a cross piece. The stanchions will support the dock legs. Attach the assembly to the dock, centered width-wise, 10 feet from one end of the dock.
  • Fabricate a hitch to make it easy to attach your rolling dock to the tractor’s drawbar. To do so, cut two 2-foot-long pieces of 2-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-thick mild steel bar. Bore three 3/8-inch holes centered at 2 inches, 6 inches and 10 inches from one end of each bar. At the other end of each bar, bore a 3/8-inch hole centered at 2 inches from the end. Using a marker, draw a line across the bars 10 inches from the end that has the single 3/8-inch hole.
  • Use a 15/32-inch diameter bit to drill pilot holes into the bottom of the 141-inch longitudinal boards (the center two stringers). Install the bars onto the bottom of these boards with three 3/8-inch lag bolts that are 3 inches long.
  • Position the bars so that the lines you drew on them are even with the outer end of the dock, where the hitch will be located. These bars—the hitch supports—will support the hitch’s crossmember.
  • Measure from outside to outside edge at the outer ends of the two hitch supports, and cut another piece of 2-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-thick steel bar to form the hitch’s crossmember. Position the crossmember bar beneath the holes in the hitch supports (top side when dock is right-side up), and mark the hole locations for boring. Drill 3/8-inch holes in the crossmember, centered at your marks, and then bore a 5/8- to 3/4-inch hole centered between the ends for the hitch pin. (Start with a smaller hole and enlarge.)
  • Position the crossmember on top of the hitch supports (bottom side when the dock is right-side up) and flush with the ends of the supports, and bolt it on using two 3/8-inch bolts, 11/2 inches long, with flat washers and self-locking nuts.
  • Insert the legs into the stanchion, and secure them per the kit instructions.
  • Assemble your wheel kit, and bolt it to the bottom of the dock’s legs per the instructions supplied by the manufacturer.
  • Flip the assembly right-side up.
  • Attach the dock to your tractor’s drawbar with a suitable hitch pin secured with a linchpin or clip. Tow the dock to the pond, backing it slowly into the water. Stop at the point where at least 2 feet of the dock is still resting on land, and unhitch it.
  • Secure the dock by driving a stake or steel fence T-post between the hitch’s crossmember and the dock.
  • Adjust the dock leg heights as directed by the stanchion manufacturer.
  • If your dock will be subject to rough conditions such as high winds, drive a T-post right next to each side of the dock, about 2 feet from the hitch end, to brace against lateral movement.
  • When winter comes, avoid ice damage by simply removing the bracing T-posts, hitching the dock to the tractor and pulling it out of the pond to a storage spot.