How to Prevent Floating Barrels from Leaking

“Floating dock barrels, how do you keep them from leaking?” Since Rolling Barge manufactures all of our floating docks with barrels, this question is one of the most common ones we get about the engineering viability or our products.

After 5 years of using polyurethane drums as the floatation device for our floating docks, swim platforms and party barges, we have never experienced any breaches in the barrels causing them to leak.

If you purchase your barrels new then they will be airtight. If you purchase your barrels used you should inspect them carefully for any large holes. In almost 100 percent of the cases the barrels will not have any problems.

Here’s a tip to ensure the barrels won’t leak…

There should be a plastic gasket that fits between the plug and the hole. If this gasket is in good shape, you should not have any trouble with your barrels leaking. If the gasket is questionable and you cannot buy new gaskets, then you can add a bead of silicon all around the threads of the plug before you screw it in.

plastic barrels leaking

floating dock they leak?

Have you done any studies on the Engineering viability of your floating docks?

Rolling Barges meet the requirements of both the Department of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Coast Guard. These floating trailers tow down the highway at 8.5′ wide and typically do not require special highway permits. They are structurally engineered by a certified Naval Architect and approved by both the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

Rolling Barges are insurable as both a commercial rental and for personal use.

Rolling Barges are typically powered by a single outboard motor that ranges in size from 10 to 60HP. They have a maximum speed of between 4 and 6 mph.

Rolling Barges are designed to provide years of trouble free service in both fresh and salt water. They are constructed with the following materials and components:

  • 6061 T6 structural aluminum makes up the main structure.
  • 2024 T4 Aluminum Bolts are the primary fastener (anodized for corrosion resistance in salt water).
  • Nyloc® locking nuts and Loctite® are used to ensure the bolts stay tight.
  • Aqua Plus® pressure treated fir plywood deck (warranted for the life of the barge).
  • The deck can be covered with either high quality marine carpet or a polyethylene non-skid surface.
  • Dexter Torflex® galvanized axles.
  • Air-Tight® Bearing Protectors. Designed for the military to keep the wheel bearings dry for up to one year
    continuous submersion
  • Kodiak Hydraulic Disc Brakes with Stainless Steel Components.
  • Polyethylene Drums make up the Primary floatation.
  • Sunbrella® marine grade fabric.

For more information please read: Design and Construction of a Rolling Barge (3.8MB PDF)

The following documents are structural engineering and capacity test reports, illustrating our committment to quality and safety — from concept to construction.

Summary of Engineering for Rolling Boat Inc (515KB PDF)

Big Barge Capacity Test Report (2.7MB PDF)

Big Barge Upper Level Stability Report (367KB PDF)

Dock & Barge System Preliminary Engineering Report (48KB PDF)

Mini PWC Barge Capacity Test Report (3.1MB PDF)

PWC Barge Capacity Test Report

Plastic Barrels for Floating Docks…What size do you use?

barrel sizes for floating docks

There are two main sizes of barrels used for floating docks.

Plastic Barrels for floating docks. One of the most frequently asked questions we get at Rolling Barge is what is the best size plastic barrel to use for a floating dock?

Watch the video below as Phil explains the basic sizes that are readily available to use for your application.  You can use either size Polyethylene Barrels for your floating dock kit or swim platform, however most of the time the 55 gallon variety works best.




Floating Dock Parts-How to Avoid Corrosion

Researching the floating dock parts that are used to construct your dock should be a major part of the due diligence in your buying process.   Whether your dock is going to be in saltwater or freshwater, it’s important to know the  the different types of materials you have available for the parts you use in your structure.

It’s amazing how powerful and just how destructive water can be to a vessel or a structure like a floating dock.  The two videos  below show a perfect example of just how tough the water of any type can be on aluminum and what you can do about it.

If you are purchasing a floating dock from Rolling Barge you can rest assured that we focus on life-time designs. However we are constantly testing and refining our process.   No matter where you purchase your dock or barge,  make sure that you have the proper materials, so you don’t have problems two or three summers after you purchase.



Floating Dock Parts – Aluminum Versus Steel

aluminum floating dock kit

floating dock kit constructed with 6061 T6 Aluminum

All Rolling Barge structures are engineered with 6061 t6 Aluminum for all of our floating dock parts. This includes our boat dock frames, and floating dock kit frames as well as gangways.  When we started out we researched the different material options: such as steel, wood and of course aluminum. Although we sell floating dock plans that are constructed from wood, everything we actually manufacture whether it be a kit, barge or swim platform is constructed with aluminum.

There are numerous grades of aluminum.  6061 T6 is used in a variety of other commercial applications such as aircraft wings, bicycle frames and even scuba tanks. We concluded that aluminum is the superior material for floating dock construction because of it’s strength and lite weight.

One of the arguments to using aluminum versus steel is the fatigue factor.  Watch the video below to see why this should not be a concern.