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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Summer 2017 > Port Authority

Port Authority

Your dock is where you park your boat, sip your coffee, and cannonball your heart out. How to choose the best type for your cottage.
Pile dock with floater

For a mucky shoreline in a shallow bay, Rick Keevil, who has been building cottage docks for more than 50 years, opted for a long dock (on p.77) to allow depth for boats and diving. The first half of the dock is secured with piles drilled as deep as 40 feet into the lake bed. The outer half floats, to save costs and to reduce the impact on lake ecology.

Most cottagers face this decision at some point.

Sarah Kawasaki and Derrick Hodgson drove up to the lake in early spring, the year before last, and a chunk of dock lay in the shallows. Not their dock—they didn’t have one yet—but a piece of someone else’s that had travelled “through the ebb and flow of the north country,” says Derrick. “We receive everyone’s detritus.” They propped it up on the water’s edge, a temporary wooden seat until someone came to get it.

A dock had long been on the couple’s wish list for their small cottage on North Mazinaw Lake, in Eastern Ontario, but other expenses had always taken priority. Then, at their daughter’s fourth birthday party, “all the guests migrated to this little, weird platform that had just washed up,” says Derrick. It was confirmed: they needed to start dock shopping.

For cottagers buying a first dock, or even replacing an old one, the purchase is daunting. It’s often an expensive investment, and it’s always an important one—to secure a boat, to make swimming more fun, to add space for hanging out, and simply to connect cottage to water.

Derrick and Sarah started by asking neighbours about their docks, a first step that the pros recommend. “Your neighbours have experienced just about everything,” says Jason Pulchinski, the president of At The Lake Distributing, a dock-system wholesaler in Peterborough, Ont. The choice is affected by lake conditions, both normal and extreme. “No cookie cutter dock works on every lake.”

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About Cottage Life

Cottage Life’s Summer issue gets you ready to Jump in the Lake! We’ve got 21 ways for you to have fun on the water, featuring new gear, games, and expert tips for young and old, plus meet some cottagers who take their waterskiing to the next level—pyramids included! We also talked to the experts about how to choose the right dock for your cottage, and we found out what you can learn from this year’s floods (and how to protect your cabin for next time). Up your workshop game with easy, genius putterer’s hacks, and make a secret outdoor storage project. And, when the days get smokin’ hot, use our no-cook recipes to keep your cool. This issue has everything you need for a refreshing, inspired summer at the lake.