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It’s a common knowledge that you can’t store a jet ski in the water, as it could damage it in several ways.
Therefore, if you want to keep your jet ski close to the water you will need a special storage device for it.
Although you can find many floating jet ski docks and even good quality PWC lift systems on the market, if you like building things you may want to consider building a custom jet ski dock based on your needs.
Building your own dock could be an exciting project, that’s why you see a lot of DIY jet ski docks on the water.
For your convenience, we at JetDrift have included the best cheap jet ski dock ideas into this post, with a step-by-step building guide!
DIY Jet Ski Dock Ideas
Rails On the Dock
The cheapest jet ski dock solution would be to simply install rails or rollers on an existing dock. You could either drive onto the bunks directly or you could consider installing a winch. In the end, it would depend on the dock’s height and design.
Please note that this solution is recommended only for stand ups or vintage 2-stroke sit down jet skis. This is because these models are much lighter (300-500 pounds) and easier to pull up onto the dock.
It’s good to know that the newest sit down jet skis can reach a weight range of 700-1,000 pounds.
Jet Ski Shore Ramps
Another good DIY jet ski dock idea would be to use shore roller ramps, which are also called jet ski ramps or jet ski shore ramps.
The simpler ones feature only bunks with carpet/plastic coverage but you can consider installing rollers for easier handling.
You could build your DIY jet ski shore ramp from scratch, but ‘jet ski ramp building kits’ are also available on the market.
These usually include the bracing, rollers, winch, and assembly instructions, so you will have to purchase the wood separately.
But if you are looking for something off the shelf, there are many complete jet ski ramp systems on the market to choose from, which are typically made of more durable aluminum.
The main advantage of these ramps is that they are boldly recommended for even the biggest jet skis, and they are portable so you can move them easily.
They are not just a quick and easy build, but they are very cost-effective as well.
What’s more, you can install them on top of a regular floating dock!
Build a Compete Dock for the Jet Ski
If you are looking for something stylish and convenient, you can consider building a complete dock for your jet ski.
If you do your research, you can find many good and complete DIY jet ski dock ideas online.
You can combine the dock with rollers or bunks, or even with a jet ski lift system.
One common solution is to make the bunks tiltable, so you can easily load and unload the jet ski.
How to Build a Jet Ski Dock
Check the Weight and Dimensions
When it comes to DIY jet ski docks, two key factors are always the jet ski’s weight and dimensions.
The bigger and heavier your jet ski the more massive your dock will need to be. When you do the math, don’t forget that you have to calculate with the jet ski’s curb weight, which includes the fuel and all the gear.
The shape of the hull also determines the design and position of the bunks. So, make sure they can perfectly support the hull!
The length/position of the bunks are also important, as they have to keep the pump out of the water. Please note that a few inches will not be enough because if the pump is too close to the water, the waves will splash it continuously, which can result in damage over the long term.
Bunks vs. Rollers
When it comes to the bunks vs. rollers debate it’s safe to say that there is no clear winner.
Bunks require less maintenance and they support the hull better, while rollers allow you to move the jet ski much easier. Finally, it depends on the dock’s design and your personal preferences.
As a rule of thumb, it seems that the majority of the DIY jet ski docks feature bunks, so you can’t go wrong with them.
The key point is that the bunks have to be covered with carpet to avoid scratches on the bottom of the hull. Best practice is to use trailer carpet, which can be found on any jet ski trailer.
You can even use some silicone spray to make the carpet more slippery.
Besides the carpet, many builders use PVC pipes (e.g. 1.5” gas lines) to make the bunks more slippery. They are soft, so won’t damage the hull and jet skis slide on these materials really well.
Build the Structure
In most cases the frame and the deck are made of wood, and best practice is to use pressure-treated lumber. It’s recommended that you use stainless steel screws when assembling the structure.
You will also have to calculate the buoyancy. The most commonly used dock floats are large jugs, barrels, or even Styrofoam blocks.
Consider a Winch
A winch is a nice addition to any DIY jet ski dock. Even if your dock’s design allows you to power load the jet ski onto the dock, best practice is to pull it up with a winch.
This is because a power load can damage the jet skis’ hull, the bunks, or in the worst case it could end in a very serious accident.
You can easily move your jet ski onto the bunks with a small winch, so it would be a good idea to install one on your dock.
Other Factors to Consider
Here are some other important factors to consider before you push your DIY jet ski dock into the water.
Water fluctuation: If your dock floats on top of the water (even if it is attached to other floating docks) you don’t have to worry about water fluctuation.
But if you want to mount your construction to a fixed pier, seawall, or the shore this could be an issue for you.
If your jet ski is stored in a tidal zone or you have to face water fluctuation for any other reason, you may want to attach it to a tide riser system.
Security: Let’s face it, storing jet skis on docks and lifts always means a higher risk compared to lockable garages. Make sure to pay attention to the security and it’s also highly recommended that you insure your jet ski.
Maintenance: Maintenance of jet ski docks is often overlooked. Don’t forget to inspect and maintain your dock regularly, especially if it features rollers and a winch.
If you don’t want to trailer your jet ski around and want to store it close to the water, you will definitely need a special jet ski dock or lift.
These are all good points, but in many cases, it makes better sense to build a DIY jet ski dock. These are as follows:
– Factory-built jet ski docks are not available in your area
– You are looking for a cheaper solution
– You like building and looking for a side project
– You already have the materials
– You want a larger custom-built dock that can accommodate your jet ski
If you have decided to build a jet ski dock, here are some key factors to pay attention to:
– Calculate your jet ski’s curb weight
– Design the bunk carefully to properly support the hull
– Make sure it keeps the pump high above the water
– Make the bunks slippery with silicone or a plastic cover
– Don’t forget the water fluctuation and/or currents
– Install a winch and use it instead of power loading
– Take your time, do your research, and plan the whole dock upfront. “Measure Twice, Cut Once!”
This is our basic DIY jet ski dock building guide. We hope you find it useful!
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