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Create a Functional Kitchen on Your Boat Dock

How to Create a Functional Kitchen on Your Boat Dock

Are you a boating enthusiast who loves spending time on your boat dock but struggles to prepare food and drinks while you’re there? You’re not alone. Many people face this challenge, and having limited options for cooking and entertaining on your dock can be frustrating. Fortunately, there’s a solution: creating a kitchen on your boat dock. From outdoor grills to refrigerators, a boat dock professional can help you choose the right appliances and layout for your kitchen. In this article, we’ll explore the steps you can take to make your dock a more enjoyable and functional space.

Understanding Your Needs

Before you start building your kitchen, it’s essential to understand your needs. Think about the types of meals and drinks you want to prepare on your dock and how many people you typically entertain. Do you need a sink for washing dishes and hands, or do you prefer a portable water source? Consider your power sources as well. Do you have access to electrical outlets, or will you need a generator? These questions will help you determine the size and scope of your dock kitchen.

According to a survey conducted by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular in recent years. In 2020, 51% of homeowners in the United States had an outdoor kitchen or were planning to build one.

When it comes to the types of meals prepared in an outdoor kitchen, grilling tops the list, with 95% of outdoor kitchen owners reporting that they use their grill. Other popular cooking methods include smoking (43%), baking (32%), and roasting (29%).

boat dock professional

Choosing the Right Location

The next step is to choose the right location for your kitchen. Look for an area that’s level and dry, with good drainage. You’ll also want to consider the proximity to your dock and your power and water sources. Think about the prevailing winds and how they might affect your cooking and entertaining. You may also want to consider the views and whether you want to be in the shade or the sun.

Designing Your Kitchen

Once you’ve chosen the location, it’s time to design your kitchen. Many options include built-in grills, sinks, refrigerators, and storage. You can also add seating, dining areas, lighting, and music. Consider the materials you want for your countertops, flooring, and cabinetry. You’ll also want to consider your materials’ durability and weather resistance and their maintenance requirements.

Choosing the Right Appliances

Choosing the right appliances is crucial to the functionality of your dock kitchen. Look for appliances that are designed for outdoor use and are weather-resistant. Stainless steel is a popular choice for outdoor appliances because it’s durable and easy to clean. You may want to consider a grill with a built-in side burner, a refrigerator with a built-in ice maker, and a sink with a pull-out faucet.

Installing Your Kitchen

Installing your kitchen will require some planning and preparation. You’ll need to ensure you have the necessary permits, approvals, tools, and equipment. You may need to hire a contractor or builder to help with the installation, especially if you need to become more experienced with construction. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and regulations, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Maintaining Your Kitchen

Once your kitchen is installed, it’s important to maintain it properly. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help ensure that your appliances and materials last for years. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance, and remember to cover your appliances when they’re not in use. You may also want to invest in a cover for your kitchen to protect it from the elements.

Enhancing Your Dock

Your kitchen is just part of your dock, and many other ways to enhance the space exist. Consider adding a bar or lounge area, a fire pit or fireplace, or even a hot tub or swimming pool. You can also add landscaping and lighting to create a more inviting atmosphere. Think about the activities you enjoy on your dock and how you can make the space more enjoyable and functional.


Creating a functional kitchen on your boat dock is a great way to enhance your boating experience. By understanding your needs, choosing the right location, designing your kitchen, choosing the right appliances, installing it properly, and maintaining it regularly, you can create a space that’s both functional and inviting. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add other features to your dock to make it a truly enjoyable space for you and your guests.

If you’re looking for a reliable company to help with your dock installation and maintenance, Tonka Built is here to help. We specialize in installing and removing docks, boathouses, and lifts, and we also sell docks, lifts, and lakeshore accessories. With our expertise and commitment to quality, we can help you create the perfect dock and kitchen for your boating lifestyle.

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