Dock Innovations

by Nov 5, 2021Across the Line, South Brunswick

Dock Blocks floating boat docks, an alternative to wooden docks, are engineered to withstand the punishing conditions of storms and hurricanes.

Navigating the waters of maritime entrepreneurship can be treacherous, particularly when trying to improve upon a tried-and-true approach. But a small Charleston, S.C., company thinks it will sail to success with unique docking and boat lift systems that can withstand the worst Mother Nature has to offer Brunswick County.

Dock Blocks of North America produces plastic floating boat docking systems that can be configured into virtually any shape.

Each block side is more than a foot and a half long but weighs less than 15 pounds. Company officials say their products can be assembled quickly and easily with no unique skills or equipment needed, translating into thousands of dollars in savings when compared to building a traditional wood and steel dock.

But maybe most significant to the nearly 11,000 vessel owners in Brunswick County, the Dock Blocks modular docking system is engineered to stand strong against the punishing conditions experienced during tropical storms and hurricanes. Considering the millions of dollars in damage coastal communities in the Carolinas sustained during Hurricane Isaias in 2020, docks that can withstand the ravages of such storms are worth their weight in gold.

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“Modular docks perform better than framed structures in rough water as they are able to absorb wave and wake action better than a traditional float,” says Mark Partridge, a sales representative for Dock Blocks. “We have the most stable floating docks in the modular industry.”

What makes their product superior, according to Partridge, are the recessed tabs built into the sides of Dock Blocks, as opposed to competitors who place tabs only on the corners of their floats. Because the Dock Blocks tabs are recessed, they have much more support and can withstand significantly higher stress.

Additionally, with the tabs located on the sides of the floats, there are far more connection points, providing more holding power to better withstand waves, wakes and other stresses.

“Each connection point is also a flex point that allows waves and wakes to ride freely under the dock,” Partridge says. “We also add strengthening bars to connect the blocks around the edges. And because the HDPE plastic we use is almost twice as thick as many alternative options, Dock Blocks don’t give when walked on and offer superior durability without splintering like wooden docks.”

Testimonials posted on the company’s website support Partridge’s claim of how well Dock Blocks perform during storms. Several note how their wooden docks were destroyed in recent hurricanes, but that their Dock Blocks structures were unscathed.

Doug Edwards, another of the company’s sales representatives, says approximately 140 of Dock Blocks’ more than 3,000 customers are North Carolina residents or companies. Dock Blocks, which manufactures its products in North Carolina, employs less than 25 people.

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The 10-year-old company’s products are also popular for short-term events. The decking system was used at this summer’s Drift Jam Flotilla Music Festival on Lake Murray, S.C. It’s also been used for events like diving competitions and boat shows.

Despite its record of success, the company is not done innovating. It recently introduced new “half-floater” connecting pins that replace nuts and bolts and eliminate the need to flip the dock over to install, resulting in a 75% faster assembly time, according to the company. It also developed a new Boat Boost system that lift boats weighing as much as 18,000 pounds out of the water with ease.

Company officials are proud of the fact that their materials are environmentally friendly.

Dock Blocks do not contain any potentially harmful foam and a zero-waste manufacturing process is used to make their products. They also claim their merchandise is 100% recyclable.

With the 2021 hurricane season nearing an end, coastal Carolina boat owners and marinas shouldn’t need to worry about the need to make emergency dock repairs this year. However, when the need does arise to rebuild, repair, or expand these structures, Dock Blocks hopes consumers will give serious consideration to its N.C.-produced products.

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