What Are the ADA Guidelines for Public Boating Facilities?

December 26 2019

Accessibility is an important part of fostering a community in which everyone has the opportunity to participate meaningfully. When it comes to living in one of the most beautiful coastal and tidal regions in the world, this means being able to get out and enjoy the water. But accessibility is not only a community-oriented priority – it is the law. Public boating facilities must comply with ADA requirements for boat docks by providing an ADA compliant boat dock.

What Is the ADA?


The ADA – or Americans with Disabilities Act – is a civil rights law that prevents discrimination on the basis of disability in “all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.” The American Disabilities Act sets building standards for handicap access. In dock layouts, specifications are used to govern width, turning radius, degree of incline, and side rail protection.


ADA Requirements for Boat Docks: What Are They?

The ADA’s definition of “recreational boating facilities” is broad: it can be a facility with one slip or a facility with thousand of slips. It can also be designed to handle large power boats, canoes, or other water crafts. These facilities must comply with the ADA requirements for boat docks.

Numerous additions to a standard AccuDock are needed in order for the dock to meet the ADA requirements. AccuDock offers an “ADA Transfer Package” for dock packages that incorporate a “slip” into the design, allowing for an easy “transfer” from wheelchair to kayak.

All AccuDock gangways are designed and built to meet the ADA requirements, which includes the following specifications for the slope, hand railings, edge protection, and transition plate:

ADA Gangway Pre-Stressed Arch Design

  • Handrail height is 36” and the length extends 12” past the end of the gangway (must be fabricated out of 1 ¼” schedule 40 aluminum pipe)
  • Typical slope will not exceed a 1:12 ratio (exceptions will be made in extreme low tides)
  • Kick plate extends 3” above the walking surface (edge protection)
  • Transition plate is fabricated from ¼’’ tread plate to provide a smooth transition from the gangway to the floating dock

To calculate the length of an ADA gangway multiply by 12. 3.42 x 12 = 41.04’ and then round this to the nearest whole number (so approximately 42’).


What Is an AccuDock ADA Compliant Boat Dock?


AccuDock believes that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy time out on the water.  Accessible boating facilities and recreational public parks are critical, and our floating docks, ramps, and gangways meet ADA requirements. We also offer ADA transform platforms, edge protection, and safe launch systems for kayaking and canoeing to help facilitate accessibility and provide an even higher degree of safety.

Our team has worked with camps and parks from Yellowstone and Lion Country Safari to Miami Sea Aquarium and Universal Studios, as well as various state and government parks, day camps, and sleep away camps. Everyone deserves the chance to enjoy boating and water sport activities and our ADA compliant dock options open up a world of possibilities!

To learn more about ADA requirements for boat docks, get in touch with the folks here at AccuDock.

AccuDock is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of Floating Docks
CALL 954.785.7557 OR EMAIL [email protected] FOR MORE INFORMATION

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