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Launching your kayak can sometimes be difficult, depending on your choice of launch sites. A floating dock can be a useful tool to make your paddling life easier.
We’ve put some information together to help you choose the best kayak launch dock for your favorite paddling spot.
- PlayStar Aluminum Floating Dock Kit
- Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock
- Sun Dolphin Two Chambered Dock Float
5 Best Kayak Floating Docks
1: PlayStar Aluminum Floating Dock Kit (best overall)
- Size: 4 x 10 foot
- Weight: 200 pounds
- Weight Capacity: N/A
This PlayStar Aluminum Floating Dock Kit comes with instructions so that you can put the dock together yourself. It is designed to be used in freshwater and can be used in mud, deep water and shallow water (even water that’s only 1 ½ inches deep). It’s not recommended for saltwater use.
The dock is also designed to adjust automatically with depth changes, which can be useful for rivers and lakes where the water levels fluctuate.
It features a tempered alloy frame, foam filled floats and a resin top. It also has a modular design and can also be bought in multiples so you can create a larger platform or longer floating dock.
- Instructions included
- Self adjusting for water depths
- Ideal for shallow water
2: Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock
- Size: 6 x 5, 8 x 5, 10 x 8 and 10 x 10 ft
- Weight: 12 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 3 to 5 people
The Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock can be ideal if you’re looking for portability. This lightweight dock can be easily transported in its carry bag and inflated when you get to the water. A hand pump is included with the dock.
This inflatable dock comes in a range of sizes to suit various activities. It can provide a sturdy platform for launching your kayak or even sunbathing. It can be attached to your boat to extend the deck and can even be used in a swimming pool.
It is made from durable reinforced PVC that can also be suitable for a dog’s paws. It features six stainless steel D-rings to help secure it, and size reinforced grab handles.
- Hand pump included
3: Sun Dolphin Two Chambered Dock Float
- Size: 4 x 3 foot
- Weight: 28 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
The Sun Dolphin Two Chambered Dock Float is designed so that you can create your own floating dock. It features two watertight chambers for safety, so that in the event that one suffers a puncture, the dock will still be able to float using the other chamber.
This dock float can be purchased in multiples to create a larger dock. They are sectional, so that can be easily reconfigured for various sizes and dock designs. The float is self bailing, meaning the water can easily drain off without pooling on top.
- Two chambers
4: PlayStar Extra Buoyant Dock Float
- Size: 3 x 4 foot
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
This PlayStar Extra Buoyant Dock Float is designed to be used to create a floating dock. Made from high density polyethylene, this dock float has a high weight capacity of 500 pounds and can be used in a range of water depths above 1 ½ inches.
It can adjust according to changing water levels and can be linked together in multiples to create a larger dock area.
This dock float can be ideal for making your own customized floating dock with additional purchases, such as a wood frame to provide your platform.
- May require additional purchases
- Customizable design
5: Dock Edge + Inc. Howell 250 Dock Float (best budget option)
- Size: 2 x 4 foot
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 260 pounds
This Dock Edge Howell 250 Dock Float has a weight capacity of 260 pounds and can be ideal if you’re looking to build a floating dock on a tighter budget.
This dock float is made from high density polyethylene and is designed to be resistant to punctures and splits. It is an empty float, which means it does not have a foam filled interior. This may reduce the level of buoyancy when compared to foam filled floats of a similar size.
- Not foam filled
- May require additional materials
Why Use A Floating Dock?
A floating dock can make it easier to get in and out of your kayak. This can be particularly true if you’re trying to launch from a higher dock, a larger vessel or a steep bank.
The floating dock can get closer to the water, making it easier for you to enter and exit your kayak.
The fact that it floats means you can use it in a variety of locations without needing construction materials to secure it permanently.
This can also mean you might be able to use it in environments where other types of docks would be unsuitable, for example in certain protected areas or where the underwater landscape is unsuitable for a permanent dock. This means they can also be easily removed in advance of extreme conditions.
What Are The Alternatives For Launching A Kayak?
There are various alternatives to a floating dock for launching a kayak. However, you’ll probably find that many of these can be pricey and they may not be as easy to install or remove as a floating dock might be.
Launch ramps, including those with rollers can sometimes be installed on existing docks. But these may not be suitable for changing water levels. There are also products, such as ladder lifts that can help you and your kayak launch from elevated docks or sea walls. But these are generally not portable.
What Features Should I Look Out For?
Interlocking floats can let you customize the shape or size of your dock.
Remember you may need to consider purchasing additional materials for some docks, as they may not provide a platform as standard.
One of the main features of a floating dock is that it can be easily installed and removed when necessary, meaning portability can be an important feature.
Think about whether or not you intend to have your floating dock accompany you on every trip. If you want to be able to take it with you, it might be a good idea to opt for a compact, lightweight one.
How To Use A Floating Dock
An important thing to remember about a floating dock is that it probably won’t be as stable as a fixed dock. This can make getting on and off the dock a little trickier.
You may find it easier if the dock is evenly balanced. For example, try to position yourself away towards the center and away from the edges. It can also be a good idea to anchor your dock at several points to help minimize movement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Floating Docks Heavy?
This depends on the type you choose. Inflatable ones will generally be lighter than foam filled polyethylene ones.
How Much Weight Can They Hold?
The weight capacity will vary between products. Some can hold up to 500 pounds but some will have a lower capacity.
What Is The Best Way To Store A Dock?
They can be stored in your garage or left outside facing up.
We think the PlayStar Aluminum Floating Dock Kit is the best option because it is a complete kit that comes with instructions so you can build a complete dock yourself.
However, if you’re looking for something more portable, coming in at a close second is the Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock because it’s easy to transport and it’s versatile.
Remember to think about where you want to use your dock and whether or not you want to be able to move it around frequently, as this could affect the options that are available to you.