Build a Floating Dock with Plastic Barrels

Our DIY Rainwater Catchment System is just one way to upcycle 55 gallon blue plastic drums. We’ve seen many creative uses over the years—including a DIY composter. And when they’re not holding water or tumbling compost, empty barrels make a great base for a floating dock or even a DIY boat! Read on to learn how to build floating docks with used plastic barrels.

Getting Started: How to Build a Floating Dock

A quick web search will result in many methods for building a floating dock from barrels. Whether you choose to go for a simple solution or complex custom design, the basics will include:

  • recycled 55 gallon blue plastic drums (make sure to get "tight-head" drums with no removable lid)
  • treated lumber for the frame and platform
  • fasteners (ranging from bungee cords to bolts)

A floating dock can be anchored to the land via a stationary platform or other landing for attaching the dock to so it doesn’t float...away. Alternatively, you can anchor the dock with cinder blocks or other weights, but this may not work in deep water or fast currents.

build floating dock
This sturdy upcycled barrel dock is ready for life by the water!
A dock in the making! Click the image to visit the DIY blog.
This longer dock extends far into the water. Click the image for the DIY video.

Blue Barrel Boats

Why stop at a stationary floating dock? If these barrels float (and they really do!) why not turn that platform into a pontoon party boat?! There are many fun examples of barrel boats to look at for inspiration. Here are a few to get your imagination going…

This pontoon is great way to upcycle barrels and get out on the water.
This pontoon is great way to upcycle barrels and get out on the water.
Fishing boat? Party boat? The possibilities are endless! Make it your own.
Fishing boat? Party boat? The possibilities are endless! Make it your own.
A blue barrel boat built for two. Click the image to visit the DIY blog.

Find Used Barrels Near You!

Barrel docks and boats are a great way to pluck 55-gallon drums from the waste stream and utilize them creatively. There is an island of plastic trash floating in the ocean...let’s try to upcycle and float some of it responsibly! 

Here at BlueBarrel, we connect people with local recycled blue barrels throughout the US. Visit our website to find barrels near you and to learn more about creative ways to upcycle them.

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