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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 03-15-2011
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building a mooring float

I just bought my first boat, a Cal 25, and will be living aboard while attending school for the next four or five months. Obviously it's a small boat for this purpose. I thought it might be a good idea to build a small mooring float in a cove somewhere, maybe two or three sheets of plywood in surface area. Permission/proper etiquette is another subject and I'll make sure to be on the right side of it -- for the time being, I'm wondering how to build the float. I figure marine plywood, a frame of 2x4s underneath, blue plastic barrels for floatation, maybe some lead balls on each side for stability, and a couple of engine blocks for anchorage. The cove I'm looking at is well-protected. Has anyone out there done this before? Are there any guides or plans floating around?
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Old 03-15-2011
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Old 03-15-2011
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I think a Bunch of 5 gallon pails in there normal position might be more stable
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Old 03-15-2011
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I built one just like what you described a long time ago using steel 55 gal. drums. Very stable. Tie the barrels to the framework, or use SS strapping.
Pouring concrete anchors might be easier than engine blocks. You can float them into position with a small rowboat (12-14') if you have enough tidal range to allow pouring them at low tide and positioning the boat over the top of them and letting the tide raise them with the boat. Then just row to where you want it and cut it loose.
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@jrd22 You might be right about the concrete blocks. I also considered simply setting a big danforth. I might use rubber strapping if I can ensure it won't degrade. Polypro rope is probably out because it doesn't stretch or hold knots well, and other than that I'm not sure what might be available to secure the barrels to the structure. I'm not sure what SS strapping is so perhaps you could elaborate.

How did you build the strucutre of the float, and how large was it? I'm attending wooden boat building school so there should be a lot of people with the expertise to help. I'll probably also have access to lumber at wholesale prices.
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@tommays by "their normal position" do you mean upright? I was actually thinking of that. I considered securing groups of four pails together then attaching these to the frame somehow.
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Hey there.

Ages and ages ago when I was a kid and we water skied at Shawnigan Lake we built lots of DIY docks there. Used metal 45 gal drums, used Styrofoam "logs" and 45 gal plastic drums. For us, the Styrofoam logs worked the best and were the most economical.

Just my way, way, long ago past experience.

All used 2x4 or 2x6 frames with plywood tops.

Anchors - I also agree with concrete - not as heavy but I think, more environmentally friendly than engine blocks.

Rik
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Old 03-17-2011
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I own a boat house in Cedar Rapids IA. If you remember the flood in 2008, my house is still there. Here is how the house floats.

Use 2x6's or 2x8's treated lumber for the main frame. Space the the outsde 2x6's so that a 55 gal PLASTIC drum fits it laying on it's side. (you can find drums for free) For a 8x8' or 8x12' deck as you decribe you will need 6-10 drums a round the outside. You wont need any in the middle. Think of it as a deck on a house, it's sopported around the edges. Use a SS cable under the drum to hold them in place. Sometimes waves or a wake can wash a drum out from under the deck. Use treated decking for the top, don't use plywood. If you need to add drums or if you have one that takes on water. The best thing to do is unscrew one of the bungs (plugs) and fill the drum with water so you can push it under the dock. Then use compressed air in the bottom hole to force the water out. I forgot to tell you to place the 2 openings in the drum at 12 and 6 a clock.

Hope tis helps

Garry
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Old 03-23-2011
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@Wantabe

So, I space two 2x6s at the outside so that the drums fit between them and snug up to the deck, or use a single 2x6 on each side, recessed enough from the outer edge of the structure to leave space to attach the drums? I'd think that the drums would have to support the entire frame and not just the decking material.
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Old 03-23-2011
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capescottsailor

please e-mail me at gj 52402 at aol dot com (no spaces)

and I'll give you a drawing how I would do it. I'll also send pictures of my boat houses here. I'm just glad I can contribute to this forum!
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