How To Build a Floating Dock

5 Materials
1 Day

Hey everyone! Hoping spring has found you! I am going to walk you through a step by step how to build a dock with barrels. It might not be the prettiest dock but it works super well, the family loves it and its easy on the wallet!

How to!

I love taking really scarey-looking projects, projects you might not do because you think oh no thats way too big and breaking them down to show you they are NOT that hard!

I am building a 10x10 dock.


I am building a 10x10 dock so at first i laid out my boards in the square you see in the photo and placed the barrels in the corners for measurement purpose (they aren't getting attached yet)


Now you are going to Cut a 2x10 to the INSIDE measurement of your frame and put it up to the barrel and screw it in.

TIP: it doesn't need to be so close that the barrel is tight. Just close enough to keep it in place. The rope later is what will keep the barrel in place.


Once Those are screwed in place, then you will measure the distance from the frame to the joist (aka the width of the barrels) and cut a piece of 2x10 to that length. Attach it to the end of your barrel so that it is now boxed in.


Depending on your dock size (mine is 10ft x 10ft) you will now cut more joists (measure from inside your frame) and place them 16 inches apart (if one is less then 16 no problem) But don't make them greater then 16 inches


Once your frame is complete you can attach your deck boards. They are all cut at the same length so measure your frame and attach them to EACH joist with 2 deck screws per joist


its heavy, grab some help to flip it over so you can attach your barrels.


Theres no real right or wrong way to do this step. Your drill holes in the frame (wide enough for your rope) about half way down so once your barrel is placed in their spot, you can tie them off.


I drilled two holes on the larger side and one on the smaller. For this barrel anyway because none of them were tied off the same way, just make sure their tied off and you win!

Make sure you either tie off your dock to something on land or a cinder block/weight and drop it in the water. You don't want your dock floating away!


Get that baby in the water and start having some fun! Dont mind that title int he top left, its a sneak peak of my next DIY - how to build and attach a dock to land!


This is another video of how I then attached our dock to land!. Its a great second video

Another Video!

YES I linked another one! This is how to build a deck, that I attached to the dock

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Val
    on May 1, 2020

    Where do you get the barrels?

    • Denika Coakley
      on May 13, 2020

      Hey Teresa! I sure have, i and about 30 minutes from the island and have been there many times. pretty cool stuff!

  • Itchey
    on May 2, 2020

    Any one know how I can do this with empty Pepsi bottles? I've got a lot of them and thought I could make some sort of small floating boat to maybe fish out of...?

  • Leslie
    on May 4, 2020

    Denika, GREAT job on the float!!! I was thinking maybe to use aluminum strapping to hold the barrels fast but then said to myself her idea is much better. If you have to repair or replace just untie. What I did question is why you didn't deck stain the pressure treated boards? I know most that I have seen are not stained but do they need to be scrubbed down after a while?

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