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Indiana small lake dock question.

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  • Indiana small lake dock question.

    I am helping a friend out with some dock ideas. He picked up a new to him pontoon boat. We put in a dock a few years ago and he wants to improve/ update it. The lake has a muck bottom. We welded a rim to a pipe and went to find bottom. We are 15-20 feet from shore and the rim/pipe went down close to 40' and no sign of hitting a solid bottom. There is only 3-4 feet of water at that point.

    I am thinking this idea would work great. Cut into his yard about the size of the pontoon boat and use steel side walls. He can drive the boat into his yard and have a dock/land that surrounds the boat on 3 sides. He can later add a canopy roof to keep it out of direct weather in the future. The boat can be pulled into the inland dock. And in winter time raised up to ground level to keep it out of the water. This we can handle. The question is, is it legal to cut into your yard from a lake in Indiana?? I have not heard of this done before. At least around here. Any ideas?? Thanks

    He has been toying over ideas of a floating dock. Anything from 55 gallon barrels, to styrofoam blocks. I think an in yard would be much better. He does not have a beach/shore (if that is the right term), it is a small metal wall with a drop off from his yard. So we can cut right through it to give an inlet.

  • #2
    Suggest using hard plastic totes and filling them with foam. Either that or plastic barrels and foam
    94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
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    • #3
      Probably a better question for your local conservation folks, but I can share that it's not legal in Michigan, UNLESS you have something that's been grandfathered from something done 75 years ago.

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      • #4
        the local lake association and local conservation folk as akhick mentioned will be able to answer the legal question. However as is with most stated, it probably wont be legal in Indiana.

        they do make docks that are anchored to shore and the rest float

        they also drive pile down to bedrock and make permanent docks. you would need a permit for that.
        Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

        1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

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        • #5
          Guys ...
          We put in a dock a few years ago and he wants to improve/ update it
          94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
          95 Rinker 232 w/ 7.4L Carb 0F425011 B1 0F486471
          07 Seadoo GTX
          Merc Adults Only VP Adults Only
          G-Dad always said "First Liar doesn't stand a chance"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AllDodge View Post
            Guys ...
            Yep, BUT that doesnt cover/grandfather cutting a seawall and adding a new 30X12ft slot to park his pontoon in surrounded by a new U shaped seawall.
            Money spent @ Boat Restoration should be measured in Smiles & Pride SHOP IBOATS-BOAT SPECS-FORUM HELP-REPAIR/RESTO

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AllDodge View Post
              Guys ...
              doesnt cover the OP's question about excavating a chunk of the shoreline. which is primarily not allowed in most mid-west states.

              Since the OP stated that in 3' of water 15-20 feet from shore he is in about 40 feed deep of muck without solid bottom, my guess is his current dock is very short, however that is only a guess and the OP has not elaborated. in stead proposed to excavate a section of shore-line

              to get a much longer dock in a situation of soft-bottom , two common practices for a longer dock in that situation are to drive pile to bedrock (sometimes as deep as 150 feet) for a permanent dock or switch to a floating dock.

              a permanent dock will be the more costly of the two for both permits as well as installation.
              Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

              1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

              Past Boats
              1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
              2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheeseheads in Paradise"
              1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

              What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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              • #8
                Where we live in Upper Michigan there are quite a few Boat Wells cut into the shoreline, there is even a Subdivision built on several man made canals. With the sea wall you have there it would be easy to weld a couple of ears on it and float a dock off of it but then you have all the maintenance of a floating dock. A boat well would be a nice long term solution.

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                • #9
                  Which begs the question regarding legality vs. enforcement. If you put an illegal boat well in, how likely is it there will be any enforcement action taken against you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scott Danforth View Post

                    doesnt cover the OP's question about excavating a chunk of the shoreline. which is primarily not allowed in most mid-west states.

                    Since the OP stated that in 3' of water 15-20 feet from shore he is in about 40 feed deep of muck without solid bottom, my guess is his current dock is very short, however that is only a guess and the OP has not elaborated. in stead proposed to excavate a section of shore-line

                    to get a much longer dock in a situation of soft-bottom , two common practices for a longer dock in that situation are to drive pile to bedrock (sometimes as deep as 150 feet) for a permanent dock or switch to a floating dock.

                    a permanent dock will be the more costly of the two for both permits as well as installation.
                    Well I will have to look into it more... I did not know it was normally not allowed. That is why I posted to get a couple opinions before we moved further. (no construction)

                    Not sure what is considered a short dock, but yes at the 20 foot length is where we stopped. It held for a while (a couple months??) but did not last long. It looks more like a ski jump.

                    As far as driving to bed rock. Not sure if that is possible here. We can drill water wells 200' easy. Great lakes area.

                    Thanks for the info.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ahicks View Post
                      Which begs the question regarding legality vs. enforcement. If you put an illegal boat well in, how likely is it there will be any enforcement action taken against you?
                      A lot of grumpy DNR guys around here. We want to stay on the legal side. I was thinking digging into a yard was legal compared to filling in a wetland. I see people digging ponds in their yard all the time. I know a difference.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by UP HOOKER View Post
                        Where we live in Upper Michigan there are quite a few Boat Wells cut into the shoreline, there is even a Subdivision built on several man made canals. With the sea wall you have there it would be easy to weld a couple of ears on it and float a dock off of it but then you have all the maintenance of a floating dock. A boat well would be a nice long term solution.
                        That is my idea. As far as the sea wall... It is pretty much a tin wall. Not very secure. There would not be any welding on it. Maybe anchors in the yard, but the yard is not very stable either. Possible to put several anchor points in a row tied together.

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                        • #13
                          If you did what is proposed (cutting into land) in Ontario you might be looking at prison time. It is illegal to trim grasses along any body of water here. Many waterfront places that had views of the water now have views of beach and water grasses 7' tall.
                          Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                          • #14
                            A guy with several acres (maybe 5?) in SE Mi. decided he was going to put a 1 acre pond in, and went ahead with it, without checking with anyone. Why not right? Not only did he end up filling it back in, he ended up with several thousand dollars worth of fines - AFTER taking it to court and paying who knows what in legal fees. Tree huggers accused him of affecting the underlying local aquafier!

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                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              People take risks when they ask for forgiveness instead of permission. I have no sympathy.

                              To the OP: Wisdom says that you should not be cutting into the shoreline, which affects spawning habitat and increases runoff into the lake. Without knowing Indiana law, I would assume that it's illegal - because its generally illegal in most sensible states including Minnesota where we live.

                              I'm on a shallow bay (5-6ft) with a rocky shoreline but loon poop everywhere else. Our dock is just pipe with welded half-rims sitting on the muck. It's the same length as your buddy's. It should be able to sit on the mucky bottom without sinking too far down. If this doesn't work in your situation, then a floating dock is the next best solution. You can buy one or build one with drums as you noted. I would be wary of styrofoam. Harsh weather can break off pieces which then floats around and eventually sinks into the lake.

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