Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Why would I want to build the SunDock versus a traditional dock?
A1: The SunDock has numerous advantages over traditional docks:
• The open frame structure of the SunDock is less prone to damage by severe weather: force of upward wave action is reduced due to less surface area of dock and reinforced construction.
• Total surface area is 80% less than traditional docks, expediting permitting process & possibly reducing fees
• SunDock platform can be less expensive to construct and maintain than traditional docks
• Greatly facilitates moving people &/or provisions back and forth along the walkway
• Provides greater home security by minimizing access to the property from the water
• Safer than driving a golf cart or even walking down a long dock
• Eco-Friendly design allows sunlight to reach vegetation underneath dock, reducing erosion and ecosystem damage.
• More convenient & fun to ride than walking down traditional docks
• Nighttime activities on the dock are a magical experience
Q2: How long can the SunDock be extended over water or the marsh?
A2: There is no limit to its length (provided proper permitting is obtained). However, a minimum of 100-feet is recommended for all of its safety features to work properly.
Q3: Do I need state or local permits to build the SunDock?
A3: Yes. In most instances, authorization is required when any structure such as a dock is built over water or wetlands.
• In Georgia, the effective shading of a dock is a major concern for regulators and eco-friendly dock designs are preferred over traditional docks. Choosing the SunDock (having 1/5 the surface area) versus a traditional dock can expedite the permitting process, since the effective shading of the structure is substantially reduced.
Q4: Walking is good for me. Why would I want to ride over the water versus walk down a dock?
A4: Convenience: The SunDock facilitates moving people and/or provisions back and forth.
• Instead of carrying supplies back and forth, simply place them on the SunDock Rider and drive them.
• The system is designed to transport heavy provisions such as batteries, tools, barbeque grills, coolers, fire extinguishers and other items.
• It also eliminates the hassle of having to walk down a 300-, 600-, 1,200-foot (or longer) dock.
• The remote control function is especially useful – the Rider can be sent back and forth for additional supplies, tools and/or people.
A4: Safety is another issue, especially for the young or less ambulatory
• The SunDock provides a more secure means for them to traverse over water.
• Riding a vehicle that is guided is much safer than trying to drive a golf cart, or walking along rickety planks.
While we advocate walking as a form of exercise,
we feel that getting to one’s boat or terminal platform safely, conveniently and quickly is a Means to an End.
And that End is the Beginning of some great adventures!
Q5: What’s all this talk about the environment underneath docks, why is that important?
A5: Scientists and regulatory agencies concur that shading caused by docks creates significant stress on aquatic vegetation and has a direct link to the decline in vegetation density underneath docks.
• Vegetation underneath docks stabilizes sediments and reduces erosion.
• NOAA’s Environmental Impacts of Small Docks and Piers: “Both marsh grasses and sea grasses have adapted to living in extended periods of sunlight. Their photosynthetic pathways vary from many terrestrial plants allowing them to be highly productive in their natural settings. Shading can have significant impacts on the health and productivity of these plants.”
• NOAA’ Management of Small Docks and Piers: Environmental Impacts by Steve Bliven: “Submerged aquatic vegetation and marsh grasses form basis of marine food web, provide critical habitat, filter nutrients and contaminants, and stabilize sediments.”
Q6: How weather resistant is the SunDock?
A6: The SunDock should withstand severe weather much better than traditional docks.
• That’s because most dock damage is caused by the upward wave pressure battering against the bottom of the decking. This can cause deck boards to be lifted from stringers, whole sections of dock broken loose from their pilings, or the entire dock to be “uprooted” from the riverbed.
• In addition to maximizing the SunDock’s structural integrity by bolting together two stringers per side, our system utilizes an open structure design that allows upward wave forces to come up around and through the platform so it should withstand stronger storm forces better.
• The SunDock Rider is extremely resistant to weather and naturally corrosive environments, including salt water. Every effort has been made to use stainless steel, UV-resistant polymers, specially sealed stainless steel bearings and extremely durable powder-coating enamels. Marine-grade components, and NEMA-rated electrical items all contribute to its longevity. Most parts can be purchased at West Marine or Grainger Supply.
Q7: Is the system safe?
A7: The entire SunDock System has been carefully designed with numerous safety features:
• The SunDock is built according to established dock building methods and engineering models
• The drive system is programmed to accelerate and decelerate at a comfortable rate
• Special triggering mechanism/ limit switches automatically slow the Rider down, overriding onboard or remote control drive commands, and bring it to a complete stop at both ends of the SunDock Track
• Photoelectric sensors automatically stop the Rider if a person or object is in its direct path
• The Rider has a sturdy wooden railing on all sides for passenger safety
• Vehicle’s load weight is balanced directly over the pilings at all times, providing a stable ride
• Removing the ignition key ensures there is no unauthorized driving
• The Rider’s powder-coated steel frame is highly resistant to rust and corrosion
Q8: What happens if a passenger is on the Rider midway over the water and suddenly the motor stops? How will they get back?
A8: The drive mechanisms on the Rider are robust and designed to operate in harsh environments. The motor and gear box are designed to work in an industrial environment subjected to corrosive elements.
As an additional failsafe feature, the Rider has multiple reserve systems that can be used in case of primary drive failure. If the primary batteries become weak, it is very easy to switch to the secondary batteries. If the electronic controls fail, the manual switch can be used to operate the cart in slow speed. If there is a total systems failure, the Rider is designed to roll smoothly and easily with the motor disengaged.
Q9: How often do I need to charge the batteries?
A9: The SunDock Rider uses four 12-volt marine batteries, two for each independent 24-Volt battery bank. Under typical circumstances the Rider will run for weeks without recharging (approximately 10 miles per battery bank with fully charged batteries). However, it is strongly recommended that when the Rider is not in use it remains plugged in to a power source. The standard marine-grade “smart charger” uses a 3-stage charging procedure to achieve the maximum life-span for the batteries. The batteries will never overcharge and fully charged batteries last longer.
Q10: Is there a minimum age for operating the SunDock Rider?
A10: There is no specific age requirement, but we emphasize the SunDock Rider is a moving vehicle – therefore, the onboard or remote control driver needs to act responsibly. (See Q7/A7 for a complete list of safety features).
Q11: I have very young children. How do I keep them from driving the SunDock Rider when unattended?
A11: A large red ignition key must be inserted and turned to the “On” position for the Rider to operate, even by its remote control. It is recommended to remove the key and keep the Rider on land when not in use.
Q12: How many people or how much weight can the vehicle carry at any given time?
A12: The SunDock Rider’s total weight capacity is about 1,200 pounds – people &/or provisions. Depending upon the size of the individuals onboard, the Rider can handle about 6 to 8 passengers, or more if most passengers are children. Each dock box can seat about two adults or three children on its lid.
Q13: Can the Rider travel right up to my home?
A13: Yes. All that’s required is that you continue the SunDock Track over land to your home. The Rider could be driven up to the back deck, garage, or into a protective, covered structure as far inland as desired. Its only limitations are sharp turns and/or steep hills.
Q14: What happens if I build the SunDock but later decide I’d rather have a traditional dock. Do I have to tear it all down and start from scratch?
A14: No. We’ve designed the SunDock Platform to be easily converted into a four-foot wide traditional dock should one later decide to walk down the dock. However, the structure will be more vulnerable to severe weather. A new permit may be required since the total square-footage of dock increases. Likewise, Submerged Land Lease fees may have to be paid annually.
Q15: How do I get a SunDock System and how much does it cost?
A15: The SunDock System has two parts, the Rider vehicle and the Track structure.
• The SunDock System is designed so any qualified dock builder can build the Track structure and we can install the vehicle upon completion.
• The SunDock Rider vehicle can be purchased from Dockrider Systems or Green Heron Docks.
• Cost for the SunDock Rider: Base model is $29,500 plus $700 for a normal installation.
• Your dock builder constructs the SunDock Track using our designs and specifications. We will make multiple visits to the site to assure that the structure meets our specifications.
• NEW!! Green Heron Docks offers a turn-key solution for a SunDock System. Green Heron will now build your SunDock Track structure and install the Dockrider vehicle. Go to our Green Heron Docks website for more information.
• Cost for the SunDock Track: Much like a traditional dock, the cost for construction varies depending upon the dock builder and the area where it is to be installed. The SunDock System can be competitively priced with a traditional dock because there are less materials and more efficient construction techniques.
• The following is a list of dock builders to build the SunDock Track.
(If you are a dock builder that would like to on this list, please contact us.)
Green Heron Docks (888) My1-Dock
Pickett Marine Construction (904) 879-5780
Q16: What features are on the base model of the SunDock Rider?
A16: The base model for the SunDock Rider:
• Chassis: powder-coated frame, pneumatic main wheels, guide wheels
• Decking: 8-section deck has removable panels to access guide wheels and reduce surface area in case of storm surge
• Railing: Sturdy wood railing encircles passengers with a latching gate
• Dock boxes: 2 fiberglass enclosures house the batteries, motor and drive systems
• Primary & Secondary Electrical: 4 marine batteries (two 24-Volt systems), 2 waterproof chargers
• Drive Package: Electronic Drive (motor controller, remote receiver & transmitters, pushbuttons, limit switches, electric eyes), manual drive switch, primary & secondary key-switches, horn
• Motor Package: 24-Volt DC motor, gearbox, drive-wheel, stainless steel motor mount
• Lights: LED lights to illuminate the floor inside the Rider and LED lights to shine forward and reverse
Q17: Are there any available options?
A17: Yes. Homeowners can install anything that they would install on a boat: additional lights, stereo, electronics, gauges, fishing rod holders, Bimini top, spotlight, etc. to customize their SunDock Rider.
• The following options are available from Dockrider Systems.
• Foam filled tires: Never need to check tire pressure or fill a flat tire (a very popular option).
• Solar charger: A useful option for community docks and marinas where constant use is probable. If parked in the sun, solar panels mounted on the Rider continuously charge it throughout the day.
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