Your 2012 Wish List: Should You Choose a Boat or a Jet Ski?

JetSkiSo you've put some money away, and you're finally ready to treat yourself. You've given it serious thought and have narrowed your wish list down to one of two choices: a boat or a jet ski. It's time to put pen to paper and come up with a list of pros and cons for both items.

Assuming you are living on or near the water, common sense dictates you would need somewhere to store either water craft. Before you consult your local boat dock builder, let's give this some thought. Your jet ski will no doubt consume less fuel and less space than a boat. Keeping that in mind, this would certainly have some bearing on your boat dock construction plans.

When considering a boat, take into account fuel costs, insurance and a larger dock space to keep your new toy. When purchasing a jet ski or boat, you may need to contact Texas or Virginia deck builders. A jet ski may only require a small platform, while a boat may need a more complex dock. You will gain experience with boat docks and dock building contractors with a boat purchase, as a larger craft translates into serious engineering in regards to the dock. You may even have to seek the opinion of a specialist to examine possible shoreline stabilization.

Also take your hobbies into consideration before making a purchase. If you love fishing, a boat may be a iStockBoatmore convenient and spacious option than a jet ski. If you have a need for speed or love to swim, a jet ski may suit your interests.

For those with large families, seriously consider a boat. You will have hours of fun and everyone will be involved. If you are only accommodating yourself and someone else, or if your family has no interest in boating, a jet ski may prove to be a more economical choice. No matter what you choose, have fun, be safe and enjoy!

If you already own a boat or jet ski, what suggestions do you have for someone who is having trouble deciding what to buy?


Gearing Up for a Possible Storm in 2012

HurricaneWindsThe most important tip for protecting a boat against hurricane weather is to plan in advance. Although coastal cities and towns are the most affected by hurricane weather, the eye of the storm can bring damaging winds to inland areas. Every boat owner with a vessel moored or docked at a recreational harbor should have a hurricane plan and review it at the start of every boating season. Many Virginia and Texas boat docks, as well as recreational harbors in other coastal states, have hurricane plans that occupants should know.

Most recreational harbors are crowded. In a storm surge, vessels are likely to collide with other docked vessels. Whenever possible, they should be removed from the water when hurricane weather threatens and stored in a garage or other covered area. If they must be left outdoors, then the trailer frame should be positioned on concrete blocks so that the weight of the vessel is carried by the frame. The drain plug should also be installed, and the vessel should be partially filled with water. Most fiberglass hulls are designed to withstand this additional weight. Wooden hulls typically are not designed for such weight, and wooden-hulled vessels should be tied down with multiple mobile home anchors and the drain plug should be left out.

All harbors and boat dock construction parameters have different strengths and weaknesses. If the harbor provides a strong degree of protection, owners may decide to leave the vessel docked. If so, then all docking lines should be doubled, and lines should be covered with rubber hose, then cloth, then commercial tape wherever they pass through a fairlead and chock, or wherever they pass over the side of the vessel. Lines should be tied to the upper end of pilings rather than dock cleats, and plenty of fenders should be set to protect the hull from collisions.

If the mooring tackle is worn by less than one third of its original thickness, and if it meets the safety standards for the vessel, then owners may choose to leave the vessel moored in the harbor or in a nearby hurricane hole. The mooring scope for any vessel moored during a hurricane should be at least 7-to-1. Sheltered hurricane holes with shoreline stabilization in place are well-known and popular spots during storms.

A qualified boat dock builder will likely be able to recommend a dock design for hurricane-prone areas. Before the next boating season comes around, boat owners should ask three important questions: Is my hurricane plan up to date? Does my harbormaster have a hurricane plan for me? Is the dock I use designed to withstand expected storm surges?

Do you feel prepared for possible storms in 2012?


Keep Your Boat Dock Green Clean

Boating is a great hobby, but without taking proper precautions, it can pollute the surrounding EarthInHandsenvironment. The same stuff that gets your boat clean can also pollute rivers, lakes, and oceans. So what’s the best way to get your boat clean while protecting the environment?

Clean Boats and Cruddy Waters
You obviously want a clean boat. At the same time, the environment needs to stay clean, too. According to estimates, boat owners dump up to 2.6 million gallons of toxins overboard each year. This pollution is a great concern to not only individuals who own boats, but boat dock construction, boat dock builders, and shoreline stabilization engineers. Obviously, something needs to be done to clean up the mess that’s spreading in the waters.

In order to clean up the mess on your boat and prevent a bigger mess on the lake, here are five suggestions:

1. Wax your boat. Waxing your boat prevents the buildup of dirt and mildew, which keeps your boat cleaner longer.

2. Clean topsides. Your boat might need a head-to-toe scrub on occasion, but most of the cleaning should happen above the boot stripe. Scrubbing hulls and boat bottoms can release dangerous toxins from antifouling paint.

3. Watch for oil and fuel spills. Oil and fuel are the most environmentally disastrous pollutants. Be prepared to clean up any little spills by having a supply of rags on board. When it comes to changing your oil, make sure you drop off used filters at the nearest disposal facilities. You’ll find disposal facilities at Texas boat docks and at most deck builders in Virginia.

4. Rinse clean frequently. The best way to get your boat clean is to wash it frequently using plain water. If you wait until a thick layer of green mold appears, you’ll have trouble getting it clean.

5. Choose non-toxic cleaners. A bit of vinegar goes a long way in cleaning most plastic boat surfaces. For fiberglass, try creating a baking soda paste to scrub away stains. These ingredients are far less toxic than most boat cleaners. You can also purchase green boat cleaning products and solutions for maximum cleaning.

How do you minimize environmental impact when you clean your boat?


What Type of Boat Dock is Best for You?

The type of boat dock you choose plays a big role in the safety of your vessel and the enjoyment you get from boating. When it comes to boat dock construction, aesthetics are as important as functionality. A durable, well-crafted dock should complement the look of any waterfront as well as suit all your boating needs. Selecting a visually appealing dock that does not require much maintenance is easy once you know what to look for.

There are several varieties of boat docks to choose from, and each offers a different advantage. The main types are floating, stationary and portable docks. Floating docks are ideal for deep water or areas that see frequent changes in water levels. They may be secured by cables, anchors or ramps. The most stable designs include platforms that intersect with the main walkway. When it comes to consulting with deck builders, Virginia and Texas experts can provide valuable information about each style.

A stationary or standing boat dock is ideal for most boating needs. Stationary docks can withstand the roughest conditions because of their permanent bases. However, if you have a weak retaining wall and do not want to invest in shoreline stabilization, a portable or wheeled dock may be a better choice. Portable docks are perfect for areas of water that freeze in the cold seasons. The wheels allow you to easily transport the dock when necessary.

When it comes to choosing boat dock materials, consider your location. For example, a Texas boat dock may require different construction than a Rhode Island one. Wood is the traditional choice because it adds a natural, rustic beauty to any waterfront. The downside is that it needs regular maintenance. Aluminum or polyethylene docks are sturdy alternatives to wood. These low-maintenance docks won’t rot or rust, and they can withstand major impacts. Docks built from a combination of wood and aluminum can provide both the desired aesthetic of a wooden dock and the stability of a metal dock.

The right boat dock should match your lifestyle, location and personal taste. You can choose one with a convenient slip dock or a spacious walkway for leisurely pursuits. A knowledgeable boat dock builder can help you determine what design is best for you. Which dock will you choose to meet your boating needs?


Different Types of Boathouses and Their Uses

Boathouses can be built on land or water. Wood, concrete and steel are used for boathouse and boat dock construction. Since cedar is very resistant to water, it is a common wood choice. There are several different styles of boathouses to consider. While some are simple shelters for watercraft, others may include special amenities found in homes.


Often located on land, this type of boathouse is usually large enough to accommodate a boat and its equipment. Since they are small, sheds are typically used for canoes, kayaks and other small boats. There are usually no amenities such as running water or plumbing, but they do offer adequate protection from wind and rain.


These boat shelters are a simple choice. They may be built on the water or on a deck. Basic canopies include support columns and a roof. However, canopies must be customized to provide full enclosure. People who live in areas where weather plays a factor choose to enclose one or more sides, which protects the housed watercraft from the elements. Those searching for deck builders in Virginia will want to find someone who specializes in building a canopy structure that can protect their watercraft in times of severe weather.


Commercial boathouses may have attractions, restaurants or living quarters. Because they house fully-operational businesses, the structures are much larger than typical boathouses. Some companies offer tours, rentals and dinner cruises. Owners should be aware of all local and state codes. Texas boat dock codes may be different than Virginia boat dock codes.


In addition to providing boat storage, this type of structure includes living quarters. There are several different sizes of residential boathouses. They usually include plumbing, electricity and other conveniences. Watercrafts are usually stored in a garage below the residential portion of the structure. While many residential boathouses are located near the water, those located partially on the water must have a special flood-proof platform.

Anyone considering these projects must consult an experienced boat dock builder. There are many issues to address before starting a project. For example, a good shoreline stabilization plan is important for protecting the structure. To choose the best type for you, consider whether you need a basic structure or something more elaborate.

Which boathouse do you think will best suit your needs?

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Waterfront Construction & Design has years of marine construction experience serving clients in both Central and Southeastern Virginia & Southeastern Texas. Call us today to discuss your marine construction needs.