Gangway & Ramp Options
Gangways and ramps serve as integral parts of an entire floating dock system, as they provide a means by which users access their slips. The proper type and size is virtually always a function of vertical drop from shore grade to water surface, along with any space constraint restrictions. Considering that an "acceptable" slope is very much a subjective matter, appropriate consideration should be given to this component when considering a floating dock. Please visit our Portfolio page for additional photos of concepts described below.
Timber vs. Aluminum
Depending on the application, a shorter timber-frame ramp (24' and under) may be sufficient to meet project requirements. This type is most commonly used in residential settings as they are more affordable and ADA compliance is less likely to be requirement. Alternatively, certain scenarios (most commonly associated with marinas and commercial floating dock projects) require longer aluminum truss-frame gangways. These units are intended to comply with ADA design guidelines and be manufactured as single-piece structures up to 80'.
Railing & Applications
Both types of gangways have a number of railing options. The most common is a wooden-baluster style (pictured above and to the left), which complies with ADA and barrier free guidelines. Alternatively, a simplified three-tier version offers a more cost-effective alternative. If desired, timber ramps can be installed without any railing at all to achieve a "clean lines" appearance. Furthermore, by virtue of their superior structural design, these units can (under proper circumstances) serve as the sole anchorage point for a floating dock. Please note that the truss-frame structure on aluminum gangways may not be omitted.
Impact on Dock Space
A common misconception is that longer gangways (which offer softer and more comfortable slopes) must reduce the total slip count by "pushing" the entire system further out. To rectify this concern, we often incorporate "switchback" sections that run parallel to the gangway. Depending the gangway connection type, water depth, and other site characteristics, these sections can accommodate four additional slips each (or eight per dock system) while still allowing an ADA compliant gangway.