If you’re thinking about a slide for your dock., there are all kinds of waterslides available; there are dedicated attached models, inflatable slides, and even dock-mounted offerings.
But with each being distinct, you need to decide on what exactly you want long term
In this post, I’ll break down the details of both inflatable and dock-mounted slides, and offer a few recommendations.
Inflatable vs. dock-mounted slides
The two kinds of slides available are dock-mounted and inflatable. Inflatable slides are portable can be stand-alone slides or attached to a boat or dock.
Depending on the manufacturer and materials used, an inflatable slide can be anywhere from 6 feet all the way up to 36 feet.
Most can be inflated in 10 to 15 minutes, and some are compatible with specialized air pumps to inflate them in 2 to 3 minutes.
Inflatable slides are made from sturdy yet lightweight materials like PVC, nylon, vinyl, or blends of these materials. The seams are often hot-welded to provide a firm, long-lasting seal between pieces, but they can also be drop-stitched to accomplish the same air-tight seal. In addition, inflatable slides are often decorated in bright colors, adding to the fun.
3 top inflatable dock slides to consider
1. Aquaglide Freefall Supreme Inflatable Floating Waterslide
With three different climbing walls and multiple levels to explore, the Aquaglide Freefall Supreme offers hours of fun and variety. This slide is one of the most expensive inflatable slides, but perfect for parties and summer-long entertainment.
Lounge in the loft area, swim in the splash zone, or rocket down the 16.5-foot tall slide on this all-in-one inflatable.
- Mesh safety guard at the top of the slide
- Made from a durable fabric-reinforced PVC material
- UV-resistant coating to protect the slide from the elements
- Connects to other Aquaglide Platinum products for extended play
2. RAVE Sports Pontoon Dock Slide
For days spent closer to shore, this RAVE Sports Dock Slide provides a lightweight, portable alternative to a dock-mounted slide. It’s 9-foot long, quick and easy to set up and take down, and being inflatable can also be brought along on a pontoon or ski boat.
- 48-inch attachment straps only require spaces 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ to secure
- Comes with a 12-volt air pump to rapidly inflate and deflate the slide
- Inset molded footholds allow for quick climbing
- Folds down to sleeping-bag size for convenient carrying
3. SportsStuff Spillway Pontoon Slide
If you’re going out in your pontoon, bring along this SportsStuff Spillway Pontoon Slide to liven things up and keep kids entertained.
This 8-foot slide securely attaches to the side rails of your pontoon and quickly inflates with an H-valve adaptor, which unfortunately is not included.
- Inflatable safety chambers on both sides keep sliders safely centered
- Fits over the seats or the gate to allow versatile placement
- Seams are hot air overlap welded for extra durability
Dock mounted slides
As the name implies, Dock-mounted slides are solid slides mounted to a dock. Depending on where you purchase it, these slides can range from 4 or 5 feet to well over 40 feet for custom-built slides, provided your dock has enough space.
Dock-mounted slides can be made from molded polyethylene or reinforced fiberglass, often preferred because of their strength, durability, and smooth surface. They’re also easier to repair, and you can recoat them as they age, leading to a long lifespan.
Polyethylene slides can still last for years and can commonly be found as pre-made designs as well as custom-made to your specifications.
Where to buy a dock slide
Inflatable slides are available from most big-box retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, and Target. You can also purchase them from companies specializing in water-based activities and accessories such as boat companies, dock and dock supply companies, and water sports companies.
Finding dock-mounted slides can take a little more effort, but they’re still widely available. Companies like EZ Dock offer dock-mounted slides specifically designed to be mounted to their dock systems. However, many dock-mounted slides are slides originally designed for swimming pools that have been securely mounted on a dock instead.
This means you can get slides from hardware stores that carry pool slides, like Lowes or Home Depot, as well as pool supply companies. There are even companies like Dolphin Water Slides that break down and repurpose the slides from water parks to them into amazing slides for private use.
Dock slide regulations
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) outlined standards for manufacturing materials, performance, and design of swimming pool slides with recommendations about installation, use, and maintenance.
Any slide manufactured in the US after 1976 is required to meet the standards for materials, performance, and design, and compliant manufacturers must send a Certificate of Conformity with all slides they sell.
While the same kind of guidance isn’t as readily available for dock-mounted slides leading to lakes, ponds, and other larger bodies of water, you can easily adapt the swimming pool recommendations.
Unfortunately, concrete guidance for inflatable slides has lagged behind their design, and much of the regulation is aimed at commercial operators like amusement parks. Nevertheless, some general guidelines for the use of inflatable slides are similar to other inflatable amusement devices: avoid over-inflating the slide, protect it from sharp objects that may puncture it, avoid rough-housing, and don’t leave children unattended near the slide.
In general, you should also follow normal water safety advice. Keep in mind that there may be additional regulations depending on your state, city, and the presence of an HOA. Always be sure to consult local regulations and any relevant agreements before purchasing a slide.
The best dock-mounted slides
The best dock-mounted will vary based on your needs, the size of your dock, and what kinds of companies serve the area you’re in.
1. The EZ Dock Slide
If you’re looking for a pre-made slide specifically for docks, EZ Dock offers two different slides compatible with their dock systems.
These are polyethylene slides with a staircase designed to be mounted to any EZ-dock
2. The ShoreMaster Waterslide
The ShoreMaster Waterslide is suitable for most docks and is available from many retailers such as Nelco Marine, Wisconson PWS, and Brickford’s Sports Center. In addition, you can purchase a similar dock-mounted slide made by Shoreline Industries at The Dock Shop. All of these pre-made offerings are polyethylene slides with dock-mounting options.
Pre-made pool slides that have been mounted to docks are available through mass merchandisers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon. However, going through a company that specializes in pool supplies, such as Pool Warehouse or S.R. Smith, will give you better access to information to ensure that the slide you purchase comes with the right parts to mount the slide to your dock safely.
You can also reach out to a dock company in your area with any questions or for help with the installation.
3. A-Ok custom-made tubular dock slides
For custom-made dock-mounted slides, A-Ok Playgrounds advertises a 90-degree slide with customizable height for lake docks, and Fix My Slide offers completely custom slides built from recycled water park slides that can be made to fit any vision.
If neither of those custom companies suits your needs, there are backyard pool slide companies you can consider that offer similar options.
Dolphin Water Slides is another company that repurposes water park slides, this one focusing on pool slides, while Paradise Slides offers newly built custom slides as well as pre-made designs.
One last note
As outlined above, there are several key differences between inflatable and dock-mounted slides when it comes to adding an extra layer of fun to your day out on the water.
If you choose to opt for a dock-mounted option, ensure it’s built of fiberglass. Fiberglass offers sound structural integrity, outstanding durability, and can readily withstand whatever the elements throw at it. Other materials may damage over time or hold up as well to consistent usage.
Several dock and pier companies offer their own dock-mounted options. Because of their strong focus and experience with creating marine products and accessories, these models are often higher quality than what you may find at a big-box hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Check out my post, 4 Practical Tips to Avoid Slipping on a Dock to learn how to prep your dock for slide installation.